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Posts Tagged ‘Gerrymandering’

My mechanic told me “I couldn’t fix your brakes, so I made your horn louder.”
  —  Steven Wright
[Without any significant accomplishments (which the majority of Americans actually supported) during his first two years as President, #IncompetentDonald chose to use the mid-term elections campaign to spread hate and fear.  The results were a (not surprising) repudiation of the President where the number of Americans voting against Republicans increased from three million votes (Trump vs. Hilary popular vote loss count) to over six million (nationwide total – see image below) in the House and twelve million (nationwide total) in the Senate.  It is only the fact that Republicans outnumber Democrats in States with smaller populations which has allowed them to retain control of the Senate.  In the United States, each State gets two Senators irrespective of the State’s population.  The House, on the other hand, gets Districts assigned based on populations with a minimum of one.  Some of the States with smaller populations (Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming) only have one Representative (called “at large”) with their “District” being the entire State.  The Senate is “inherently” less “democratic” for the nation by design.  Additionally, by only having one-third of its members up for re-election in any given election, it is also “inherently” more moderating (i.e. “conservative”) in representing the overall population of both the State and the nation.  (The Senate is the “brake” in this metaphor.)  Because the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election each election period, the House tends to reflect the political swings in the electorate more quickly and more radically – direction and degree – when the country is shouting “Stop” or “Speed-up”.  (The House is the “horn”.)

Image showing Democratic nationwide vote difference in 2018

Democratic nationwide vote difference in 2018

Of course, the comparison of vote totals above – numbers for President, House and Senate – are comparing apples to oranges to bananas.  And / but, they also do NOT take into account the significant gerrymandering done as of the 2010 census, which heavily tilted the House Districts in favor of the Republicans.  This makes the wins by the Democrats even MORE impressive!  It remains to be seen if those changes will remain when we go back into a Presidential turnout.  It also highlights the importance of Democrats working at the State level to regain control of as many State governorships and legislatures as possible heading into the next (2020) census and subsequent House redistricting.  The number of seats is controlled at the Federal level, but the actual redrawing of the Districts is done by the individual States.
This last part, the census and the redistricting is why it is vitally important for the electorate (the voters) to stay active during the run-up to 2020 (the census) and then immediately after through 2022, when the redistricting will normally occur.  In other words, you (voters seeking to make a progressive difference) can’t go to sleep between now and 2022 or the Republicans can continue and increase their relative positions through 2032.   By the way, the gerrymander is not (by any means) unique to the Republicans.  The Democrats have also used it to protect their seats.  The difference is the modern day use of computers to track voters and then specifically target the isolation of opposition voters to maximize their count while minimizing their effect.  For example, one State (Pennsylvania) had 51% of the vote (Democrats), but seated 5 out of 18 Districts (28% of the House seats) in 2012 because Republicans controlled the State legislature.  So, a word to the wise…  If you want to keep the house after 2020, stay awake and stay active!
Finally, for an excellent explanation of Gerrymandering, please read the linked article:  “This is the best explanation of gerrymandering you will ever see“, which appeared in the Washington Post a few years back.  I re-read it every year to remind myself of what is at stake.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
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2016 Marriage Advice
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2014 Ssshhush, You Are Not Alone
2013 So I Chose Living…
2012 For However Short A Time…
2011 Take A Deep Breath And Continue (Or Not)
2010 Tootsie-Roll Day

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So, was there a “BLUE” wave?  You decide…

Image of chart showing elections where Democrats made gains in the House of Representatives

Elections since 1976 where Democrats have gained seats in the House of Representatives

Of course, the image (above) ONLY shows the years with “net” gains – and this year is the largest numeric increase for the Democrats since 1976.  The chart does not show the years 1980, 1984, 1992, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2014, and 2016 where the Democrats had net losses nor the magnitude of those losses.  (Pretty significant losses in 1994 and 2010.)

Image of Popular Vote Last 6 of 7 Presidential Elections

Trends for Republicans to worry about…

What should be more troubling to the Republicans is that the second image (just above) shows in Presidential elections, the Democratic candidate received the majority of the “popular” vote in six of the last seven elections.  In 2000, George W. Bush became president (like Trump in 2016) because of the Electoral College, NOT because he received the majority of the individual votes by Americans.  And, in “W’s” case, Republicans won only because the Supreme Court stopped the recount in Florida while “W” had the lead.
It is (IMHO) extremely unlikely there will be any Constitutional change to the Electoral College system and the House (i.e. the States) is sooooo gerrymandered it is unlikely the moneyed party (the Republicans) will lose many of the plains and mid-west States without another major financial / economic collapse (like at the end of Bush’s term: 2008).  The “hope” of a demographics shift is “always” there as a forecast on the horizon, but it never seems to be the super-storm which reaches shore.  Finally, I have read projections of upwards of ten House seats being “flipped” due to the 2020 census.  So having (and holding) governorships and state houses coming out of 2020 will be critical for the next decade’s elections, too.
The work is just beginning folks…  Take a deep breath and then get ready to get back to the grindstone.  Democracy still has some catching up to do in this Republic.
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On This Day In:
2017 The Promise At Risk
2016 Or As Will Come In Time
2015 It Is Another Beautiful Day At The Red Pony Bar And Continual Soiree…
2014 Days And Years
2013 Currency And Transport
2012 Something Which Did Not Exist Before
2011 True Magic

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Let me see if I’ve got this straight:  Back in the 1990’s a Republican came up with an alternative to “Hillary Health Care” (aka: “Socialized Medicine“), which was promoted by a conservative think tank (the Heritage Foundation), and which was tested in the real world by a Republican Governor (Mitt Romney in Massachusetts).  This same health plan was adopted by a Democratic Presidential candidate, who was elected.  The health care law was passed by both houses of Congress in March of 2010 (over three and a half years ago), with a phased implementation so the market place (and States) would have time to set it up in an orderly fashion.  The law was signed by the President and later approved by the Supreme Court (as Constitutional).
In 2010, Republicans took advantage of an off-year election (that is, no President running for office) to use (normally) low turnout to take over some state houses, most governorships and the House of Representatives.  Locally, they ran the advertised message as “Jobs, jobs, jobs!” and Republicans know how to “put people back to work”; their real promise was to make “this” President a failure and defeat him in his re-election.
Since 2010, the House has made NO effort to introduce ANY jobs bills, but has voted over 40 times to repeal “Obamacare”.  The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare” is the signature piece of legislation to come out of President Obama’s first term in office.
In 2012, the sitting President was re-elected specifically running a pro-health care campaign with a five million vote majority (5,000,000) against an opponent who pledged to introduce a bill to overturn Obamacare his first day in office.  The House was retained by the Republicans by virtue of controlling a majority of state houses and thereby “gerrymandering” their districts so traditionally Republican districts were even more biased, yet if you totaled all the votes for all seats for the House, they “lost” the popular vote by over five hundred thousand (500,000) votes.  The Republicans DID lose seats, just not enough to lose the majority.  The Democrats picked up seven (7) seats, but they needed twenty-five to turn over control of the House.  By the way, the Democrats also picked up two (2) seats in the Senate.  Statewide voting for Senators is not subject to gerrymandering by the state legislatures and governors because each state is only allowed two seats.
Please watch the following opinion piece on what is happening regarding the current government shutdown and what it means to be a “conservative” in today’s Republican party…
— The video is from YouTube, but originally appeared on: “The Cycle” on MSNBC with Krystral Ball, who is one of the four hosts.
Romney/Ryan ran on a budget proposal which would have “slashed” the budget to a level ($967 Billion) which the nation soundly rejected.  “Soundly” here refers to the Electoral College landslide (332 vs 206), not the actual popular vote which was “only” 3% (five million votes) in favor of President Obama.
The column on the far left ($1203) is what the President’s budget asked for.  The column on the far right is the “Ryan Budget” proposal ($967).  The column next to it, second from the right, is the amount the Democratically controlled Senate is willing to pass as part of a “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR, $986).  Now, seriously, does this look like the Democrats are unwilling to negotiate?  Or, does it look like the Democrats have already capitulated and are willing to accept that even when you win an election, you still don’t get to run the country the way the people voted?
 — Image is from the MSNBC show: “Chris Hayes, All In
The next time you hear the “the American people” have spoken and we don’t want Obamacare or the Democrats don’t want to negotiate or that elections have consequences, understand the truth.  We The People have already decided in two Presidential elections and two of three House elections that we DO want the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and as far as the budget goes, there’s not much more to negotiate because we’ve already surrendered the whole pie to the Republicans.  Don’t look behind the curtain because the powers that be are getting what they want regardless of how We The People voted.
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On This Day In:
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2011 What It Is All About
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