Gerrymandering Thread

I don’t think we have a thread on this, but it’s an important enough issue to merit it. I needed a place to put this article.

Schwarzenegger is preparing to throw himself into a public and behind-the-scenes campaign to build momentum around what’s become a defining cause of his post-gubernatorial career. He has a Terminate Gerrymandering Crowdpac that he’s pledged to match dollar-for-dollar. He’ll be appearing at events, meeting with lawyers, having his team jump in to rewrite incomprehensible charts of the “efficiency gap” and other technicalities ahead of Gill v. Whitford, the Wisconsin gerrymandering challenge that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a few hours after he finished speaking, called “the most important” case of the Supreme Court’s next term at an event at Duke Law School. Redistricting reform advocates think Anthony Kennedy, meanwhile, is looking for a way to be with them, though they’re not sure. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Attorney General Eric Holder, supports the challenge but isn’t counting on it as central to its own efforts.

We have an anti-gerrymandering group here in Michigan called Voters Not Politicians working on a constitutional amendment ballot measure for 2018. I went to one of their town halls a while back. I was pretty impressed with what I heard. No process will be perfect, but the independent commission that they’re proposing is a damn sight better than our current system of the state legislature having full control.

They’ve made progress, but at the moment the ballot measure language is bogged down in the approval process from the Bureau of Elections. Supposedly it’s a 24-48 hour feedback process, but it’s been almost a month - they’ve got a clock on their website counting up and have been holding press conferences to try to browbeat the bureaucrats into doing their job.

The NC redistricting in 2010 is what gave the GOP here a solid majority control for the decade. They have lost every court case and have dragged their feet redrawing the maps again and again. All they need to do is delay things until it is “too close to the 2020 elections to make major changes” and they will have won control for another ten years.

The Supreme Court case struck down the districts because of RACIAL gerrymandering, but the same guys have drawn new districts now just based on purely PARTY gerrymandering. It may be old practice, but it has never been this naked and hasn’t been proved illegal yet, so why not! The GOP fighting with the courts, and they still get to use taxpayer money to fight to keep the other party out of contention.

5-4 ruling. Fuck you Mitch.

What a fucking joke. Fuck all of you Republicans…like seriously, fuck you all. This sort of shit is just ridiculous.

But guyz Neilly Gorsuch (more like GorSUCH A BAE M I RITE) is soooooooooooo moderate and good! Mmmm I just wanna kiss his lil moderate nose

Oral arguments begin tomorrow.

(spot reserved for impending 5-4 ruling stating partisan gerrymandering is still A-OK)

5-4 wold not surprise me at all.

I feel like this is a much greater threat to our democracy than anything Russia may have done and i fear our supreme court is not up to the task.

I’ve been filled with an overwhelming sense of dread all day that I haven’t felt since Trump won the election. If they rule in favor of partisan gerrymandering then I think the grand experiment is over and America as we know it is done for. If it’s another 5-4 then Meuller might as well quit the investigation because any smoking gun he finds won’t amount to squat because the GOP will never have to fear of losing their seats to angry voters ever again. Old rich white men win again.

Kennedy’s line of questioning was framing gerrymandering as a violation of the first amendment right. There’s the tiniest, tiniest glimmer of hope. Very tiny, but it’s there.

And then there’s these from our esteemed “non-activist” Constitutional-loving “justices.”

Edit: And more props to John McCain:

(Personally I think this is too optimistic but worth a read just the same.)

Basically the future of democracy is at stake, no big deal! It’s amazing how well gerrymandering fits with the “I got mine, fuck you” mentality of the Republican party though.

200 years ago we knew this was a problem.

I read somewhere that a ridiculous percentage of congressional districts are now more contorted than the infamous 1812 example that gave Gerrymandering it’s name. Like I want to say 30%.

Sadly my google-fu is weak.

Sounds about right. You can pick almost any state that doesn’t have a regulation preventing it and see it.

Then you look at someplace like Iowa and go, “Yeah, that seems right.”

I mean look that that pink district in NC and tell me that should happen.

North Carolina: Bringing you the North American Christian Caliphate, one gerrymander-stolen election at a time!

Another More Perfect episode that I listened to recently is this one on gerrymandering.

They did a good job talking about the efficiency formula that’s being proposed as a way to measure gerrymandered districts. (Also see this NYT article.) It may not be perfect but any measurement that we could use to evaluate districts would be a damn sight better than the status quo.

The metric at the heart of the Wisconsin case is called the efficiency gap. To calculate it, you take the difference between each party’s “wasted” votes — votes for losing candidates and votes for winning candidates beyond what the candidate needed to win — and divide that by the total number of votes cast. It’s mathematical, yes, but quite simple, and aims to measure the extent of partisan gerrymandering.

Four of the eight justices who regularly speak during oral arguments1 voiced anxiety about using calculations to answer questions about bias and partisanship. Some said the math was unwieldy, complicated, and newfangled. One justice called it “baloney” and argued that the difficulty the public would have in understanding the test would ultimately erode the legitimacy of the court.

And Chief Justice John Roberts, most of all, dismissed the modern attempts to quantify partisan gerrymandering: “It may be simply my educational background, but I can only describe it as sociological gobbledygook.”