Friday, December 14, 2012

Maddow Blog on Gerrymandering and GOP Minority Control of House

As a quick postscript to the end-of-week news roundup I just posted, with its commentary about how the Republican party continues to exercise considerable control over the political life of the U.S. even as a minority party, Will Ferris's graphic presentation at the Maddow Blog of how gerrymandering facilitates GOP minority control is extremely helpful.  

As he notes, though over 5,000,000 500,000 more votes were cast nationwide for Democratic House candidates in the 2012 elections, the GOP retains a majority in that legislative body.  How can a minority party control a legislative body in which it has received fewer votes than the opposing party has gotten?  

By gerrymandering: using graphics, Ferris breaks down the statistics with a focus on key states:

1. In Michigan, where 2,327,985 votes were cast for Democratic House candidates and 2,806,804 for GOP candidates, Democrats got 5 seats and Republicans 9.

2. In Wisconsin, there were 1,443,190 Democratic House votes and 1,399,871 Republican House votes.  But the GOP received 5 seats to Democrats' two seats.

3. In Virginia, Democrat House votes numbered 1,806,025 and GOP votes were 1,876,871, but the Republicans hold 8 seats and the Democrats 3.

4. In Pennsylvania, where 2,794,078 Democrat House votes were cast, 2,710,070 GOP votes were cast, but Republicans got 13 seats to Democrats' 5 seats.

5. In Ohio, there 2,307,973 votes for Democratic House candidates and 2,549,546 GOP votes, but Republicans ended up with 12 seats and Democrats with 4.

And with Republican domination of many state legislatures and governors' offices, the situation of gerrymandered minority control at the level of the House of Representatives isn't expected to change anytime soon, since it's the state legislatures, with the support of the governors' offices, that redistrict boundaries.

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