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As we all know by now, the Democratic path to recapturing the House of Representatives is steep. According to Daily Kos Elections' House ratings for 2014, Democrats will have to take all Tossup seats, all seats that currently Lean Republican and at least five seats that are currently estimated as Likely Republican. This is far from an easy task and would require a Democratic wave scenario that could only have been possible if the poll numbers from just after the shutdown, before the Obamacare rollout started, had stayed as they were until the midterm elections. This will not happen, but we are allowed to dream, aren't we?

There are many reasons for why reinstalling Nancy Pelosi as Speaker is such a daunting task, including strong incumbents and geography, but most importantly, many states have been subjected to Republican legislatures making gerrymandering into an art. One of the most egregious examples are, of course, Pennsylvania. Do you see the tail stretching up from the Pittsburgh-based 14th absorbing Democrats from the now-fallen Democratic Congressmen Altmire and Critz in the 12th? The raised arm of Cruella de Vil taking in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre in the 17th? The whale-formed 16th, designed to combine Republican Lancaster County with enough Democratic turf in the Philadelphia suburbs to shore up the 7th, which in itself is a spectacular Rorschach Blot from the deepest pits of Rep. Pat Meehan's navel? Those are all the work of crafty, competent and aggressive Republican map-makers wanting to ensure a Republican delegation staying in place and keeping John Boehner as third in the line of succession to the Presidency. Today, only 5 of the 18 PA Representatives are Democrats, in a state that the Democrats haven't lost since Mike Dukakis went up against George H. W. Bush in 1988. And there is little reason to believe that these numbers will change until the next redistricting is to take place in 2020.

However, there is a way out of this nightmarish map, but it requires an environment for 2014 that is better than expected for the Democrats. The Republican majorities in the legislature are surprisingly slim, at 26-23 in the State Senate and 110-92 in the State House of Representatives with one vacancy in each chamber. If the best-case scenario happens, the Democrats could regain the trifecta and enact a mid-decade redistricting.

When it comes to redistricting, there are two conflicting progressive ideals that we have to take into account: electing more and better Democrats and preserving communities of interest in fair and balanced districts. Usually, the former goal wins out, especially among politicians (just look at the Illinois map!).

My goal was to make a map of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts that would be gerrymandered for the Democrats, but still aesthetically and principially being improvements over the current maps. It would be safe for all incumbents (Brady, Fattah, Doyle and Cartwright),  and not break any Pennsylvanian parochial rules (Keep Bucks whole, separate Lancaster and York).

As with all maps, the result can always be improved upon, but my goal was a map that a hypothetical Democratic trifecta could implement in real life - and the maps that we get in real life are seldom as perfect as those that the Internet artists make. If you want to see my humble proposition, please follow me beyond the squiggle...

Note: I use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Excel, and therefore I can't get the tables to work properly.

1st District (Blue)
Incumbent(s): None
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester
Obama/McCain '08: 71.8%/27.4%
Bob Brady doesn't actually live here, which might be a no-no for him, but it could be solved by some precinct-swapping with the 6th District in Delaware County, making the 6th a bit less Democratic (but that should be enough - more on that later). He loses most of his territory in Delaware and the eastern parts of his old district, instead gaining some more Republican areas in Delaware and Chester, almost picking up Pat Meehan in the process and making it 6 points less Democratic than Brady's current district. That shouldn't matter at all, Brady keeps most of his old district and would be safe until he wants to go.
Safe D

2nd District (Green)
Incumbent(s): Chaka Fattah (D)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Philadelphia
Obama/McCain '08: 90.4%/9.2%
Fattah's district looks about the same as his old one did, but now doesn't go outside Philadelphia County. It's slightly less black, not even a percentage point less Democratic, and will elect Fattah indefinitely.
Safe D

3rd District (Purple)
Incumbent(s): None
Counties Wholly Contained: Erie, Crawford, Warren
Counties Partially Contained: McKean, Mercer, Lawrence, Beaver
Obama/McCain '08: 53.2%/45.4%
Mike Kelly doesn't live in the district anymore as Butler County and other Republican territories are left to the vote sinks, the 3rd instead stretching along the border like a right angle to grab New Castle among other places. The district was probably won by Romney in 2012, but if I had more time some precincts could probably be swapped to gain a percentage point or so. Kelly does technically have the safe Republican 5th for himself, but Glenn Thompson would likely run there and would make it an epic primary battle between both of them. The 3rd, meanwhile, gets about 7 percentage points more Democratic in 2008 numbers, and Kelly would likely be a top DCCC target. He has a tough choice to make. Former Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper would be a strong choice for the Democrats here.
Lean R with Kelly, Tossup without

4th District (Skin-colored)
Incumbent(s): Scott Perry (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: York, Adams
Counties Partially Contained: Cumberland
Obama/McCain '08: 41.9%/57.0%
York and Adams are kept from the old incarnation of the 4th, but the Harrisburg parts are switched out for western Cumberland County, making it a Republican vote sink. Scott Perry would, of course, cruise.
Safe R

5th District (Yellow)
Incumbent(s): Mike Kelly (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: Butler, Armstrong, Venango, Clarion, Forest, Jefferson, Elk, Cameron, Clearfield, Potter
Counties Partially Contained: Mercer, Lawrence, McKean, Indiana
Obama/McCain '08: 38.8%/59.8%
State College is lost to another Republican district, making the 5th a mashup of the old 5th's western 2/3rds, Mike Kelly's base and Indiana County from the old 9th. At the surface, it looks like Glenn Thompson's district, but the single biggest centre of population in the new 5th is Kelly's home county, Butler, while Thompson's, Centre, is lost. Kelly would still be a slight underdog based on geography, but the territory is more even than the Howbrad Shberman fight of 2012.
Safe R

6th District (Orange)
Incumbent(s): Bob Brady (D), Jim Gerlach (R), Pat Meehan (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Montgomery, Chester, Delaware
Obama/McCain '08: 61.3%/37.9%
Jim Gerlach is retiring, as we all know, but even he would have a hard time in this heavily Democratic district. Without his personal strength, it is almost certainly lost unless the Democrats go off the rails. Brady would of course not run here and Meehan is better off in the 7th, so it would be open for whoever replaces Gerlach. If it is a Republican, they will probably not be as strong and should be turfed easily in 2016. Could probably be made a little less safe to strengthen the 7th's numbers and get Bob Brady's house in the 1st.
Lean D with Meehan, Safe D without

7th District (Grey)
Incumbent(s): Joe Pitts (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Chester, Delaware, Lancaster
Obama/McCain '08: 57.0%/42.2%
Pitts has the 16th to himself and wouldn't run here. Could leave some Lancaster territory to for example the 6th, but would split another country unnecessarily. Sestak is going after Toomey, and Meehan is fairly strong, but he's not Gerlach. Could be tweaked easily to become stronger.
Tossup

8th District (Pink)
Incumbent(s): Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: Bucks
Counties Partially Contained: Philadelphia
Obama/McCain '08: 57.3%/41.7%
There's only one way to gerrymander the 8th while keeping Bucks County whole, and that is using the safest Democratic precincts in Philadelphia. You still won't get above 58% Obama, and Fitzpatrick is strong, but the Democrats would have a great pickup opportunity without him.
Lean R with Fitzpatrick, Tossup without

9th District (Orange-Red)
Incumbent(s): Glenn Thompson (R), Bill Shuster (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, Blair, Huntingdon, Centre, Clinton
Counties Partially Contained: Cambria, Westmoreland
Obama/McCain '08: 40.3%/58.5%
Thompson is drawn into the 9th but has clearly less territory here than Shuster, who keeps Altoona among other places. Republican vote sink. A more aggressive gerrymander would use State College, but I intentionally didn't.
Safe R

10th District (Light Purple)
Incumbent(s): Tom Marino (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Snyder, Union, Montour, Columbia, Lycoming, Sullivan, Wyoming, Tioga, Bradford, Susquehanna
Counties Partially Contained: Luzerne, Northumberland
Obama/McCain '08: 39.4%/59.2%
Nothing to see here, really. Another Republican vote sink. Could switch some territory with the 17th to gain Barletta's home.
Safe R

11th District (Light Green)
Incumbent(s): None
Counties Wholly Contained: Dauphin, Schuylkill, Carbon
Counties Partially Contained: Cumberland, Lebanon, Northumberland, Monroe
Obama/McCain '08: 49.4%/49.3%
Tim Holden's old 11th is practically revived and made into an Obama-Romney district, one that voted for Obama by just 478 votes. Holden could probably win this one back if he wanted to, otherwise it would probably lean Republican.
Likely D with Holden, Lean R without

12th District (Pale Aqua)
Incumbent(s): None
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Greene, Fayette, Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Indiana, Cambria
Obama/McCain '08: 54.6%/44.2%
Like Mark Critz's old 12th District, this incarnation is quite gerrymandered, taking in Obama-voting precincts in the Southwest, peeking into Pittsburgh and rounding off in Critz's home in Cambria County. Critz is running for LG but this district probably voted for Obama in 2012 and should elect a Democrat anyways. Could be made stronger with more of Pittsburgh, but Critz might lose the primary to a city Democrat if Pittsburgh becomes too much of the Democratic primary electorate.
Likely D

13th District (Cyan)
Incumbent(s): Allyson Schwartz (D)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Montgomery, Philadelphia, Berks
Obama/McCain '08: 57.8%/41.3%
The 13th gains some of Berks County and loses heavily Democratic southwestern Montgomery, making the district around 7% less Democratic but still pretty much safe for Schwartz's successor.
Safe D

14th District (Brown)
Incumbent(s): Mike Doyle (D)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Allegheny
Obama/McCain '08: 61.2%/37.8%
A very safe Pittsburgh district that could probably be used to shore up the 12th even more. Doyle will be re-elected.
Safe D

15th District (Red)
Incumbent(s): Charlie Dent (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Berks, Lehigh, Northampton
Obama/McCain '08: 60.0%/38.7%
Charlie Dent is strong, but would be very much in danger in this Democratic district that includes Reading and sheds the more Republican parts of Northampton and Lehigh counties. Reading would also be new territory for Dent. I would be amazed if Dent doesn't retire if this district becomes reality.
Likely D with Dent, Safe D without

16th District (Teal)
Incumbent(s): None
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Lancaster, Lebanon, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton
Obama/McCain '08: 42.5%/56.4%
This district forms a barrier between SEPA and the rest of Pennsylvania, taking in most of Lancaster County. non-Reading Berks County and the leftovers from Dent's old district. A Republican vote sink where Joe Pitts will probably be the nominee.
Safe R

17th District (Royal Blue)
Incumbent(s): Matt Cartwright (D), Lou Barletta (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: Wayne, Pike, Lackawanna
Counties Partially Contained: Luzerne, Monroe
Obama/McCain '08: 57.0%/42.0%
Cartwright's new 17th District is about as Democratic as his old one, and while Barlett lives here he only carries rural Luzerne with him which is no match for Cartwright's Scranton and Wilkes-Barre home turf. Could be made slightly more Republican by giving Barletta away to fight against Tom Marino in the 10th, but it probably doesn't matter much.
Safe D

18th District (Forest Green)
Incumbent(s): Tim Murphy (R)
Counties Wholly Contained: None
Counties Partially Contained: Greene, Fayette, Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Beaver
Obama/McCain '08: 41.8%/57.2%
A vote sink in Southwestern Pennsylvania, taking in Republican suburbs and some Demosaur territory that voted against Obama. Jason Altmire lives here but Murphy's known in most of the district and he would probably stay away.
Lean R with Altmire, Safe R without

The best case scenario, a 9-3-6:
7 Safe D
2 Likely D
3 Tossups
1 Lean R
5 Safe R

The worst case scenario, a 8-1-9:
5 Safe D
2 Likely D
1 Lean D
1 Tossup
3 Lean R
6 Safe R

The most probable scenario, a 9-1-8:
6 Safe D
2 Likely D
1 Lean D
1 Tossup
2 Lean R
6 Safe R

A 13-5 map could easily be drawn, especially if you'd break the unwritten rules. Stephen Wolf has excellently done so here. And if you care about these, but don't mind monsterous districts, there are better gerrymanders made by ProudNewEnglander here. Look through Daily Kos for even more maps, fair and gerrymandered to insanity.

But gerrymanders are never perfect, but aways flawed, sometimes even dummymanders. Can the Democrats waste the 3rd, the 7th, even the 12th? Yes. Can Tim Holden choose to not run, letting a great candidate enter Congress for the Republicans in the 11th? Yep. But it's a decent map that doesn't look insane and doesn't make any Democrats or parochial interests upset, which was the intended goal.

Originally posted to Tayya on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 07:14 AM PST.

Also republished by Pittsburgh Area Kossacks, Philly Kos, DKos Pennsylvania, and Community Spotlight.

Poll

Is this a realistic and/or good Democratic gerrymander?

47%34 votes
29%21 votes
12%9 votes
11%8 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think Democrats should gerrymander (6+ / 0-)

    any more than Republicans. We have the technology now to draw up sensible, unbiased districts. If Democrats do retake the PA general assembly and governor's mansion, they should set up a redistricting system that takes partisanship out of the equation as much as possible.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 07:54:34 AM PST

    •  if we retake congress we could do it (6+ / 0-)

      nationwide.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 08:10:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt it (0+ / 0-)

        As underlies this diary, Democrats like to gerrymander just as much as Republicans.

        Efforts to end gerrymandering won't come from Congress. It has to come from the grassroots.

        "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

        by pierre9045 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:13:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm fine doing it in currently gerrymandered (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Skaje, Klugstah, BleacherBum153, jncca

          swing states like PA and Ohio and Michigan, but otherwise if its not national then doing it in blue states but not red states is handing the House to the Republicans on a silver platter.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:18:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not always (0+ / 0-)

            California went to a nonpartisan method of drawing districts, and the position of Democrats actually improved. That's because Democratic incumbents were more interested in coasting to re-election than maximizing the number of Democrats, so natural boundaries wound up working out better. If your state has D control, and fair maps are about as good for the D side as the current map, it's just better to have compact, reasonable districts. It's better for the voters to be nearer to their rep's office. It's better for the candidate not to have to drive so far to campaign. And it puts pressure on the Rs, who have done much more gerrymandering, to either cut it out or have the voters do it for them (if the state has a referendum process).

            •  The map in California was relative to one drawn (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Allen, CF of Aus

              in 2002 though when the state was a lot more friendly to Republicans, Democrats were coming off a cycle where they just picked up a bunch of marginal seats, and the price for getting Republican support for passing a budget was incumbent protection.

              None of that was the case in 2011/2012 when Democrats no longer need Republicans for the budget, almost all their seats were rock solid safe, and the state had become a whole lot more Democratic. If they could have drawn the lines they could have easily solidified the 38 seats we won and made probably 5-7 more lean our way or at least be 50-50. I'm not saying the institution they installed is terrible, far from it. But it hurts us considerably to have in a blue state over a gerrymander, and hurts us even more when red states don't have something similar.

            •  Voters don't care (0+ / 0-)

              about gerrymandering. Too much about process.

              Sadly, too many 'progressives' care more about being fair to republicans than they do about winning.

    •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Skyye

      Doing a mid-decade gerrymander in Pennsylvania is just too reminiscent of what Republicans did here in Texas in the last decade.

      If Democrats do win control, what I'd love to see happen in Pennsylvania is for them to push through a non-partisan redistricting system similar to what California now has.  It would undo the worst damage of what the Republicans did in the state, and would be virtually impossible for Republicans do undo if they regain control.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:03:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As I noted in the diary, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davybaby

      Electing more and better Democrats is good. Fair districts are also good. I'm truly undecided on which side I stand. A fair map would also be an improvement, of course, but we would probably only have one more seat (the 6th or 7th) in the bag, with several other seats as possibilities (3rd, 8th) or depending on candidates (11th, 12th).

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:08:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Contrariwise (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheUnknown285, davybaby, Klugstah

      I don't think Democrats should gerrymander any LESS than Republicans, either.  Not if we're interested in being the majority party, like, ever.

      We must gerrymander the living shit out of every state where we have the power to do so.  Only then will the Republicans decide that gerrymandering is wrong and agree to mandatory anti-gerrymandering rules in places where they've gerrymandered Democrats out of the decisionmaking process for the foreseeable future.

      "It was all a mistake! I'm dieting and I told my staff to close the FRIDGE!" --attributed to Governor Christie

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 04:33:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sounds about as likely as (0+ / 0-)

        a Republican-controlled Senate eliminating the filibuster.

        And according to your logic, the Democrats should not have eliminated it.

        "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

        by pierre9045 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 05:09:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  This isn't a good comment for a DKE diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Klugstah, emilysdad, jncca, CF of Aus

      DKE is a place where redistricting junkies hang out. Redistricting diaries here require discussion of the likely effectiveness or lack thereof of the proposal, not theoretical comments on gerrymandering itself. Take those to "main" Daily Kos.

  •  This map is good and mostly realistic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Skyye, Tayya, demreplib33, davybaby

    The only unrealistic parts are the 12th and 18th districts.

    Also, thanks for mentioning me at the end!

    (-8.38, -4.72), CT-02 (home), ME-01 (college) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." -Spock

    by ProudNewEnglander on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 07:55:50 AM PST

    •  No worries. (0+ / 0-)

      The Southwest took me the most time. If I'd redo it, I'd probably redo the 12th entirely into a district based in northern Pittsburgh that would be an invitation to Altmire.

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:11:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Bucks County rule (5+ / 0-)

    By definition this hurts Dems, as there are only so many ways to unpack Philly if we can't go north through Bucks (obviously east is NJ).  We end up unpacking Philadelphia through MontCo or Delo which are Dem areas (DelCo substantially so).

    We needs to break up Bucks and just be done with it.  There's no negative impact, the folks in Bucks are pretty 50/50 in almost all elections (It's never going 60% for any party) so it's just a big mass of people we're bending over backwards to give uniform representation to while MontCo is split amongst 6 CD's.

    "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

    by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 09:36:02 AM PST

    •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

      MontCo should have its own district, why don't they get a nice parochial rule for themselves like Bucks does? Probably because it would be Dem enough to be pretty safe but not enough to be packed, and so would help spread Democrats around the rest of the metro area.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 10:21:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well I don't want a MontCo district either (0+ / 0-)

        Both Bucks and MontCo have to split into at least 3 districts to get the best possible map.  Splitting Montco to the west (and maybe radiating some of Delco West) can dilute some of Chester and maybe then the lower half of ChesterCo with Delaware can give us a favorable (but not guaranteed) seat.

        To me the real issue is creating a gerrymander that Brady would sign off on, which of course he wouldn't with the district Tayya suggested.  It's great in theory but in reality I think Brady would probably scuttle this map.

        "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

        by rdw72777 on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:28:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Which one would Brady kill? (0+ / 0-)

          The 1st leaving his house in DelCo outside?

          19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

          by Tayya on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:35:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'd assume so (0+ / 0-)

            Knowing him (not really knowing in person, but just his control over Philly) he'd want a map that maximizes Dems gains secondary to him keeping his district pretty much the way it is.  

            Obviously those 2 things are hard to do simultaneously.

            "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

            by rdw72777 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 06:36:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, depends on how picky he is (0+ / 0-)

              I'd say the majority or at least 40% is the same as his old district, and most of the new territory is from Fattah's district where he probably wouldn't have any trouble. So it would just be douchiness to turn down this one. Douchiness is, of course, something you can expect from politicians, especially machine bosses like Brady.

              19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

              by Tayya on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 07:45:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  I wasn't arguing that MontCo should get its own (0+ / 0-)

          but that for some reason there is a double standard and people think Bucks is more important, and I'm guessing its just because putting all of Bucks in one district is better for Republicans, not that county territorial integrity is sacred.

          ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

          by James Allen on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:57:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think it's just unintentional bias towards (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            davybaby

            the status quo. Bucks County has traditionally had the population for one district and thus wasn't split, plus it helps Republicans. But I think a 2012 CoI map should split it to put lower Bucks with lower Montco and northeast Philly and then the central and northwestern portions of each county together in another district. Those county lines are over 200 years old and shouldn't be the overriding basis for political districts today. I think keeping cities/townships together is a lot more important when it comes adhering to jurisdiction lines.

            •  I think the size has been key (0+ / 0-)

              At least to the "rule" lasting this long.  

              Bucks is now a no growth area so the rule is going to be useless soon anyways.  After the next census/reapportionment in 2020 I'm guessing Bucks population will only be enough to fill about 75% of a district.  I'm guessing MontCo will be about 100-110% of a single district.  So while Bucks may be wholly contained in a single district, it's influence in that district would continue to gain.

              But I'd ather just split Bucks and MontCo up for partisan reasons :-)

              Fun fact, Bucks population grew 113% from 1950 to 1960...Levittown-mania.

              "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

              by rdw72777 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 06:43:34 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ah I see (0+ / 0-)

            When I read "MontCo should have it's own district" I interpreted it to mean you want a "MontCo Rule".  

            "What if you're on a game show one day and the name of some random New Jersey state senator is the only thing between you and several thousand dollars? And you'll think to yourself, "if only I had clapped faster." - sapelcovits

            by rdw72777 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 06:37:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Unpack Philly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, davybaby

    Any gerrymander which has a D+38 seat is a fail in my opinion.  Bring PA-2 down to a D+18 seat and spread the extra 20 points to the burbs -- instead of creating 2 Philly County seats, see if you can create a sliced cake with Philly as the center?

    •  Can't do that as it has to be 50%+1 black (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tayya, James Allen, HoosierD42

      because of the VRA. You can still gerrymander effectively with it like that though, but you can't get it down below 70% Obama.

      Anyway I think this map would be fairly likely to go 12-6 in 2016 if Mark Critz and Tim Holden were to run. It has 9 fairly solid districts and the 3rd and 12th should be about 50-50 downballot, while Holden is uber popular in most of the 11th even if it's Republican leaning. However I wouldn't say this is a mild map as it's pretty clearly gerrymandered, but still quite interesting. I might try my hand eventually at drawing a deceptively clean modestly Dem map, but even if they just drew a neutral one that could give us more than a few districts.

      I've never used Open Office so I don't know what's causing the spreadsheet template to do that, but if you download excel it should work perfectly fine in that.

      •  "Mild" might have been an exaggeration (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoosierD42

        But I had the current map to compare to, and next to that it's very mild. "Not insane" is more true. It looks relatively neat in the east, and the Southwest and Erie aren't that hard to fix into something that's more clean but not as helpful to us.

        I have Excel, but a trial version, and I can't find my registration. This has been the first time it's a problem.

        19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

        by Tayya on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:20:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The arm into Philly like that is very unlikely (0+ / 0-)

    and I think you should make the 12th slightly less skinny just to make it look nicer.  Also, 57% Obama 2008 is only D+2 or so in 2012, so that's Tilt/Lean Dem in an open seat in ancestrally Republican SEPA.

    What I'd do in SEPA is have the 8th take in Philly (but not with a weird arm) and lose Upper Bucks, have Fattah take some GOP parts of Lower MontCo, and make sure each district is at least 58% (ideally 59%) Obama 2008.  If that isn't possible, make all but one of them 59% and one district closer to 55%.

    I like the map, though, don't get me wrong.

    21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (school)
    politicohen.com
    Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal, not progressive. For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.
    UC Berkeley; I think I'm in the conservative half of this city.

    by jncca on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 11:38:30 PM PST

  •  The Illinois Redistmas map was a marvel (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alibguy

    Not only was it designed to completely screw over the Republicans, it actually had more compact and equally balanced congressional districts than the old map!

  •  Republicans control both chambers of the PA legis- (0+ / 0-)

    lature.  How is this mid-census redistricting going to happen?  This plan is about as productive as masturbation.  It sounds good, it feels good.   But it ain't gonna happen.

    To write a Republican Party talking point on a policy issue, any policy issue, all you need is: a noun, a verb, and 'Obamacare'.

    by MARTinNJ on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:51:17 AM PST

    •  how is your comment any more productive? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jncca

      Anyway, that the Republicans hold the legislature currently does not mean they will for the remainder of the decade.

      ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

      by James Allen on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 10:23:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard masturbating is good for the prostate (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davybaby

      Just saying.

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:35:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lancaster and York? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tayya

    It's a rule to keep Lancaster and York separate? For a moment there, I thought I was reading about the Wars of the Roses!

    •  I know (0+ / 0-)

      Don't remember where I heard about it (probably a diary here) but I wondered instantly if it's intentional or just communities of interest lining up in a fun way.

      19/Sweden/Wonk. Prefers discussing opinions to having them. Learning by doing.

      by Tayya on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 01:34:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gerrymandering works against Dems (0+ / 0-)

    Far, Far, Far better to change the rules so that
    the system is inherently fair.

    I'd require that the simplest map is most likely legal.

    That would be easy for courts to apply as a test
    and even if it's less optimal it's far more stable.

  •  Do you have this map available for uploading (0+ / 0-)

    on Dave's Redistricting App? I'd like to fool around with it, if possible

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