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Gerrymandering in Wisconsin

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Walter, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Walter

    Walter Administrator Staff Member

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    How comes that in a state where the Democrats have 50% of the votes the Republicans have 65% of the seats? To gain control of the State Assembly, the authors of a study estimate, Wisconsin Democrats would have to beat Republicans by 8 to 10 points, a margin rarely achieved in statewide elections by either party.

    Now the United States Supreme Court is trying to understand how that happened.

    Gerrymandering today works highly effective, supported by sophisticated software. In a gerrymandered map, you concentrate opposing voters in a few districts where you lose big, and win the rest by modest margins. Software helps to generate thousands of maps to find the right one.

    Detailled study: https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.01596
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/opinion/sunday/computers-gerrymandering-wisconsin.html
     
  2. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    A game played by both sides for as long as there have been sides.
     
  3. Walter

    Walter Administrator Staff Member

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    And you don't think that the US election system is flawed?
     
  4. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    Politics are flawed. As power ebbs and flows this evens out. As it's all based on census data which is only collected every ten years the effect is muted.
     
  5. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    False as usual. The Repugnant ones created a computer program that allowed them to manipulate the boundaries of the district so they maintained power, and guaranteed them a win.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/...urge-supreme-court-to-end-gerrymandering.html

    "The Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee all filed briefs on the other side. They urged the Supreme Court to reject a challenge to State Assembly districts in Wisconsin that, by some measures, gave Republicans outsize political power unjustified by the overall vote.

    Charles Fried, a Harvard law professor who served as United States solicitor general under President Ronald Reagan, and who is among the lawyers representing Republican politicians urging the Supreme Court to reject extreme political gerrymanders, said it was important to take the long view and to act on principle.

    “It’s not a partisan issue,” he said. “We are working for our republic, and not for Republicans.”

    Partisan gerrymandering is almost as old as the nation, and both parties have used it. But in recent years, as Republicans captured state legislatures around the country, they have been the primary beneficiaries. Aided by sophisticated software, they have drawn oddly shaped voting districts to favor their party’s candidates.

    In the 1980s, when Democrats had more political power in state legislatures, they were enthusiastic proponents of partisan gerrymandering, Mr. Simpson, the former Wyoming senator, said."
     
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  6. Walter

    Walter Administrator Staff Member

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  7. dogtowner

    dogtowner Moderator Staff Member

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    It's a silly process. I think maybe fixed squares is best. 16 sq mile blocks and however many live there matters not.
     
  8. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    It's almost like Democrats are surprised that partisan state legislatures draw districts to favor their partisan interests (never mind that Democrats have been doing that for years themselves)....good thing we have a Judge who made that clear for us!

    The concept of an "independent commission" to draw boundaries is simply stupid. Who in their right mind believes that will not be political too? But wait! This issue is before the Supreme Court - our bastion of independent non-partisan thought....and yet we can all predict with near certainty how the vote will go on highly charged political issues...

    Let's let our political processes be....political.
     
  9. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, everyone for generations has used "gerrymandering". The difference is that the Republicans through the use of computer programming have been able to set up voting districts that give them an advantage, and also prevent others from voting.

    https://www.salon.com/2016/11/22/un...ikes-down-wisconsins-gop-drawn-redistricting/

    http://uproxx.com/news/gerrymandering-north-carolina-congressional-districts-federal-court/
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
  10. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    "Gerrymandering" doesn't "prevent" people from voting...

    That aside, the argument seems to amount to "Now that Republicans got better at it, gerrymandering is a real problem!"

    There is never going to be a "non-partisan" way to draw district maps.
     
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  11. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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    Well, not as long as the Repugnant ones have control. However, it is obvious you didn't read the articles I posted or else you would not sound so ignorant.


    And yes Robbie, gerrymandering can be used to prevent others from voting.
     
  12. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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    "Repugnant" ones...you are so clever!

    I read them.

    Please clarify this statement.
     
  13. Old_Trapper70

    Old_Trapper70 Well-Known Member

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  14. BigRob

    BigRob Well-Known Member

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  15. Lagboltz

    Lagboltz Well-Known Member

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    These days artificial intelligence is a trend that's gaining popularity in the press. Rather than a political party designing a computer program to optimize their gerrymandering, how about a computer program to optimize "fairness" in districting.

    Of course the difficult idea of fairness has to be defined, and there is also the possibility that there somehow would be a partisan slant slipped into the program, but at least it's one step removed from a single party in charge of the whole thing.

    Of course this AI idea will never happen because the party in power will want to keep things the way they are.
     
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