Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Its not about voting; it is about where you live

A great article to go along with this week's reading is linked below.  From the article:

“Our pitch document said, look, there are 25 true swing congressional districts,” Jankowski told me as we sat in the conference room of his Richmond offices. “We went back to those races from 2002 to 2008, and we found that $115 million had been spent on those 25 congressional races. All hard dollars. We had a graphic on the screen: 115 million hard dollars or $20 million in soft and we can fix it. We can take control of these 25 districts. We can take them off the table.” They called their project REDMAP.
Jankowski’s foresight wasn’t the only factor in the GOP’s ensuing control of Congress. The party was also able to take advantage of massive new amounts of public data drawn from social media that allowed them to pinpoint likely voters with more accuracy than ever before, and advances in mapping technology that made it possible to redraw districts precisely around the location of those voters.
The result: The gerrymander of 2011 built such a firewall around GOP control of the House that when Barack Obama was reelected in 2012, Democratic congressional candidates earned 1.4 million more votes than Republicans, but the GOP retained a 234-201 majority.

1.4 million votes more for Democrats? 

The GOP’s House Seats Are Safe. Here’s Why. -- NYMag


  1. This is exactly the type of thing we were discussing in class, regarding the difficulty in classifying "fairness" in politics. Because technically, the REDMAP plan must have been legal, despite the fact that it seems so blatantly illegal, or at the very least dishonest. Personally, I don't really identify as a Democrat or a Republican, so I think I'm fairly unbiased when I say: How could you possibly call it a fair system when the Democrats got 1.4 million more votes than Republicans and yet the Republicans maintained a significant majority. That seems crooked to me.

  2. I actually think Michigan is a perfect example of gerrymandering as we also discussed in class. We live in a state that hasn't voted Republican in the presidential election since 1988 and consistently has higher democratic turnouts with the exception of Rick Snyder's election. With voter turnouts that usually have democrats ahead by the hundreds of thousands, how are 9 of Michigan's 14 District Representatives Republican?
    Gerrymandering is obviously bad and it occurs on both sides, but it's difficult to see an alternative system being proposed in the near future. It's frustrating that our town of Kalamazoo is diluted by being adding into the Southwest portion of Michigan and it really does seem like my vote doesn't matter in many cases.