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(The New York Times)   When the guy who beat Nate Silver's predictions in both 2008 and 2012 crunches the numbers and says we have a massive gerrymandering problem...we probably have a massive gerrymandering problem   (nytimes.com ) divider line
    More: Obvious, proprietary software, predictions, disfranchisements, RSLC, opposition groups  
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6813 clicks; posted to Politics » on 03 Feb 2013 at 12:01 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-02 09:25:04 PM  
In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was 51 percent Democratic, 49 percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and six Republicans. The actual outcome? Four Democrats, nine Republicans - a split that occurred in less than 1 percent of simulations. If districts were drawn fairly, this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur. 

I admit I'm no statistician or elections expert, but a casual glance at NC's district map says this is spot on:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-02-02 09:27:55 PM  

whistleridge: In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was 51 percent Democratic, 49 percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and six Republicans. The actual outcome? Four Democrats, nine Republicans - a split that occurred in less than 1 percent of simulations. If districts were drawn fairly, this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur. 

I admit I'm no statistician or elections expert, but a casual glance at NC's district map says this is spot on:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 404x297]


Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?
 
2013-02-02 09:33:05 PM  
Both sides may do it, but one side does it more often.

...so vote Republican. Because your representative is going to be one anyway.
 
2013-02-02 09:35:22 PM  
Their multimedia map identifies Arizona as the only state with a "severe imbalance in favor of Democrats."  Apparently, an independent commission creating 4 Republican districts, 2 Democratic districts, and 3 swing districts is too "pro-Democrat."

/Yes, Democrats won all three swing districts (1, 2, & 9) last year
//But only because the Democrats ran moderates while the Republicans ran far-right candidates
///Slashies come in threes
 
2013-02-02 09:36:29 PM  

ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?


No idea. But I DO know that the internal politics in this state went:

DEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEMDEM2010REDISTRICTINGGOPGOPGOP

Maybe if he'd written this article 3 years ago he'd have been lighting the Dems a new one for gerrymandering. I don't know for sure. I but  doknow he wouldn't EVER have been holding it up as an example of what fair and representative districting should be like. Yikes.
 
2013-02-02 10:13:49 PM  
Something something California. Something something CHICAGO!!
Both sides are bad.
 
2013-02-02 10:52:29 PM  

propasaurus: Something something California. Something something CHICAGO!!
Both sides are bad.



There is only one side.
 
2013-02-02 10:58:59 PM  

ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?


Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.
 
2013-02-02 11:14:52 PM  

GAT_00: ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?

Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.



Q: What do we call a minority that is in the majority?
A: A minority, obviously.
 
2013-02-02 11:15:28 PM  

Amos Quito: GAT_00: ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?

Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.


Q: What do we call a minority that is in the majority?
A: A minority, obviously.


You know damn well what I mean by that, don't be obtuse.
 
2013-02-02 11:44:27 PM  

Amos Quito: GAT_00: ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?

Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.


Q: What do we call a minority that is in the majority?
A: A minority, obviously.


Except in this case the House "majority" got 1.5 million fewer votes than the "minority"
 
2013-02-03 12:01:18 AM  
Arrange other boundaries to win close victories, "cracking" opposition groups into many districts.

Won't demographic shifts eventually cause this tactic to bite them in the ass?
 
2013-02-03 12:02:57 AM  
Jerry-mandering

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-02-03 12:10:21 AM  
Everyone knows this, but I like the Reps from my area, so this is an issue with those scumbags in (insert State Capital) and D.C.
 
2013-02-03 12:12:34 AM  

cameroncrazy1984: Amos Quito: GAT_00: ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?

Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.


Q: What do we call a minority that is in the majority?
A: A minority, obviously.

Except in this case the House "majority" got 1.5 million fewer votes than the "minority"



The people with little power want more power.
The people with lots of power want even more power.

Same old same old.

But I'm sure that progress can be made - if only we work harder on highlighting our differences and focusing on our division.
 
2013-02-03 12:12:48 AM  
No wonder Congress has such a low approval rating. It doesn't represent anything other than a power grab.
 
2013-02-03 12:13:37 AM  
i.imgur.com

Many Republicans are assholes.
 
2013-02-03 12:15:11 AM  
Why do you still let political parties pick the boundries of the voting districts?  Oh yea, because Socialism... Carry on, and get what you've earned.
 
2013-02-03 12:19:17 AM  
How does one "beat" an accurate prediction?
 
2013-02-03 12:20:02 AM  

propasaurus: Something something California. Something something CHICAGO!!
Both sides are bad.


Yes. But if the ratio of bad effects is 7:1 between the two, one is far worse than the other. Especially that 7 is pretty all that stands between them and being a rump party.
 
2013-02-03 12:21:03 AM  
Your political party is dying.  Do you:

A) Initiate a conversation within the party and with the public at large to explore ways to adapt to a changing nation while staying committed to core values? or,

2) Manipulate the system in any way possible - including changing the rules of that system - to keep the moribund corpse technically alive for one more election cycle?

I don't think Republicans have even considered the first option.  Their default setting is to resort to trickery.
 
2013-02-03 12:23:30 AM  
Taking stock of the Republican death march towards irrelevancy is not especially useful.

You can paper over actual losses for a while but eventually the math just sort of works itself out.
 
2013-02-03 12:23:40 AM  

Lionel Mandrake: Your political party is dying.  Do you:

A) Initiate a conversation within the party and with the public at large to explore ways to adapt to a changing nation while staying committed to core values? or,

2) Manipulate the system in any way possible - including changing the rules of that system - to keep the moribund corpse technically alive for one more election cycle?

I don't think Republicans have even considered the first option.  Their default setting is to resort to trickery.


Of course it's #2. They're reactionary fascists. #1 is literally not possible for the Republican party as it stands.
 
2013-02-03 12:25:15 AM  
Wait,HOW did this person supposedly "beat Nate Silver" in ANYTHING?
 
2013-02-03 12:32:12 AM  

PlasticMoby: Wait,HOW did this person supposedly "beat Nate Silver" in ANYTHING?


Sam Wang's analyses using similar but slightly different statistical methods to Nate Silver provided incrementally better results than Nate's. Anyone trying to set up any sort of competition or rivalry there, of course, is full of shiat; they are aware of each others' work and have mutual respect (and, like any good scientists, trade and compare notes and results).
 
2013-02-03 12:33:54 AM  

Teufelaffe: How does one "beat" an accurate prediction?


By being slightly more accurate.
 
2013-02-03 12:34:24 AM  

A Dark Evil Omen: Lionel Mandrake: Your political party is dying.  Do you:

A) Initiate a conversation within the party and with the public at large to explore ways to adapt to a changing nation while staying committed to core values? or,

2) Manipulate the system in any way possible - including changing the rules of that system - to keep the moribund corpse technically alive for one more election cycle?

I don't think Republicans have even considered the first option.  Their default setting is to resort to trickery.

Of course it's #2. They're reactionary fascists. #1 is literally not possible for the Republican party as it stands.


OneBrightMonkey: Taking stock of the Republican death march towards irrelevancy is not especially useful.

You can paper over actual losses for a while but eventually the math just sort of works itself out.


On the contrary - taking stock of their traumatic decay is very useful, not just for historical reflection, but also for writing the backstory for the Tea Party MMORPG I'm developing.
 
2013-02-03 12:41:02 AM  
1) Yes, the Republicans are pulling stupid stuff, and getting more districts because of it.  (See: Michigan)
2) Democrats nationally concentrate heavily into large cities, and thus naturally gerrymander themselves. (See Michigan after removing Detroit (80+% Democrat) and Detroit suburbs (5 of the 6 D districts)).
3) A 51-49 electorate, evenly distributed, produces a 100-0 legislature.  Small changes make big waves.  (See how much Nate Silver's predictions wavered based on a couple of percentage points in the vote).
4) (This one assumes that you're about 25) Fark is about 80D - 20R.  In fact, since the average parent/grandparent (depending on your generation) doesn't use Fark/Reddit etc, the internet chat rooms as a whole are fairly young and liberal.  Saying "Everyone I know votes Democrat.  How did the Republican win?" is missing the point.  Your parents and grandparents vote too.  In fact, since they actually vote more often than your friends, the grandparent vote counts more than your generation's vote.  (Note that this is not the same thing as "Silent Majority".  They do get polled (a lot since they still actually have landlines), they just don't poll themselves on Fark.)

/ex-MI resident.  11th is iffy (namely the lulz of the last election were lulzy, and I would not be surprised if it flipped in 2012 if the Democrats decided to play moderate), 5th is fairly BS (since it's all the manufacturing towns along I-75 clumped into one district), and the 1st has flipped before and will flip again.  So out of 15 districts, 1 crazy district, 1 terrible gerrymander, and 1 swing.
//Detroit-area districts are are nutters as well, but since they're all D, it doesn't actually do anything for the Republicans.
 
2013-02-03 12:44:17 AM  

Amos Quito: GAT_00: ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?

Those districts are designed to be minority-majority districts.  I'd wager that district is somewhere over 80% African-American.  That is not the intended use of that, and to pretend otherwise is simply dishonest.


Q: What do we call a minority that is in the majority?
A: A minority, obviously.


In this case, it's called packing.

Did the NC republicans call this particular redistricting...Packing Fudge?

/yes, I went there
//Window seat please
///And 3 slashies for the wide stance!~
 
2013-02-03 12:48:14 AM  

meyerkev: 1) Yes, the Republicans are pulling stupid stuff, and getting more districts because of it.  (See: Michigan)


Okay...

2) Democrats nationally concentrate heavily into large cities, and thus naturally gerrymander themselves. (See Michigan after removing Detroit (80+% Democrat) and Detroit suburbs (5 of the 6 D districts)).

So? That representation is distributed to land and not people is a problem. A problem gerrymandering makes worse. This only helps point out how bad a problem this is.

3) A 51-49 electorate, evenly distributed, produces a 100-0 legislature.  Small changes make big waves.  (See how much Nate Silver's predictions wavered based on a couple of percentage points in the vote).

That assumes the worst implemented FPTP system ever. A 51-49 electorate should produce something close to a 51-49 legislature. This only helps point out how bad a problem this is.

4) (This one assumes that you're about 25) Fark is about 80D - 20R.  In fact, since the average parent/grandparent (depending on your generation) doesn't use Fark/Reddit etc, the internet chat rooms as a whole are fairly young and liberal.  Saying "Everyone I know votes Democrat.  How did the Republican win?" is missing the point.  Your parents and grandparents vote too.  In fact, since they actually vote more often than your friends, the grandparent vote counts more than your generation's vote.  (Note that this is not the same thing as "Silent Majority".  They do get polled (a lot since they still actually have landlines), they just don't poll themselves on Fark.)

And this is relevant how? I'd say it was a strawman argument since no one has said anything of the sort, but it's completely orthogonal to the discussion at hand (unless this is somehow supposed to explain why a significant Democratic voting majority should of course lead to a significant Republican representative majority, in which case... how does that follow?).
 
2013-02-03 12:58:24 AM  
That nc district is the twelfth. It is designed to ensure minority representation. Republicans have turned that mandate into an advantage by concentrating huge numbers of black voters into a single district. Mel watt wins with eighty percent of the vote every cycle and republicans win the surrounding districts with smaller margins. A district watt could win by sixty would mean three other districts become competitive or even bluish.
 
2013-02-03 01:08:35 AM  
In the seven states where Republicans redrew the districts, 16.7 million votes were cast for Republicans and 16.4 million votes were cast for Democrats. This elected 73 Republicans and 34 Democrats.
 
2013-02-03 01:09:17 AM  

Teufelaffe: How does one "beat" an accurate prediction?


That was my question.

2008: 49/50
2012 50/50

He doesn't really make predictions, but rather colors a state blue or red based on which candidate has the highest probability of winning according to his models.
 
2013-02-03 01:12:41 AM  

ariseatex: Isn't that one of the VRA-mandated Black-majority districts?


There's one like that in Illinois. Dems get their minority guarantee and the Republicans get the surrounding areas. Everyone wins, right?
 
2013-02-03 01:27:53 AM  

Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: Teufelaffe: How does one "beat" an accurate prediction?

By being slightly more accurate.


Nate: My model says Blort will win Ohio District 6 by 2.9%.
Sam: Well my model says Blort by 2.7%.
News: Blort wins Dist. 6 by 2.6%.
Sam: Hahaha!
 
2013-02-03 01:47:07 AM  
I can't believe America

Do you really want to live in a country where politicians have to raise millions of dollars to win election, with the obvious corruption connection?

Do you really think it's ok to cheat to win?
 
2013-02-03 01:54:47 AM  

mjjt: I can't believe America

Do you really want to live in a country where politicians have to raise millions of dollars to win election, with the obvious corruption connection?

Do you really think it's ok to cheat to win?


This is Murika!!!!

A surprising number of people here have no issue with this, even when spelled out in the way you just stated.

/We're a bunch of damned morons here.
 
2013-02-03 02:03:31 AM  
In other words, the only reason that the republican party is still at all relevant.
 
2013-02-03 02:05:04 AM  

A Dark Evil Omen: PlasticMoby: Wait,HOW did this person supposedly "beat Nate Silver" in ANYTHING?

Sam Wang's analyses using similar but slightly different statistical methods to Nate Silver provided incrementally better results than Nate's. Anyone trying to set up any sort of competition or rivalry there, of course, is full of shiat; they are aware of each others' work and have mutual respect (and, like any good scientists, trade and compare notes and results).


Wang's been doing it a little longer.  Believe it or not, his model was actually right in 2004 as well.  Wang thought that the model couldn't possibly be correct, and predicted a Kerry victory.
 
2013-02-03 02:13:32 AM  

Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: Teufelaffe: How does one "beat" an accurate prediction?

By being slightly more accurate.


"I am on planet Earth."
"I am in St. Louis."

Both are accurate, but one is more precise.
 
2013-02-03 02:33:16 AM  

Don't Troll Me Bro!: mjjt: I can't believe America

Do you really want to live in a country where politicians have to raise millions of dollars to win election, with the obvious corruption connection?

Do you really think it's ok to cheat to win?

This is Murika!!!!

A surprising number of people here have no issue with this, even when spelled out in the way you just stated.

/We're a bunch of damned morons here.


Well just looking in from the outside, it seems America has shifted from "We can do this bc it's morally right" to "We can do this bc there's no law against it (according to our high-priced attorney)"

And this seems to have taken place at the same time as the rise of the Religious Right and their GOP supporters.

And scariest bit is way rest of world follows US practices a few years later ...
 
2013-02-03 02:39:37 AM  
Texas 28th Congressional District:
static.usnews.com

econintersect.com
 
2013-02-03 02:42:53 AM  
I don't get what the Republican Party is thinking by this. Eventually they will lose in spite of their shenanigans then their gerrymandering will be undone and at that point, they are truly done as a political party.
 
2013-02-03 02:45:21 AM  
Mulled this over for my blog a couple days ago (here if you're interested), and I ended up looking at things from a slightly different angle.

Basically, the practice isn't going away. It's been here since BEFORE Congress was instituted, before even Elbridge Gerry- when Virginia was setting up their districts for the first Congress, Patrick Henry- the same guy from "give me liberty or give me death" asked the people in charge of drawing the maps to put his political enemy, James Madison, in the same district as James Monroe. (The move failed; Madison won.) The party in power is rarely if ever going to move to limit their own power, the party out of power isn't in a position to do jack shiat, and split control means everyone just shakes hands and agrees to secure safety for as many incumbents as possible, starting with the most powerful ones.

So I think looking at what might be a fairer system is largely a waste of time.

Instead, I'm interested in finding out gerrymandering's mathematical limits. As in, through gerrymandering, one can turn 49% into 50+1%. One can turn 48% into 50+1%. But what about 47%? 46%? 45%? Can you do it at 39%? 29%? 19%? Surely not at 9%, right? Where, exactly, is the line at which no amount of map redrawing is going to be able to secure a majority without running up against the Voting Rights Act? Where's the line at which it is no longer mathematically possible to do at all? Does the line move when voters are geographically arranged this way? Or that way? Or this other way? I know we have the technology to figure this out.
 
2013-02-03 02:49:40 AM  

mjjt: /We're a bunch of damned morons here.

Well just looking in from the outside, it seems America has shifted from "We can do this bc it's morally right" to "We can do this bc there's no law against it (according to our high-priced attorney)"

And this seems to have taken place at the same time as the rise of the Religious Right and their GOP supporters.


They're on a mission from God.
 
2013-02-03 03:55:52 AM  

Befuddled: I don't get what the Republican Party is thinking by this.


they're not. at least not long term. short term thinking is what they do.
 
2013-02-03 03:58:37 AM  
Ignorant foreigner here ...

i560.photobucket.com

What if someone started one of those "white house petition" thingies, and asked for, say, a law against districts with concave shapes? Could that lead to a solution?

Also, a random image related to the topic:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-02-03 04:10:16 AM  
If this was legitimate gerrymandering, the state body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.
 
2013-02-03 04:11:43 AM  

Ed Finnerty: If this was legitimate gerrymandering, the state body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.


nice...
 
2013-02-03 04:12:02 AM  
Common sense alone tells you that gerrymandering is bad. Good luck fixing it.
 
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