June 20, 2017

"Inkblot" is the wrong meme for the gerrymandering problem in the case the Supreme Court is looking at.

The NYT has the headline "Gerrymandering Case Echoes in Inkblot-Like Districts Across the U.S." and the writer — Michael Cooper — gets very far along presenting the problem in terms of the seemingly apparent wrongness of having a sprawling, weirdly shaped legislative district:
The Supreme Court’s decision to hear a case on partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin is being closely watched in other states, including Pennsylvania, where a lawsuit is challenging the process that gave the state its so-called Goofy Kicking Donald Duck-shaped congressional district.... A Rorschach-test inkblot of a district that has been likened to “Goofy Kicking Donald Duck,” this district meanders through five counties and is so narrow in parts that it is only the width of a restaurant in King of Prussia and of an endoscopy center in Coatesville, according to a lawsuit filed by voting rights activists last week....

Democrats in Maryland drew plenty of crazily shaped districts to help their party in 2011 — its Third District has been likened to a “praying mantis” — but a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s last round of redistricting is focused on one: the Sixth District, which yoked Democratic voters from the Washington suburbs to Republican voters in the rural west of the state.
But the Wisconsin case is just about the opposite problem, as Cooper lets us see in the closing paragraphs of the article:
[O]ne of the defenses made by Wisconsin officials is that their districts are compact....

“They don’t look bizarre,” William Whitford, one of the Democratic plaintiffs suing over the Wisconsin map, said Monday on a conference call with reporters. “But if you really know the Wisconsin political geography — and that’s a learning curve! — they are bizarre.”
The problem in Wisconsin is that Democratic voters are concentrated in these compact — not inkblot-like — districts, so that there are "wasted" votes, and Democrats win by wide margins in those places instead of getting their voters spread into some other districts that could become competitive, instead of safe for Republicans. That is, the Democrats are fighting for something more like the Maryland Sixth District. In the new Supreme Court case, the plaintiffs want to "yoke" more Democratic voters in urban areas to Republican voters in more suburban/rural places.

Did the NYT not notice that the article is insane? The problem in the first half is the solution in the second half! You can't have it both ways. Which is kind of why the Supreme Court hasn't figured out what to do with these cases (other than to allow the litigation to proceed, which is some sort of deterrent to the most aggressively partisan gerrymandering).

79 comments:

Danno said...

Great observation you shared, Ann. We want it both ways!

Rob McLean said...

Did the NYT not notice that the article is insane? The problem in the first half is the solution in the second half! You can't have it both ways.

The NYT is in favour of whatever elects more Democrats.

Danno said...

I can't wait until Laslo picks up on this conclusion.

Nick said...

The only think they're complaining about is that sometimes Democrats still lose elections.

rhhardin said...

Maximize the ratio of area to square of the perimeter, using certain geographical features like roads and rivers. Let a computer do it, with equal population in each district.

Solution for sea rights: exclusive sea extends out a distance equal to the square root of the island area, with a max of today's limit. Chinese sand atolls get no sea, pretty much.

AReasonableMan said...

The one person, one vote doctrine is the fundamental basis of democracy. Deviations from this ideal undermine democracy.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Thought surely Althouse was going to segue into something about mid-century Negro vocal groups.

Todd said...

Gerrymandering! Democrats, women, and children hardest hit...


No gerrymandering? Democrats, women, and children hardest hit...


News you can use!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AReasonableMan said...

The one person, one vote doctrine is the fundamental basis of democracy. Deviations from this ideal undermine democracy.

Under the Wisconsin redistricting done by the Republicans, each person gets one vote, and each representative 'represents' the same number of people. So I assume you are endorsing the Wisconsin districts as drawn.

Birkel said...

Platitudes are fun. Internally logical arguments are hard.

Democrats are pounding the table.

AReasonableMan said...

Clearly the Republicans selected the districts to favor their own side, this is anti-democratic, just as it would be if Democrats had done the same thing.

Dave from Minnesota said...

As discussed yesterday. Blacks and Hispanics need to be put into one district (can be for different things...school board, city council, or congressional if enough of them) to ensure a liberal black/hispanic in office.

But white urban Democrats need to be dispersed into several districts in hopes of watering down conservative votes.

The reason I held my nose and voted for The Donald is due to judges. Hillary's judges would have voted for whatever policies helped the liberal end of the spectrum.

Dave from Minnesota said...

ARM...perhaps. But if they aren't blatant goofy districts (the inkblots), I would think the judges would rule against the Democrats for this case.

I would like to see non-partisans draw the lines. But like areas together without any regard for how they vote.

Birkel said...

ARM is shocked to find there is politics in state capitals.

Does ARM have a shocked face?

D said...

"You cant have it both ways" was a statement said by Kevin the commentator a few days ago whih led to quite extensive discussion about the way back to civil political discussion. Many commended him for finding the right language.
The phrase resonates because nobody likes the player who screams at the ref for X when the whole team knows they're the biggest fouler

Sebastian said...

"the Supreme Court hasn't figured out what to do with these cases (other than to allow the litigation to proceed, which is some sort of deterrent to the most aggressively partisan gerrymandering)" No: it is an incentive to prog lawyers to pursue the issue and go forum-shopping until they get the right outcome, at which point living statutes and the living Constitution are dead and buried because stare decisis and history moves on and what not.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Note that districts can be reasonably compact, and still unfairly gerrymandered. For example, imagine your state is square, all Democrats live in the left half, all Republicans live in the right half, and you need to make four congressional districts.
There are many fair ways to divide this up. You can cut the state in half both horizontally and vertically, creating two D and two R districts. You can cut it into four vertical strips, again two D and two R. You can cut it into four horizontal strips, creating four toss-up districts.
You can also divide it up unfairly, but still reasonably shaped. Create one vertical strip on the left, and three horizontal strips in the remaining space. That gives you one D, and three R districts, the R districts voting 2/3 R and 1/3 D.
This was certainly the goal when Republicans redistricted, just as the converse is the goal every time the Democrats redistricted.

The courts can't fix this. First of all, following the Democrat proposed formula would require constant redistricting, based not on geography, but on political affiliation. Second, it would require some magically non-partisan court to approve the plan. Might as well require all redistricting to by done by unicorns.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Doesn't the Constitution ensure a republican form of government. How have we allowed the politicians to choose their constituents. That is completely backwards.

Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts. We know how to do it. The politicians don't want to.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

AReasonableMan said...

Clearly the Republicans selected the districts to favor their own side, this is anti-democratic, just as it is every time the Democrats do it, which is every chance they get.

FIFY.

If it is wrong, it is a political wrong, not a legal or constitutional wrong.

Birkel said...

I was led to understand Leftists preferred the old aphorism:

One man.
One vote.
One time.

Ignorance is Bliss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

The United States are supposed to form a republic, not a democracy.

Virtually Unknown said...

My suggestion to Democrats is to develop a taste for actual diversity if its that important. Look at the issue of fracking. People in the countryside benefit, city people think gas comes from a pipe. Are flyover people supposed to have their votes overridden by people who have never even smelled cow manure?

Virtually Unknown said...

If the districts are unconstitutional, so is the electoral college.

John said...

Thank you Hagar.

That needs to be pointed out more often.

Why do so many otherwise intelligent people think that mob rule A/K/A democracy is a good thing?

John Henry

Gahrie said...

Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts. We know how to do it. The politicians don't want to.

This is illegal. It would result in fewer minority representatives, and thus violate prior Supreme Court decisions.

Virtually Unknown said...

Computers have neutral assumptions the same way all scientists are just like Spock, in fiction only.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

John said...

Why do so many otherwise intelligent people think that mob rule... is a good thing?

Because they are sure that the mob will be made up of right-thinking people like them.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts. We know how to do it. The politicians don't want to.

Politicians would be fine with that, as long as they get to choose the neutral criteria. Neutral criteria can be hacked. Let them choose how heavily to favor existing political boundaries, roads, rivers, compactness, etc, and they will come up with something that is indistinguishable from the current Republican redistricting, or its Democrat converse.

Birkel said...

People think the mob will rule because the 10% who favor control (see poll) know that they will be most active in the mob.

Until the 2nd Amendment folks get involved.

Rae said...

The Democratic party wants to put its voters in with Republican voters so they can infect the body politic, instead of staying in their quarantine zones.

Hagar said...

Because they are sure that the mob will be made up of right-thinking people like them.

Don't think so; it is that they are confident in their ability to lead the mob.

Danno said...

This just in- New study supports Trump: 5.7 million noncitizens may have cast illegal votes

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jun/19/noncitizen-illegal-vote-number-higher-than-estimat/?utm_source=onesignal&utm_campaign=pushnotify&utm_medium=push


Fritz said...

AReasonableMan said...
The one person, one vote doctrine is the fundamental basis of democracy. Deviations from this ideal undermine democracy.


A republic, if we can keep it.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Ann, the WI map looks completely un-gerrymandered to the naked eye. What are the political arcana the gentleman is concerned about?

Murph said...

Slightly over 1/3 of Colorado voters are registered as independent. How/where do they fit into any "solution"?

AJ Lynch said...

Most state constitutions require districts be aligned by town, city etc. The Dem solution wants to ignore that requirement.

Here in Penna, the situation is similar to how Althouse described Wisconsin. The Dems voters are mostly in Philly & Pittsburgh areas and so Dems would prefer districts that sprinkle those Dems thruout all the state's Congressional districts.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm up with the suggestion that the census not ask race or ethnicity, or at least not reveal this information for political purposes. Also the statistics should be mum on political affiliation. It should stick to the ORIGINAL purpose which is to enumerate (count) the number of people who live in a State in order to apportion Representatives to the House.

Intrusive, personal questions, information that should be voluntary at best does not belong on the US Census. The information is supposed to remain 'confidential'. Don't make me laugh. The government leaks like a sieve. Computers are hacked and who knows where that information ultimately ends up.

Yes, the statistical information can be helpful in deciding how to divide up the tax pie that the government collects/reaps. However, the reason for having this information? So the politicians can try to grab the biggest piece of the pie and posture that they are 'helping' their constituents. Vote for me!!!!! Look how much money I can swill from the public trough for YOU!

The main reason the Census needs to stick to its knitting. It is all being used for political purposes and worse, to 'social engineer' the people. Lab rats are all we are in their view.

Voting districts should be divided by Counties. That would end all the political shenanigans. Of course. That would be too easy and leave less room for corruption.

Wow....I am being very negative today. It's hot. That's my excuse.

EDH said...

Ink blots are fine.

It's the districts that look like cum stains that we have to do something about.

Virtually Unknown said...

I wonder where pure democracy is mentioned in a document that gives us the electoral college as an example?

Unknown said...

Here in Utah, we've done what the Wisconsin Dems wanted: we spread out our Republican voters so that every district is only moderately Republican.

Result? No Democrat members of Congress. You should hear the whining about that. But hey, Utah is like 67-70% Republican. Why should we have a Democrat member of Congress? And the Democrats their party do pick to run are clinically insane, half the time. Their current candidate that their party selected to run for Congress is a San Francisco style liberal. And they intend to run that person in the most conservative district in Utah.

And they'll whine and complain that they don't win. Gerrymandering! Well, no, it's because you guys think running a "kill your baby 5 minutes before birth/surrender to Islam and North Korea/taxes below 200000% are too low/government should run your life and be able to dictate doctrine to churches" person is a great idea. But that may well not be the kind of representative Utah is looking for.

--Vance

gregq said...

Ann asks:

Did the NYT not notice that the article is insane?


It's hard to notice insanity that matches one's own. A problem being demonstrated by the NYT here.

Mark said...

"Ann, the WI map looks completely un-gerrymandered to the naked eye."

You honestly think the 3rd Congressional district doesn't look gerrymandered?

gregq said...

AReasonableMan said...
The one person, one vote doctrine is the fundamental basis of democracy. Deviations from this ideal undermine democracy.

Ah! So not letting illegal immigrants vote is a "violation of democracy!"

So, how about Chinese people, living in China. Should they get to vote in WI elections, too?

Just curious.

But, in this case, so what? They got to vote. They got to vote with their neighbors. They only complaint the Democrats have is that they didn't get to go out and cancel out the votes of other people's neighbors.

Happily, there's not "fundmentaly principle of democracy" that grants such a "right".

gregq said...

AReasonableMan said...
Clearly the Republicans selected the districts to favor their own side, this is anti-democratic, just as it would be if Democrats had done the same thing.

The problem with that argument is that, back when the Democrats were doing most of the choosing, the Supreme Court rules against you on that.

And when you've filled your lawsuits against the IL, CA, and MD gerrymanders, we'll believe you actually MEAN that you're opposed to gerrymandering, rather than you're just opposed to it when Republicans do it

Jim Gust said...

"Did the NYT not notice that the article is insane? "

The NYT perfected the skill of doublethink decades ago. They can effortlessly advocate opposite ideas at the same time.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, the WI map looks completely un-gerrymandered to the naked eye. What are the political arcana the gentleman is concerned about?"

Packing Democrats into a smaller number of districts, beyond what would produce a safe Democratic district, such as 70% in a district where the line could have been drawn to put some of that 70% into a neighboring district that is 60% GOP. If the Democratic Party had been drawing the line, it would have lowered the 70% Democrats down to, say, 60% and put them in the neighboring district getting it to 50/50. Then the Democrats might win 2 districts instead of only one. Stuff like that. I'm stating it crudely, and it's a fine art, with sophisticate computer assistance.

There's packing and there's also cracking. Let's say there's an area that drawn one way would be 60% Democrats, but split up differently, you could put break them up and produce more GOP districts.

It's kind of self-limiting, because the parties proceed to compete in whatever district they've got, and to some extent both parties are colluding to create many safe seats, and then they can concentrate on fighting in a few places. But whichever party draws the map is going to try to rig it so that they win the would-be competitive district, but cracking out some of the opposing party and packing them into a district that was already safe. The cracked-out people are "wasted." (Sounds like I'm talking about drugs.)

Unknown said...

Won't someone think about the poor Democrats in Wyoming or North Dakota? They cannot complain about Gerrymandering, because their House district lines are the entire state, just like a Senator. So what's their excuse? Oh, wait, I forgot: The approved Democrat solution for Wyoming is to strip them of even their one House seat and give it to San Francisco, since according to them, a Wyoming voter counts more than a Californian, so we need to take away Wyoming's right to have a House seat.

--Vance

Ann Althouse said...

The Wisconsin map looks ungerrymandered because there are no weird shapes, but since Democrats reside more concentratedly in urban areas, you can pack a district by drawing a compact and regular shape.

The inkblot shapes have happened because of trying to connect 2 (or more) cities. This was done in the past few decades under pressure from the Justice Dept. in pursuit of "majority minority" districts. Because of the patterns of where people lived (either by choice or as a result of housing discrimination) you needed to go by cities, and (notably in North Carolina) the individual cities were sometimes not large enough to create a majority minority district and, under pressure from the federal govt, the state stretched to make districts out of 2 cities.

The key case is Shaw v. Reno.

The violation of Equal Protection there, however, is based on race discrimination, where courts apply strict scrutiny. The problem in the current case is about partisan gerrymandering, although there is an element of race embedded in that problem, because the urban Democrats we're talking about packing and "wasting" tend are members of minority groups.

Note that if the current case were to succeed and suppress that kind of packing, it would become a lot harder to have a majority minority district. You should see why the majority minority districts have hurt the Democratic Party in that they entail "wasting" Democratic votes.

gregq said...

Dust Bunny Queen said...
I'm up with the suggestion that the census not ask race or ethnicity, or at least not reveal this information for political purposes. Also the statistics should be mum on political affiliation. It should stick to the ORIGINAL purpose which is to enumerate (count) the number of people who live in a State in order to apportion Representatives to the House.

While I agree with you, that wouldn't accomplish any of what the Democrats want, and would not hamper gerrymandering at all.

You can get vote results down to the precinct level, and that's the main data the redistricters use

Ann Althouse said...

Note that some of the irregular-looking shapes are using rivers or mountains as boundaries, and these geographic features are traditional criteria for district drawing and make even more sense as neutral factors than straight lines and compactness.

TosaGuy said...

The current WI map was previously challenged and a ruling required two districts to be adjusted. The court found that Hispanics in Milwaukee were not properly clustered in the districts to the point they couldn't elect their own representative. Those adjustments were made.

So Dems sued because the districts were not clustered enough...now they are suing because they are too clustered.

So basically, this case is about imposing a Dem gerrymander over a GOP gerrymander. Not a particularly altruistic motive.

As an aside, the WI GOP first won their state majority in 2010 under the previous map -- perhaps the WI Dems (who ran the whole show prior to then) had governed better, then they would not have been destroyed at the ballot box in a census year and they would today find themselves more competitive.

Virtually Unknown said...

Think of the wasted votes in India and China just for starters!

TosaGuy said...

"Ann, the WI map looks completely un-gerrymandered to the naked eye. What are the political arcana the gentleman is concerned about?"

History of Wauwatosa (a purple Milwaukee suburb) in the WI state assembly.

1990s -- a city was a single district represented by Scott Walker.

2000s -- two districts that divide the city into east and west. East district attached to a Milwaukee Democrat and the west attached to a Brookfield Republican.

Current -- two seats that divide the city into north and south. Both spill into Brookfield and both seats are Republican.

So you can see under the three scenarios that only the 2000s approach is the one wanted by Democrats. Somehow in their eyes, the other two scenarios don't have any merit....because.....reasons.

Earnest Prole said...

You have it exactly right: Because Democrats concentrate their populations into relatively small geographic spaces compared with Republicans, it is they who can benefit most from the traditional gerrymandering of the sort described in the first part of the article.

Fernandinande said...

Promiscuous gerrymander found to use genes from three partners equally

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...Politicians would be fine with that, as long as they get to choose the neutral criteria. Neutral criteria can be hacked. Let them choose how heavily to favor existing political boundaries, roads, rivers, compactness, etc, and they will come up with something that is indistinguishable from the current Republican redistricting, or its Democrat converse.

The only neutral-ish system I can think of would be a "you slice, I pick" type of framework where the party with control of the state legislature could propose several redistricting plans and the party out of power would get to choose the one they want. The game theory on that doesn't help much, though, in a world where there's still recourse to sue in state and federal court--the roll-up solution would be for the party in power to give their preferred outcome as the least-radical of the choices and for the party out of power to reject and sue. You'd need some outside mechanism--a provision that negotiation could only go on for so long or if someone wanted to sue the lines would automatically be drawn by some "neutral" method, etc. That only helps a little, though, and probably there's no contractual way to prevent a federal lawsuit. It's a pickle.

TosaGuy said...

The other result of packing the Dems into tight districts is they elect the most extreme and partisan candidates they can find to represent their thought bubbles. The rhetoric and actions of these partisans is very off-putting to independents and less partisan voters outside of those districts.


Since the GOP districts are more ideologically diluted than the Dem districts, the WI Dems could revamp their platform to appeal to a broader electorate and whittle into the smaller margins for the GOP.

But that would require the current crop of elected Dems to change and adopt some positions not favored by those in their bubble.

So, basically it is the GOP's fault that the Dems are so partisan that they can't win.

Mike said...

Clearly the Republicans selected the districts to favor their own side, this is anti-democratic, just as it would be if Democrats had done the same thing.

That's how it works and how it has always worked. Oh wait! Except when Republicans do it, then suddenly it's wrong. Democrats have gerrymandered California to death to preserve their 90% share of state seats, by packing the "non-partisan" commission on redistricting. This the last advantage of the winners. This is the spoils system created by Democrats and I never hear you complain until the R's win, then you wake up and snort about unfairness. Go back to sleep.

TosaGuy said...

packing the "non-partisan" commission

There may be such a thing as no labels but there is no such thing as non-partisan.

Just as there is a lot of profit in non-profit, there is a lot of partisan in non-partisan. We just account for it differently.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...The inkblot shapes have happened because of trying to connect 2 (or more) cities. This was done in the past few decades under pressure from the Justice Dept. in pursuit of "majority minority" districts. Because of the patterns of where people lived (either by choice or as a result of housing discrimination) you needed to go by cities, and (notably in North Carolina) the individual cities were sometimes not large enough to create a majority minority district and, under pressure from the federal govt, the state stretched to make districts out of 2 cities.

Yeah, that's why we're laughing at the heartfelt insistence that the current set up is self-evidently evil and intolerable. The Court agreed with Dems and said things must be done a certain way to avoid being unconstitutionally racist, the states complied, that compliance resulted (possibly) in the loss of Democrat seats, and now the Dems are demanding that the Court change things back to the way the Dems insisted was clearly racist. Hey, things change! I'm sure I'm just to dumb to discern the subtle ways in which a real, unchanging principle is at stake and this seeming reversal isn't just a power play by the Dems. I'm gonna have to think deeply about that one.

Mike said...

This was done in the past few decades under pressure from the Justice Dept. in pursuit of "majority minority" districts...

The current system is unsustainable because of this, and because the VRA has resulted in courts saying race "must be" considered in creating districts, but NC plan was recently rejected for relying "too much" on race as a criteria. What a mess!

Even as liberal as voters can be here, please recall that in statewide referenda Californians overwhelmingly voted:

- NOT to use race at all in admissions to colleges and universities
- AGAINST endorsing gay marriage, instead APPROVING civil unions
- CREATION of a "non-partisan" commission to handle redistricting

And every single one except for the first example has been reversed, co-opted, and otherwise discarded by our ruling class.

n.n said...

Democracy is supposed to be representative. That's why Democrats cry foul whenever someone votes the right way.

n.n said...

No [class] diversity.
No congruence or selective exclusion.
Equal voice. Equal vote. Equal treatment.

every single one except for the first example has been reversed, co-opted, and otherwise discarded

By so-called "judges" with special and peculiar conflicts of interest.

Hagar said...

AReasonableMan said...
The one person, one vote doctrine is the fundamental basis of democracy. Deviations from this ideal undermine democracy.

Don't you mean, "The one identity, one vote doctrine is the fundamental doctrine of Democracy"?

Unknown said...

I think the Democrats ultimately want Lord Vetinari's belief, from Terry Pratchett. Lord Vetinari was a strong, strong believer in one man, one vote. He was the Man, he had the Vote.

Ultimately, that is the left's preferred solution. See: Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, Kim Jong Ill, Pol Pot, Ho Chi Minh, Adolf, Ceaușescu (Romania), Rafael Vicente Correa (Ecuador), Chavez/Maduro; Evita Peron, and on and on and on.

--Vance

Yancey Ward said...

ARM wrote:

"Clearly the Republicans selected the districts to favor their own side, this is anti-democratic, just as it would be if Democrats had done the same thing."

Some body politic has to decide- there is no escaping this. It is just as likely that a Democrat court will help Democrats as a Republican legislature helps Republicans. There are two reasons to leave it entirely to the legislatures- first they are most responsive to the people of the two for their decisions. Secondly, that is exactly what the Constitution demands.

Jeff Weimer said...

Redistricting *is* politics.

Even when done by "non-partisan" commissions like in California.

Sam L. said...

Of COURSE the NYT knows their argument is insane. That's why they printed it.

Yancey Ward said...

Bill Republic of Texas:

"Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts. We know how to do it. The politicians don't want to."

What is considered neutral criteria is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, almost all proposed neutral criteria I have seen cited still favor one party or the other, which isn't surprising and shouldn't be surprising to anyone. Which criteria is pushed by which party is, unsurprisingly, dependent on which party it favors, which just leaves you back where you began- the criteria chosen depends on who is in power in the legislature in question.

MayBee said...

Wait til someone looks at the shapes of the states.

John said...

Blogger n.n said...

Democracy is supposed to be representative. That's why Democrats cry foul whenever someone votes the right way.

Sure. But the United State is NOT and never was supposed to be a democracy so your point is kind of moot, isn't it?

John Henry

Fernandinande said...

Bill, Republic of Texas said...
Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts.


Poisson disk distributions, then Delaunay triangulation.

Maybe too French?

gregq said...

Yancey Ward said...
Bill Republic of Texas:

"Make them use computers with neutral criteria to draw districts. We know how to do it. The politicians don't want to."

What is considered neutral criteria is in the eye of the beholder. Indeed, almost all proposed neutral criteria I have seen cited still favor one party or the other

1: Geographically compact
2: Boundaries defined by physical (bodies of water, hills / mountains / cliffs, etc) or man made (freeways, railroads, highways) markers, or by political divisions (city lines, county lines, etc.).

Currently those neutral criteria "favor" Republicans. So? They're also the best neutral criteria, and the ones people have used over the centuries when separating good districts from corrupt ones.

The "wasted vote" "metric" is merely people starting at a conclusion "we want more elected Democrats", and working their way backwards.

Got any actual "neutral criteria" that don't currently "favor" Republicans?

Because, note to Democrats: The US Constitution doesn't guarantee you the results you want.

n.n said...

John:

I never suggested that it was or is. So, my point is an audit of a peculiar fervor that has framed our nation to favor a particular party. Also, it's a humorous play on words in a seminal semantic spirit.

eric said...

The Democrats are screwed as far as redistricting is concerned unless they can get the courts to have one rule in one place and another rule in another place.

If it's drawing squiggle lines, then what's wrong with what the Republicans are doing?

If it's just drawing boxes on maps until X number of the population is included, they're even more screwed. Why? Because Democrats live in heavily packed areas. Which means in some areas you'll have 90% Democrats while Republicans are spread out, you'll get a lot more areas with Republicans at 55%.

Milwaukie guy said...

Being ten years away from Chicago, I may be a bit off but I'm working and don't have time to research....

Most Chicago CDs radiate out from the center to take in swathes of first-ring suburbs. Even Luis Gutierrez's 4th CD, shaped like mickey mouse ears to take in the NW & SW Hispanic parts of Chicago, have to go all the way into the west burbs to avoid Danny Davis's AA CD.

I believe the Chicago/Illinois Dem machine really knows how to district. Too bad they're bankrupting the entire state.

Ray said...

The US is a Republic, not a democracy.

The power of computers has led to the ability to create safe districts. This has led to extremes on the right and left for elected officials.

Instapundit mentions how some state senates used to use counties, but this was found not fair. So now rural concerns, such as in Ca are ignored.

And the power of government employee unions has set up another nasty feedback loop.

As the US becomes more blended through inter marriage, the racial angle will change. Question is when and what will the impact be?

Gerrymandering is only part of the problem. I was hopeful Ca system would help, but it seems to have been bad as the old one.

rhhardin said...

I noticed when boarding MATS flights they load families first and the children spread out and contaminate the whole airplane.