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How Michigan Turned Blue in '22--by ending gerrymandering

JSRG

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The problem I see here is that it declares something is "fair" if it reflects the voting tendencies as a whole. But that's not the point of districts. The points of districts is that different areas of the state get people who are elected by that group as their representative to represent their interests. That may or may not reflect the overall state population's feelings, but the point isn't to try to do it according to the state's general thoughts.

For an example, let's suppose that a state is fairly uniformly 52% Democrat 48% Republican. Maps drawn in a "normal", non-gerrymandering fashion would typically result in 100% of the races going to Democrats. You'd have to actually gerrymand in order to try to make the seats go in a manner similar to 52%/48%.

The goal of districts aren't to create proportional representation to begin with. I don't think, therefore, that one can say it's "unfair" or "gerrymandered" simply because the percentages of seats doesn't match up with the percentage of votes by the population (gerrymandering gives that result, of course, but again non-gerrymandered maps can do that too).

If the goal is proportional representation then just drop districts entirely and have people get elected by proportional representation.
 
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JSRG

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Wouldn't it make sense to....in the case of NC for example who has 9 districts....if the vote came out 51% Dem, 49% Rep....award the top 5 Democratic candidates the seats, and the top 4 Republicans the others?

That way everyone's vote counts.
That's how proportional representation works. Everyone just votes for their preferred party and then the seats are distributed among the parties based on what percentages they get. There are a few extra wrinkles--in some countries you technically vote for a person rather than a party, but that person is the representative of their party and thus it ends up the same. Also, typically there's some percentage that's required to get any seats in this (e.g. in New Zealand I think a party has to get 4% or higher to qualify for any seats).

There are definitely some advantages to this system, namely it obliterates gerrymandering and makes it reflect the general thoughts of the populace. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages. It makes politicians feel less like individuals because they're all just hand-picked by the party leader; you're not going to see many people who feel like more independent members of their party. And it also means that no one is actually representing the specific interests of your district. Thus some areas that have proportional representation (like the aforementioned New Zealand) have mixed member proportional representation; part of the legislature is elected like that of the US, in a district-based system where one person wins a district, and part of it is done via a separate proportional representation vote (so, when you go to vote, you vote for your preferred party for the proportional representation part, and have a separate vote for the person to represent your district).
 
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probinson

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Ah, so you think that extremely complex issues can be reduced to misleading soundbites?
The tragic flaw of most Republican voters.
Yeah, it's not "extremely complex". Democrats believe that if they lose elections, it's because something was "unfair". It's really no more complex than that. Quite simple, actually.

I'll add, Republicans aren't much better. No matter who wins or loses, it can't just be because they lost. No, it's because it's "unfair".

This is why I'm an independent. Democrats and Republicans are just two sides of the same corrupt coin.
 
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FenderTL5

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Thanks Fender,

I think you did a good job of explaining the goal. When I look at the first example of "fair" its something that looks comically bad. Campaigns can be done away with, candidates need not listen to voters, parties simply would select the candidate and 95% of voters can stay home....an almost farcical version of democracy.

The second fair example makes sense....and seems fair....unless you're actually one of the minority party voters in the opposite party's district. In which case, your vote will probably never ever matter.

And this is again "fair" because the same thing is happening in another district to voters of another party. In essence, a significant percentage of voters become disenfranchised long term.

Wouldn't it make sense to....in the case of NC for example who has 9 districts....if the vote came out 51% Dem, 49% Rep....award the top 5 Democratic candidates the seats, and the top 4 Republicans the others?

That way everyone's vote counts.
You're welcome.
The 1st example of "fair" is unrealistic to the point of utopian. Every GOP voter would be represented by a Republican and every democratic voter represented by a democrat. That will never happen.
The 2nd example is both fair and realistic.

What has happend in my state is more akin to gerrymandered example 1. There are more republicans in the state, this is reflected in votes for statewide office. The split is more 60/30, yet the congressional districts are drawn 8 to 1.
I live in the SW corner of Nashville/Davidson County. My representative, as of Tuesday's election, is from rural Maury County. My nieghbor, literally across the street, is now represented by someone else from a rural county outside of Nashville to the NW. Those living in the city have no representation at the federal level as of Tuesday. If the districts were drawn fairly, Nashville and Memphis would have at least one democrat representing them, with a couple more competitve districts nearby. Chatanooga and Knoxville would be near 50/50 toss up districts.
 
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FenderTL5

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The points of districts is that different areas of the state get people who are elected by that group as their representative to represent their interests. .
Okay, so perhaps you can explain why the most populous area in our state, which is mostly urban/suburban and votes heavily democratic should be divided into three districts represented by 3 rural republicans.
 
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Ana the Ist

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The problem I see here is that it declares something is "fair" if it reflects the voting tendencies as a whole. But that's not the point of districts. The points of districts is that different areas of the state get people who are elected by that group as their representative to represent their interests. That may or may not reflect the overall state population's feelings, but the point isn't to try to do it according to the state's general thoughts.

For an example, let's suppose that a state is fairly uniformly 52% Democrat 48% Republican. Maps drawn in a "normal", non-gerrymandering fashion would typically result in 100% of the races going to Democrats. You'd have to actually gerrymand in order to try to make the seats go in a manner similar to 52%/48%.

Why would 100% of candidates go Democrat? Are you assuming every district would be 52%/48%?

The goal of districts aren't to create proportional representation to begin with. I don't think, therefore, that one can say it's "unfair" or "gerrymandered" simply because the percentages of seats doesn't match up with the percentage of votes by the population (gerrymandering gives that result, of course, but again non-gerrymandered maps can do that too).

If the goal is proportional representation then just drop districts entirely and have people get elected by proportional representation.

Which was my suggestion in my last post....there's little need for district lines except after the election.
 
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Ana the Ist

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You're welcome.
The 1st example of "fair" is unrealistic to the point of utopian. Every GOP voter would be represented by a Republican and every democratic voter represented by a democrat. That will never happen.
The 2nd example is both fair and realistic.

That's funny....I don't imagine it as utopian. I think it's a farcical democracy. Over time, I imagine that the candidate would be selected by the party....and elected while being basically unknown to the voters. The opposition party won't waste time in a district they cannot win....and without competition, there's no need to campaign for the majority party either.

What has happend in my state is more akin to gerrymandered example 1. There are more republicans in the state, this is reflected in votes for statewide office. The split is more 60/30, yet the congressional districts are drawn 8 to 1.
I live in the SW corner of Nashville/Davidson County. My representative, as of Tuesday's election, is from rural Maury County. My nieghbor, literally across the street, is now represented by someone else from a rural county outside of Nashville to the NW. Those living in the city have no representation at the federal level as of Tuesday. If the districts were drawn fairly, Nashville and Memphis would have at least one democrat representing them, with a couple more competitve districts nearby. Chatanooga and Knoxville would be near 50/50 toss up districts.

What do you think of my suggestion?

You could draw districts after the election....have a larger pool of candidates competing against their own party....and draw district lines so a critical mass of voters are represented by the correct party.
 
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FenderTL5

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That's funny....I don't imagine it as utopian...
perhaps I should have said dystopian? :)
I only meant it in the sense that every person, 100%, would be represented by their view.

I'm still giving your suggestion a think. So far, it would seem reasonable.
 
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JSRG

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Why would 100% of candidates go Democrat? Are you assuming every district would be 52%/48%?
If a state is uniformly 52% Democrat/48% Republican throughout, then however you set up the districts you'd end up Democrats winning every election. That's how district systems work. This is obviously an extreme example but my point is that to say that it's silly to claim that "fair" districts produce representation proportionate to the voting habits of the general state population is to ignore the fact that in such a case, fair districts wouldn't do so. Districts aren't supposed to do that--they can do it, but it's not the goal.

Not to say, of course, that gerrymandering can't be used to make sure that it doesn't match the percentage. But I don't think fair/unfair should be judged simply on whether it's proportional or not when that's not the purpose of districts and even, as I pointed out in my example, totally fair districts can result in totally different proportions.

If the goal is to be proportional, then ditch districts entirely and just do straight proportional representation.
 
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FenderTL5

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If a state is uniformly 52% Democrat/48% Republican throughout, then however you set up the districts you'd end up Democrats winning every election..
I think you have misunderstood. In your example, a state with a 52/48% split with nine congressional disticts would be drawn with 5 democratic and 4 republican. To draw them in order for democrats to win in all 9 districts by a 52/48 margin is one of the examples of gerrymandering.
 
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JSRG

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I think you have misunderstood. In your example, a state with a 52/48% split with nine congressional disticts would be drawn with 5 democratic and 4 republican. To draw them in order for democrats to win in all 9 districts by a 52/48 margin is one of the examples of gerrymandering.
I said if a state is uniformly 52% Democrat/48% Republican (or let's go back to the original thing mentioned, 51% Democrat/49% Republican). Since it's uniform, that means no matter how you set up the districts, every district will be 51% Democrat and 49% Republican, so every election will go to a Democrat, giving them 100% representation.

In my original statement I did say "fairly uniform" and changed it to 52%/48%, as I figured that did give more of an opportunity to try to contort it into 52%/48% for the actual representatives (the 51/49 was changed to 52/48 for this to give it a better opportunity, but that may have made it more confusing). The point there was that you'd have to gerrymander if you wanted to make it proportional, as naturally drawn maps would be expected to result in a 100% win for Democrats.

But if we throw out the "fairly uniform" and go to straight up uniform as in the hypothetical in the first paragraph, then it means that, again, no matter how you divide it up, you end up with 100% Democrat victory even though they have only 52% of the vote.

This is an extreme example of course. My whole point is that "honestly" drawn maps can result in representation quite different from the overall proportional percentage. Now, obviously, many times marked differences in overall votes compared to how the representatives are divided is the result of gerrymandering. No doubt. But such differences can occur even in "honestly" drawn maps, as the example was used to show.

Thus the bottom line is that I don't think you can simply say "it's not fair because it doesn't match up with the proportional" because if that's the evaluation, then cut the middle man and just do proportional representation directly.
 
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JSRG

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Okay, so perhaps you can explain why the most populous area in our state, which is mostly urban/suburban and votes heavily democratic should be divided into three districts represented by 3 rural republicans.
I'm not sure how this relates to my statement in its original context.
 
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Arcangl86

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And unions are what made companies like GM flee this state and turn Detroit, Flint, and Pontiac into the crime-ridden destitute places they are today. Great job Democrats! You're making things worse for everybody.
Uh, GM didn't flee MI. All three primary office buildings are in MI as well as something like half of their American manufacturing plants and warehouses, including 5 separate facilities in Flint.
 
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Brihaha

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Ok...I probably should have stated that question more carefully...

What's the goal in drawing a fair district?

Like you just described the unfair process....if we spread a certain party's voters too thin...or too densely...those are both unfair scenarios?

Are we looking for a 50/50 split? Because even then a 1% difference can be "unfair". I'm also not sure what the point is in a 50/50 split unless we want to create havoc at the voting locations.

See what I mean? Given the Democratic Party's current racial views....I'd think that if anything, you'd want to draw districts along racial lines at least in some scenarios, just to ensure "diversity" because of the common left wing belief that certain races are best represented (and want to vote for) by someone who looks like them.
I do see what you mean. But to be fair, our representatives should mirror the number of voters in a state. Gerrymandering allows for a minority of the opposition to govern over a majority of voters from the other party. Americans in the majority are tired of being cheated by a minority government.
 
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Ana the Ist

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That's how proportional representation works. Everyone just votes for their preferred party and then the seats are distributed among the parties based on what percentages they get. There are a few extra wrinkles--in some countries you technically vote for a person rather than a party, but that person is the representative of their party and thus it ends up the same. Also, typically there's some percentage that's required to get any seats in this (e.g. in New Zealand I think a party has to get 4% or higher to qualify for any seats).

There are definitely some advantages to this system, namely it obliterates gerrymandering and makes it reflect the general thoughts of the populace. On the other hand, there are some disadvantages. It makes politicians feel less like individuals because they're all just hand-picked by the party leader; you're not going to see many people who feel like more independent members of their party. And it also means that no one is actually representing the specific interests of your district. Thus some areas that have proportional representation (like the aforementioned New Zealand) have mixed member proportional representation; part of the legislature is elected like that of the US, in a district-based system where one person wins a district, and part of it is done via a separate proportional representation vote (so, when you go to vote, you vote for your preferred party for the proportional representation part, and have a separate vote for the person to represent your district).

Well in fairness, I was thinking more along the lines of eliminating primaries entirely (don't need em...since your party is guaranteed a number of seats) and then each party might have a field of 10+ candidates to choose from and if your party gets 4 seats...the candidates with the most votes get those seats. Districts are divided by the party with the most seats, or alternating choices, after the election.

The upside is representation is full, votes matter, big money is diluted because of the number of candidates, and a more diverse set of views are represented inside the parties.

Downsides....interparty coalitions will likely fragment the two parties until they break.
 
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Ana the Ist

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perhaps I should have said dystopian? :)
I only meant it in the sense that every person, 100%, would be represented by their view.

How would that happen though?

If a candidate doesn't campaign against anyone, then it's not clear how voters are making a choice.

I mean, there's a party...that party won't waste money giving you 3 options to choose from....they'll just pick who represents you.

It's a practical end to democracy.

The version I'm thinking of the parties have to campaign....because with a hypothetical 10 seats up for grabs (let's say 10 Democrats or Republicans get the most votes) then you'd want no less than 10 candidates.

I'm still giving your suggestion a think. So far, it would seem reasonable.

I'm going too fast honestly....not fleshing out the parts I imagine are obvious.
 
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FenderTL5

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How would that happen though?
In reality it wouldn't. It is represented graphically here in the 1st representation of 'Fair'
Gerrymandering.png
If a candidate doesn't campaign against anyone, then it's not clear how voters are making a choice.

I mean, there's a party...that party won't waste money giving you 3 options to choose from....they'll just pick who represents you.

It's a practical end to democracy.
Agree
The version I'm thinking of the parties have to campaign....because with a hypothetical 10 seats up for grabs (let's say 10 Democrats or Republicans get the most votes) then you'd want no less than 10 candidates.



I'm going too fast honestly....not fleshing out the parts I imagine are obvious.
One area I can't yet understand: how it would work in between reapportionment. The lines are only drawn every 10 years after a census. Your method would seemingly need to be done post every election, unless I'm missing something.
 
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Ana the Ist

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In reality it wouldn't. It is represented graphically here in the 1st representation of 'Fair'
View attachment 323079
Agree

One area I can't yet understand: how it would work in between reapportionment. The lines are only drawn every 10 years after a census. Your method would seemingly need to be done post every election, unless I'm missing something.

We draw districts under the rule that they are drawn with an attempt to capture a party majority, as practically as this can be done.

It could be redrawn after the election if there's been a considerable amount of voter migration...but it wouldn't have to.

We would simply be ignoring the district lines for the election. Simplify the process.

In a 10 seat state....parties will try to field 10 candidates minimum. This obviously would be expensive, shortening the time of campaigning....diluting corporate money....all good things in my book. Candidates can't be carbon copies of each other....so a diversity of views can be made....they wouldn't have to lie all the time.

Voting can be similarly diverse....every voter can select a maximum of 10 candidates. I would imagine most will pick 2 or 3 of their favorites....and then vote down a party line. Names can appear on the ballots in a randomized fashion. People don't have to stick with one party.

Votes are tallied, counting first the percentages going to each party to determine how many seats they get....then to each candidate to determine who gets those seats. For example, if Republicans win 7 seats Dems win 3....then the 7 Reps with the most votes get those seats as do the 3 Dems. It doesn't matter if those 3 Dems get less votes than Republican #8 for example. Dems get 3 seats getting roughly 30% of the vote so that population has a voice.

Ideally, the majority party chooses districts and minority party chooses their own districts as well. Firstly trying to ensure Republicans are seated in Republican districts and Democrats in Democrat districts.

If however, we run into a situation where voters flipped....and a majority Democrat district is left without a representative (because despite having 4 districts where they are a clear majority, they only won 30% of the vote and therefore only 3 districts) then after the minority party chooses districts the remaining district is represented by a candidate out of the 7 winners in the majority party.

So there's not really a need for redrawing lines every election....but you can easily make a rule to flip a district if it votes contrary to the expectation say....3 elections in a row?

This is just off the top of my head so be gentle in criticism. I gave this a whole 10 minutes thought lol.
 
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Ana the Ist

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If a state is uniformly 52% Democrat/48% Republican throughout, then however you set up the districts you'd end up Democrats winning every election.

I don't know how. It seems like you would have to deliberately draw districts to match that 52/48 split or else it won't be 100% majority candidates.

And realistically....you would have to do this....because a uniformity isn't what the demographics look like. You have neighborhoods/towns and parts of major cities that vote 80%+ for the same party. Achieving a 52/48 split in every district would require surgical precision on those lines.


That's how district systems work. This is obviously an extreme example but my point is that to say that it's silly to claim that "fair" districts produce representation proportionate to the voting habits of the general state population is to ignore the fact that in such a case, fair districts wouldn't do so. Districts aren't supposed to do that--they can do it, but it's not the goal.

And really.....this is why I asked what the goal is when drawing districts.

Because if the goal is equal representation....we're doing it wrong. If the goal is majority rule....we're arguably ok.

But if the goal is majority rule....then gerrymandering isn't really a big deal.

Not to say, of course, that gerrymandering can't be used to make sure that it doesn't match the percentage. But I don't think fair/unfair should be judged simply on whether it's proportional or not when that's not the purpose of districts and even, as I pointed out in my example, totally fair districts can result in totally different proportions.

If the goal is to be proportional, then ditch districts entirely and just do straight proportional representation.

Again, that's why I asked about the goal....because fair or unfair is dependent upon that.
 
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