By all rights...

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By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:01 pm

Dems should have gained more seats in the House if it weren’t for the gerrymandering that state GOPs have deliberately done since the strategy started in 2012. Read this report by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project: The ‘Blue Wave’ Wasn’t Enough to Overcome Republican Gerrymanders

The midterms saw a “blue wave” of Democratic support, with the party gaining at least 26 House seats and winning the popular vote by seven points. While it was a significant victory that gave control of the House to the Democrats, they could have won even more seats if not for gerrymanders – carefully manipulated district maps that have given Republicans a substantial advantage in House elections since 2012.

Particularly in four states – Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas – Democratic candidates gained support from voters relative to 2016, but gained relatively few seats.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Haruo » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:09 pm

I think there was a red wave AND a blue wave, both larger than usual in a midterm.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:41 pm

Haruo wrote:I think there was a red wave AND a blue wave, both larger than usual in a midterm.

You are off subject here Haruo.

On blue wave magnitude look at this previously posted article (in the "Will my mod lib friends smile again...” topic) and tell me this was anything other than a "blue wave" when looked at in toto (all states) - especially chart 2.
Exit Polls:How Voting Blocs Have Shifted From the ’80s to Now
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Re: By all rights...

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:20 am

...but by current election laws, dems won the 34 or so. If they win some governorships and state legislatures, they can redraw the lines in 2020. If the supposedly more conservative SCOTUS makes some rulings that affect districting, we can have elections and see how that impacts things.

Dems love to complain about this stuff. The electoral college is one of their big gripes also.

Personally, I like clean, sensible districts for aesthetic reasons.

No need to note the electoral malpractices of some dem candidates.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:39 am

William Thornton wrote:No need to note the electoral malpractices of some dem candidates.


Yes, coming from someone who voted for a gubernatorial candidate in Georgia who is doing all he can to suppress and avoid counting votes that could benefit his Democratic opponent and whose practices, questionable if not outright unconstitutional, suppressed enough voters to put him in position to win. Well, thanks for the bit of humor.....

One of the things that flew under the radar screen on Tuesday was that the Dems had a pretty good night at the state level, where their blue wave was more on the lines of a tsunami. They won seven governorships, complete control of five more states and at least one house in something like nine or ten others. I think William is the one who has said that if Democrats want to resolve the things we complain about, we need to win elections. Well, the GOP had tried to stack the deck, but thanks to Anti-Trump voters, they're winning the elections they need to reverse the gerrymandering. Maybe it won't be long to get rid of the antiquated, outdated, undemocratic abberation of the electoral college as well.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:27 am

Zzzz...fake news. Abrams did well but just didn't get the votes. Too bad she can't count the phantom votes.

I fully expect that Dems in control of states will rig the redistricting after the 2020 census. Have at it. Dems are real big in the rust belt states. We will see which states lose seats after the census.

No way Beto should have lost after all that money and media adoration. He f****** up, if I may bleep a word he uses publicly.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:45 am

William Thornton wrote:...but by current election laws, dems won the 34 or so. If they win some governorships and state legislatures, they can redraw the lines in 2020. If the supposedly more conservative SCOTUS makes some rulings that affect districting, we can have elections and see how that impacts things.


William Thornton wrote:I fully expect that Dems in control of states will rig the redistricting after the 2020 census. Have at it. Dems are real big in the rust belt states. We will see which states lose seats after the census.


Gerrymandering rights should not be a prize of an election. It is an assault on democracy no matter of what party has control. If lines are redrawn by new state legislatures (and many need to be redrawn), I would hope that they are made in a racially & politcal balanced manner, more geographically based. Watch video at http://gerrymander.princeton.edu to understand how it works for political advantage (North Carolina examples given where in 2012 Reps won 9 seats, 5 seats to Dems despite statewide democratic popular vote being greater than the Reps ) and explains the math/statistical tests to identify deliberate partisan gerrymandering.

Public policies should be based on the good of the people individually determined by the electorate (and not forced fed by party strong-arming). That is bad enough as is. But to allow our political election processes be influenced by partisans is an even larger threat to democracy.

BTW, the 2020 Census is in some trouble.
The 2020 Census is in Trouble

The citizenship question is only the start of the Census Bureau’s issues. It has faced constant budget reductions and shortfalls, hasn’t been able to field the kind of end-to-end testing this year that it needs to, has missed its marks on some quality-control processes, and has been embroiled in smaller controversies over a rumored proposal to ban noncitizens from working as census-takers. All of these administrative issues have arisen as the Senate gears up to begin confirmation hearings for a new Census Bureau director. Though the post is not usually high on partisans’ collective radar, Donald Trump’s appointment of former Bureau of Justice Statistics Director Steven Dillingham has become a hot-button issue, one that could further complicate the morass of problems for the bureau to sort out before 2020.

If all these complications weren’t enough to deal with, the 2020 census also faces a new and profound security threat. The 2016 election saw the major vulnerabilities of American voting infrastructure on full display. Russian hackers managed to infiltrate registration systems and voting machines, and experts uncovered other holes across a broad range of systems that nefarious actors could potentially exploit. And the American people proved as eminently hackable as the machines on which they rely: Much more so than the attacks on U.S. hardware and software, Russia-sponsored actors found success in manipulating the fears and behaviors of voters themselves. Both of these sets of exploits could be predecessors to a strategy to undermine the 2020 census.


Still, Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York is already expressing "serious concerns" about Dillingham's nomination, citing his involvement with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a conservative group that influences state legislation. Dillingham once served as an "academic adviser to the law and justice task force" of ALEC


Upon further review, Dillingham seems OK Census Bureau nominee becomes lightning rod for debate over 2020 census

And I have no problem with a Citizenship question on the Census. But I would have a problem if those answering in the negative start getting rounded up. Most countries don’t care and provided services (and receives taxes) from non-citizens.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:51 pm

I have lived in Texas all my life. I lived to see it turn from a "blue state" to a "red state". Before the "reds" the "blues" did the gerrymandering. Afterwards the "reds" did it. It is a fact of political history and life. For the most part they get by with it (either party), though sometimes judges strike down particularly egregious cases. If a party wants to "take power" they have to overcome it by getting the votes rather than just whining about it. (Then they can get back to their own gerrymandering.)
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:54 pm

William Thornton wrote:I fully expect that Dems in control of states will rig the redistricting after the 2020 census. Have at it. Dems are real big in the rust belt states. We will see which states lose seats after the census.


Yeah, they are pretty big in the rust belt states. When they're in power they create jobs. That's why.

The Democrats actually picked up most of their gains in states that will get seats in 2020. California will get more new seats than any other state, no question how big the Democrats are there. Texas will likely be second, and given the growth of the Democratic vote there, I'd predict that it will give its electoral votes to a Democrat next time around. Arizona, which was once the most reliably Republican state in the county, has a Democratic majority among its congressional delegation for the first time in its history, thanks to Tuesday night, and will get at least one, maybe two new seats in 2020. But it's hard to confine the gains the Democrats made at the congressional level on Tuesday. They picked up seats across the board, in places like South Carolina, Kansas and incredibly, Oklahoma. All of the "new" congressional seats from 2010 except for one are now held by Democrats, so that only increases their chances.

The court case that allows redistricting prior to 2020, which the courts in Pennsylvania ordered, opens the door to redistricting in I think 16 states. That's not "Democrats rigging" the redistricting, that's state supreme courts ordering it, and independent commissions drawing the lines. In Pennsylvania, the legislature was controlled by the GOP with a super-majority in the senate, and the state supreme court is mostly Republican, though courts are supposed to be non-partisan. The court ordered the redistricting be complete prior to the mid-terms rather than waiting until 2020. When the independent commission finished drawing the lines, based on population within districts and mostly political boundaries like county lines and city limits, the GOP who had hired them tried to sue. The majority Republican court said no. There was a time when the lines had been drawn to favor the Democrats, and they fixed it so that at one point there were only three GOP congressmen. This current configuration is an accurate reflection of the political make-up of the state except there are no independents in Congress from PA.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:07 am



Yes Democrats have done it also, if that is your point.

But Analysis: Partisan gerrymandering has benefited Republicans more than Democrats. But the ends do not justify the means in either party. Gerrymandered redistricting is deliberate efforts to subvert elections.

National districting standards such as supplied by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project or the Brennan Center for Justice (others?) should be adopted, applied to every state, and let their statistical rules minimize the gerrymandering effects.

Can we get back to becoming a “more perfect union” with the balanced set of goals underlined?

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States


And do so without the partisan gamesmanship?
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:11 am

KeithE wrote:And do so without the partisan gamesmanship?
I have no objection to that, but also have no expectation of that. It's good to work toward getting things where they ought to be, but ultimately we have to deal with things as they are.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:14 pm

Rvaughn wrote:
KeithE wrote:And do so without the partisan gamesmanship?
I have no objection to that, but also have no expectation of that. It's good to work toward getting things where they ought to be, but ultimately we have to deal with things as they are.

Of course positive politicians must keep trucking towards our union being more perfect for the people. Part of that trucking is fighting for transparency (with accountability when corruption happens), campaign finance reform (to reduce the power of money), lobby reform (lobbyists must be for people, not the industries), and voting integrity (eliminate voter suppression and gerrymandering).

Fine tune and improve the collective government policies; not just dismantle them (as Trump is doing in many areas; much data is being thrown away as well). See what works in other countries for the people. Constantly monitor what is working and what isn’t. Just ending government functions to let the powerful run roughshod over others is counterproductive.

Sure these are idealistic fixes to what is wrong with government goals/processes, but why not work for the best (all the while keeping trucking).
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:10 am

What I see in VA is the deliberate drawing of districts to protect incumbents. It's evident that the members of the state house and senate are definitely picking their voters.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Sandy » Sun Nov 11, 2018 9:48 pm

Actually, as time has passed since Tuesday night, the size and scope of the Democrat's victory is becoming apparent. It's a bigger shift of seats in the house than the 2010 reversal of the house two years into Obama's first term, and the Democrats kept the senate then, too, mainly because there weren't that many seats they had to defend. A lot of state houses slipped out of their hands, too, but not as many as the Republicans lost on Tuesday.

The lawsuit that caused the Pennsylvania supreme court to switch the district lines prior to this election affects 16 states, and I'd have to look it up to see which those are. I know Wisconsin is one, and Texas. State legislature lines will also change, but the Democrats did well across the board on Tuesday, even in traditionally Republican areas. It was a well rounded sweep of objectives. They won the senate seat in Alabama in a special election, and Tuesday they flipped congressional seats in states like Oklahoma, Utah, South Carolina and Texas.

Personally, I think independent, bi-partisan commissions should draw congressional district lines. Just sit down and use existing county and city boundaries to put congressional disticts together based on geographic units, not the political base of voters. People who think that they are entitled to an advantage because they are the party in power do not understand the principle of Gerrymandering or why that is supposed to be illegal in the United States.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Neil Heath » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:19 am

I agree with using impartial means to set up voting districts. There are some computer systems that have done pretty well, I think.

My earliest memory of trying to limit voting power came when I was a Mercer student. A Mercer prof was running for local office. They redrew the voting precincts so that every Mercer dorm was in a different one to prevent the students from voting her in.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby William Thornton » Mon Nov 12, 2018 3:35 pm

Neil Heath wrote:I agree with using impartial means to set up voting districts. There are some computer systems that have done pretty well, I think.

My earliest memory of trying to limit voting power came when I was a Mercer student. A Mercer prof was running for local office. They redrew the voting precincts so that every Mercer dorm was in a different one to prevent the students from voting her in.


Common. In Athens, there were three hours huge dorms on UGA campus within a couple of blocks of each other. City council districts put each one in separate districts. No big deal, students rarely registered to vote locally.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:14 pm

William Thornton wrote:
Neil Heath wrote:I agree with using impartial means to set up voting districts. There are some computer systems that have done pretty well, I think.

My earliest memory of trying to limit voting power came when I was a Mercer student. A Mercer prof was running for local office. They redrew the voting precincts so that every Mercer dorm was in a different one to prevent the students from voting her in.


Common. In Athens, there were three hours huge dorms on UGA campus within a couple of blocks of each other. City council districts put each one in separate districts. No big deal, students rarely registered to vote locally.

Common perhaps but nefarious nonetheless; and could be a “big deal” when repeated nationally. The intent is to minimize student voting effectiveness. Natural city/county lines bounds voting districts should be the normal practice. Politicos (D’s and R’s) in the state legislatures should not be involved.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby William Thornton » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:23 pm

It's called politics.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:26 pm

William Thornton wrote:It's called politics.

Dirty politics.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby Sandy » Mon Nov 12, 2018 11:50 pm

Politics, dirty politics, that is exactly why laws regarding gerrymandering are as detailed as they are and still there seems to be a problem with defining it and enforcing the law. I would guess that a lot of people who are livid with insistence that immigration law, as pernicious and unamerican as those laws are, be explicitly enforced would not be on board so much with the gerrymandering laws being enforced as long as it benefits their (GOP) party.

One of the specific issues that came up in the Pennsylvania case was drawing the zig zag lines around known blocks of voters in various neighborhoods to isolate high percentages of Democrats in just a few districts. The federal law cited in the court case that forced the new boundary drawing specifically states that lines can't be drawn around densely populated areas for the purpose of "dividing up" the partisan nature of a particular neighborhood. When drawing boundaries, the independent commission looked at population density, political boundaries (city limits, county lines, precincts) and used the average district population to redraw the districts, not including the partisan makeup of the area. The result was that the districts are now geographically sensible, equally populated and "random" as the commission said.

And while a 9-9 split of Congressmen still doesn't get Pennsylvania Democrats to equal representation based on their actual numbers, it would be impossible to do that without some gerrymandering by Democrats. There are still two districts in the state where the Democratic voter registration is more than 85% of the total vote.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby William Thornton » Tue Nov 13, 2018 4:54 am

KeithE wrote:
William Thornton wrote:It's called politics.

Dirty politics.


No. Technology has taken a lot of the mystery out of drawing lines. It may be that the third branch of gummit will exercise a bit more aggressive action in laying out standards but the legislative branch and Executive will still come up with them. I wouldn't vote for any rep who would turn the job over to technocrats.

Any drastic change would have unintended consequences, always does.

I'm on record as favoring clean district lines for aesthetic reasons. I like a pretty map. Georgia originally had cities that were defined by boundaries drawn as a radius from a point, perfect circles. Nice.
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Re: By all rights...

Postby KeithE » Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:44 am

To show how effective (from a Republican point of view) gerrymandering has been, look at the differences between overall national vote margins and House seats gained in 2010 and 2018.

Republicans won the popular vote by 7.2% and gained 63 seats in 2010. In 2018, Democrats won the popular vote by 7.0% and have gained only somewhere between 32 and 38 seats (depending on finishing the counts and recounts).

Popular vote totals: House ‘popular vote’ gives Democrats something to brag about

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Re: By all rights...

Postby Sandy » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:45 am

I don't think we will ever achieve complete satisfaction by either party when it comes to drawing lines. Having an independent commission armed with only a map and census data and without information on how people in a given area voted or which, if any, party they belong to would be the fairest way to do it. In spite of the fact that Republicans like to post the maps showing giant red areas compared to teeny tiny blue areas on social media accounts, the fact of the matter is that land doesn't vote, people do and most of them live in cities and suburbs. And the laws against gerrymandering don't allow zigzag and snake shapes through cities and suburbs to isolate all of the members of a single party into a single district.
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