Gerrymandering Thread


#101

I don’t think the impeachment attempt will be successful. This is the same state rep who brought up impeachment before, and he didn’t get much support from the rest of the PA GOP. He still seems to be acting mostly alone.

Keep in mind that the new map changes the congressional districts, not the state districts. I seriously doubt that PA state representatives would personally take on such huge political risk merely in order to improve the prospects of fellow politicians in DC. They aren’t exactly altruistic.

Especially because even if all five justices go, it’s quite possible that nothing would change. The two dissents mostly agreed that the current map was bad, but wanted to avoid disrupting the 2018 election.

So the whole impeachment effort would be for naught if just one of them realized that reverting the map back in July would be even more disruptive. Plus, it’s quite possible for at least one of them to be annoyed by a legislature that thinks it can threaten a Supreme Court justice with impeachment.


#102

It was interesting listening to some quotes of the SCOTUS justices on NPR. Basically, people in general want a bit of gerrymandering to happen, but complain when there’s too much. How does SCOTUS determine what is too much?

Kind of true about life in general. People want a bit of corruption until it doesn’t go their way, and enough of them become upset.

Also, SCOTUS are not mathematicians. Do they need to write a formula to determine what is too much and what is too little?


#103

This is why having a principled position matters.

Gerrymandering is wrong, even if it benefits you. If you don’t speak up against it when it benefits you, then you can fuck off when it harms you.


#104

There is already a formula that can quantify how much gerrymandering exists.

Judges are perfectly willing to rely on much more complex formulas, for example when calculating your car speed based on the interference pattern of a reflected radar beam. And they are perfectly willing to use their judgment when comparing your speed to the speed limit, and to go easier on someone who is 5mph over the limit than someone who is 25mph over.

This is no different at all.


#105

As I understood the NPR program, even SCOTUS thinks some gerrymandering is necessary or desirable.

Interesting. I think the goal is “7 percent efficiency gap threshold”, or a margin of 7% or less against some ideal state. However, the article says Justice Kennedy still needs to be convinced that the formula is worth using. (It’s an old article.)


#106

As I understand it, yes and no; gerrymandering in the sense that it’s intended to disenfranchise a specific group of voters? Not cool, man. To make it easier for incumbents? That’s a bit of a different story. What’s the difference when it’s the same end result? That’s where things like that article come into play, and it seems more like “trigger thresholds” for taking action.


#107

Not exactly “gerrymandering”, but rather grouping people with like interests/desires, as well as respecting historical and natural boundaries. A purely mathematical formula that attempts to split people into even numbers using simple geometric shapes can quash minority or even majority voices.

Let’s imagine a square-shaped state with a coast on one side, mountains on the opposite side, and a dense city in the center. A purely mathematical model might split the state into four equal quadrants with the city divided into fourths. In such a situation, almost no one would win – the fisherfolk on the coast would be split in half and no one would court their vote. Ditto for the miners on the opposite side of the state. The state’s representatives would end up being chosen by the city-dwellers almost exclusively.

A more representative model might make two districts out of the city and surrounding exurbs, one for the mountains and farms, and a fourth along the coast and nearby countryside. But that would probably look less “fair” than the pure mathematical approach… and of course it might ALSO look like it was grouping by political party.


#108

This would happen only if far more than half the state population lived in the city.

Yes, if far more than half the population were represented by only half the representatives then it would certainly be unfair.


#109

Probably also unfair if small groups of people have unfairly weighted representation in lawmaking as well as Presidential elections.


#110

IIRC, this was because (supposedly) people in urban centers are able to come together to achieve common goals more readily with less overhead, expenditure of time, travel expenses, etc. People in rural areas, being more spread out, are (supposedly) more vulnerable. Economies of scale, I guess. Or like how puppies are able to stay warmer when huddled in a single mass versus spread out across a floor.


#111

#112

I voted for this with some reservations. Strictly better than the current situation but if the majority party doesn’t want to play ball they can still make whatever map they’d like with the caveat that it has to be revisited in 4 years instead of 10. I don’t think this goes far enough and worry it only got through so Republicans can paint any further pushes for reform as angry liberal whining.


#113

Agreed. I went with the old axiom of “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good” (or at least better, in this case).


#114

Interestingly enough, it appears as if, in a fit of pique, Greitens will allow Missouri to vote on whether district writing should be handed off to a more non-partisan panel:

the third proposal would hand the decennial redistricting process over to a nonpartisan demographer charged with drawing politically competitive seats.


#115

I can imagine Reps not allowing these measures to happen, even if blocking them is illegal.


#116

I voted for the CA one, even if it was a blatant attempt by the GOP to attempt to get more power in CA. Funny thing is that it backfired on them, and things actually got worse (for the GOP) with fairer districts not designed to protect incumbents.

I also noticed that these were initiatives were only initially targeted at Blue states. It’s been rare to see them in Red states… which makes Missouri even more remarkable…


#117

No relief from the Supreme Court today.


#118

Oh boy, looking forward to another decade of Republican control because of this bullshit. It’s ridiculous that the GOP is basically playing with a stacked deck in so many elections.


#119

I’ve expressed similar sentiment as the following quote to red hats I know. I’ve included a condensed summary of their reply. This is how they view this sort of thing.

“Which is why they deserve to win. We want someone in charge who knows how to win on the world stage, and if you can’t win at home you have no business representing us.”


#120

It makes more sense when you realize the GOP has no interest in democracy or its underlying principles. They’re about power. They’re also becoming a demographic minority, so retaining that power is not compatible with free and fair elections.

The Ba’th party, South Africa’s NP and other minority autocratic regimes are the model.