There’s an article over at Carolina Journal that Republicans are sharing widely that claims to prove that gerrymandering is not a problem. The methodology the guy uses is so flawed that I’m surprised somebody didn’t stop it. It just further erodes the John Locke Foundation’s credibility as a think tank and shows that the organization is morphing into a group of Republican propaganda outlet.
The author of the article is opinion editor David Lawson. He begins by criticizing Governor Roy Cooper for blaming gerrymandering for the veto proof majorities Republican hold in the state house and state senate. Then, he shifts to argue that Democrats also gerrymandered when they were in office, using the last Congressional maps drawn by Democrats to prove his point. Then he uses the current maps in the state house and state senate to assert that current Republican gerrymandering is not egregious but reflects the electorate. But he’s just flat out wrong.
First, comparing Congressional Districts to legislative districts is, as the saying goes, like comparing apples and oranges. The real blunder, though, is misinterpreting the voter data. According to the data in his charts, 110 Republican house candidates garnered 57% of the vote and 90 Democratic house candidates received 42% of the vote. The GOP ended up 59% of the seats in the house and Democrats with 41%. He says that just shows that the results reflect the will of the voters.
But that’s not how it works with a collection of districts. Had Democrats fielded 110 candidates, those additional 20 candidates would have cut the difference between the GOP and Democratic percentages to somewhere in the low- to mid-single digits. Yet Republicans would still hold 59% of the seats despite winning less than about 53% of the vote. So, yes, gerrymandering is the problem for Democrats. Arguing that GOP votes reflect the will of the voters is misinformation, whether it’s deliberately misleading or just ignorance.
Just to show my math, if 90 Democrats received 1,463,259 votes, then they averaged 16,258 votes per district. If those 20 missing candidates had received the average vote, they would have added 325,168 votes to the Democratic total, giving them 1,788,428 votes, or 47.4% of the total. Republicans would have received 52.6%. That may not be perfect, but it’s a hell of a lot closer to reality than the drivel over at the Carolina Journal.
The author could have argued that Democrats’ failure to recruit candidates masks how lobsided the districts really are, but he can’t argue that the current margins in the legislature reflects the will of the voters. And he certainly can’t argue that most people want the governor’s veto checked. Cooper won statewide twice. Surely, he’s a closer reflection to the will of the people than the heavily-gerrymandered, veto-proof legislature.
Larison’s understanding of trends, though, is not limited to vote totals. He wrote last week that the high in-migration to the state will continue to shift it towards Republicans. He thinks conservative policies are attracting the newcomers. He’s just wrong again.
First, the state has been one of the fast growing in the nation since the late 1980s. It’s actually slowed a bit under GOP rule. More importantly, though, people are moving into urban areas and voting more Democratic, not more Republican. The vast majority of GOP counties are losing population. The only newcomers supporting Republicans in any numbers are the wealthy, largely white, older retirees moving to a few choice spots in the state. Those voters don’t care about schools, transportation, or even economic development and they are mitigating the impact of the younger, more diverse voters who are moving here build careers and raise families .
The newcomers following jobs are voting increasingly for Democrats, making counties like Cabarrus, Union, and Johnston a lighter shade of red. When they realize how far to the right Republicans are dragging the state, they’ll vote even more heavily for Democrats in the coming years. We saw similar trends in the 1990s when people moved to Raleigh and Charlotte and initially voted for Republicans. When they realized what kind of Republicans we have in North Carolina, they quickly shifted direction and made Wake and Mecklenburg heavily Democratic counties.
Lawson is correct on a few things. Democrats really do have some problems. They need to do a much better job in candidate recruitment, even in districts where they can’t win. It’s about building organization and brand recognition. They need to stop hemorrhaging votes in rural areas. Having qualified candidates who can counter the GOP narrative helps do that. Finally, they need to motivate young voters to go the polls. The state is pretty evenly divided regardless of gerrymandering and Democrats need to show that consistently, not just in presidential years.
The real story here, though, is the change in the John Locke Foundation. They’ve shifted from an organization of conservative policy wonks to an organization of partisan hacks. Lawson is manipulating numbers to give a misleading view of the state. Claiming that in-migration will make the state more conservative just ignores who the newcomers actually are. He’s making partisan opinions with little data back him up. Worse, he’s misinterpreting data when he uses it. He’s part of the shift from think tank to propaganda outlet.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >
What is an internet troll?
“Internet trolls are people who want to provoke and upset others online for their own amusement.”
The internet troll is a sick individual. Researchers have found they suffer from the darker sides of human nature, which have called the dark tetrad: sadism, psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.
Nancy Willard, MS, JD said “Trolls are people who don’t love themselves, don’t think anyone else loves them, and they are being hurtful just to feel some level of control over their life, which they feel is out of their control.”
Almost fifty percent of the comments appearing on the topic of gerrymandering appear to be one form or another of internet trolling. Tom made interesting points, worthy of serious discussion, which several folks attempted to respond to. But our resident troll made five comments designed to disrupt or redirect the conversation.
How a troll plays his or her little game usually takes the form of deception: I am one of you, but I select what suits me. Example I am not a republican, I am an independent or libertarian which ever label creates a justification for my behavior.
They will parachute into a conversation, make bizarre statements to disrupt and change the direction of the conversation. Example:” The facts for you folks is this. And it is why no one takes anything you say seriously.” Other than the obvious grammatical errors, this statement attempts to bully, by saying nobody takes you seriously. Could this be the trolls’ means of striking back as the result of being told nobody pays attention to his or her comments? Or Gerrymandering is good only when Democrats do it. Anything Republicans do is gerrymandering.
Trolls like to cast themselves as victims when confronted. Example “you are being mean or aggressive toward me.” Specialists in the field of internet trolling tell us to just ignore them. In other words, do not feed into their little game. They do not exist!
That’s the link with districts and county boundaries as layers.
This is what the NC Constitution says about dividing counties to make Senate or Congressional Districts:
Sec. 3. Senate districts; apportionment of Senators.
The Senators shall be elected from districts. The General Assembly, at the first regular session convening after the return of every decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, shall revise the senate districts and the apportionment of Senators among those districts, subject to the following requirements:
(1) Each Senator shall represent, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, the number of inhabitants that each Senator represents being determined for this purpose by dividing the population of the district that he represents by the number of Senators apportioned to that district;
(2) Each senate district shall at all times consist of contiguous territory;
(3) No county shall be divided in the formation of a senate district;
(4) When established, the senate districts and the apportionment of Senators shall remain unaltered until the return of another decennial census of population taken by order of Congress.
Sec. 5. Representative districts; apportionment of Representatives.
The Representatives shall be elected from districts. The General Assembly, at the first regular session convening after the return of every decennial census of population taken by order of Congress, shall revise the representative districts and the apportionment of Representatives among those districts, subject to the following requirements:
(1) Each Representative shall represent, as nearly as may be, an equal number of inhabitants, the number of inhabitants that each Representative represents being determined for this purpose by dividing the population of the district that he represents by the number of Representatives apportioned to that district;
(2) Each representative district shall at all times consist of contiguous territory;
(3) No county shall be divided in the formation of a representative district;
(4) When established, the representative districts and the apportionment of Representatives shall remain unaltered until the return of another decennial census of population taken by order of Congress.
Now, I don’t see any ambiguity in the Constitution regarding the delineation of the districts, do you? And yet to achieve political purity and maintain the raison d’etre; “the Democrats did it too,” I see some counties bisected by district lines. What I don’t see is a provision that allows it, no matter who does it.
It is patently obvious that the acquisition of power becomes secondary once attained and the maintenance of power moves to the fore after you have it. That’s good for…who is it again?
Is it the fault of the politician? No, it isn’t. They can’t vote themselves into office; not yet at any rate. I’ll refrain from stating the obvious about who’s shoulders this responsibility rests on. It’s not hard to figure out.
Republicans have cracked and packed their way into control of the State’s legislature in such a way leaving little doubt which party will be responsible when folks lose their jobs or little Johnny cannot do simple math or comprehend the written word. Republicans were responsible for the super morality law, called the bathroom legislation by the press, which cost Charlotte and Raleigh millions in lost economic development and revenue from sporting events. What was hilarious about this piece of injurious legislation was that it was unenforceable as it had no penalty clause. Moreover, current legislation on the books adequately addresses their concerns. Republicans passed laws which created a privately owned educational system, which fills the pockets of corporate Mongols, but does little to prepare a child to take his or her place in the modern world. Moreover, takes local control of the schools out of the hands of an elected board of education. When operations like Disney, which is dealing with a politically driven governor in Fl. move their job creating and revenue generating theme parks to another state, North Carolina will not be on their list. Nor will major manufactures. Moving from one backward state to another does not make good economic sense.
These revenue producing companies look at factors such as the educational system, laws which define values that are out of date or ridiculous. North Carolina is the poster boy for ridiculous and out of date. Cooper did an excellent job of summing it up last week when he said Republicans are moving this state back fifty years.
So, the bottom line here is simple, Republicans have assumed the role of an aging individual, dressed in flowing white robes, with bible held upside down in his left hand, pointing its right finger at the real world screaming you are all going to hell, if you do not believe as I do! If this state wants to prosper and grow, Republicans must be voted out of office until they learn to behave themselves.
In this day and age. Even far back as 1990 It would simple to write a computer program based on the above, and let it make the maps. But The democrats and the Republican do not want that.
Gerrymandering changed in 2010 when Republicans exploited the vastly increased power of computing and the vastly increased availability of voter information. Gerrymandering was guesswork in the past, but it is a precision tool now used by Republicans to disenfranchise minorities, young people, the elderly and democrats in general. Comparing gerrymandering from decades ago to the current anti-democratic deployment of minority rule is like comparing apples to nuclear weapons.
Gerrymandering changed in 1997 when Democrats exploited the vastly increased power of computing and the vastly increased availability of voter information. Gerrymandering was guesswork in the past, but it is a precision tool now used by Democrats to disenfranchise minorities, young people, the elderly and Republicans in general. Comparing gerrymandering from decades ago to the current anti-democratic deployment of minority rule is like comparing apples to nuclear weapons.
The dynamic new NC Democrat Party Chair has promised to field candidates for all seats and all districts. This despite redistricting yet to occur, which according to some will be the “mother” of all partisan gerrymanders. I look forward to seeing if her hype matches her deeds.
In the meantime, I’m encouraging my Libertarian Party of NC friends to do likewise and Republicans to primary every incumbent and open seat. There are quite a few baling out of the legislature to seek better paying gigs, you know.
I’ve always said every election should be contested at every level….now let’s see who agrees with me.
Well we definitely know the libertarians won’t be winning any races.
The facts for you guys is this. And its why no one takes anything you say seriously.
Gerrymandering is good only when Democrats do it.
Anything Republicans do is gerrymandering.
Ringlet, gerrymandering is not good for everyone and should be replaced with a nonpartisan mapping commission. Other states have instituted them. Does our legislature have the morale courage to do the same?
For democrats the loss of straight party vote seriously hurt the lower ballot candidates and that would include most offices below the governor . Republicans made that change when they took over the legislature as a means to reduce democrat candidates’ chances of winning and it worked.
“Ringlet, gerrymandering is not good for everyone…” (everyone, or anyone?)…”and should be replaced with a nonpartisan mapping commission…” (No such thing as non partisan anything anymore. That ship sailed during the iron-fisted, totalitarian 108 year continuous rule of Democrats in NC. In that century, Democrats did whatever they wanted damn the consequences and whatever the hell the other side wanted. They made NC politics as it is today and so making the Bed, will now have to lay in it)
“…Other states have instituted them…” (which ones?)
“…Does our legislature have the morale courage to do the same?..” (No, and why should they? Moral courage only gets you screwed, over. There absolutely no morality in the Democrat party. A party, who as we speak, think it’s perfectly NORMAL to murder children from conception until after delivery without any limits of any kind. Believes it ok to give pornography to children, and expose them to sexually charged drag shows, A party that is all for grooming and child molestation ( They are trying to change the name of Child molester to Minor attracted Person) Soon they will say “Its a sexual preference and it NORMAL to have sex with minors! The party that is perfectly ok with other forms of perversion involving children that I will not get into. Favors child mutilation surgeries all while keeping ALL OF IT from the parents who are ultimately responsible for the mess that is caused. A Party that is embracing the destruction of Women’s sports, and is perfectly ok changing the definition of a Women to “Non trans women.” Thus trying erasing Real women (not fake pretend Women) off the face of the earth forever amen.” There will be no women anymore. Only women seen through the lens of the transvestite mental illness) There will be A Trans women (which is a mentally ill man) or a non trans women. i.e a normal person.
There is NO morality in the Democrat party, and barely any in the Republicans.
…”For democrats the loss of straight party vote seriously hurt the lower ballot candidates and that would include most offices below the governor. Republicans made that change when they took over the legislature as a means to reduce democrat candidates’ chances of winning and it worked…” (Yes. I remember when they did that, it shut down on uninformed voting. It was a good move because a straight ticket vote is lazy. Now you have to know who/what/why your a voting for someone.)
You clearly feel that your clever zinger invalidates Tom’s arguments. Yes, Tom did fail to mention that Democrats gerrymandered the state when they were in power. Democrats like me (and I imagine, Tom, opposed it, BTW). Unfortunately your comment is totally orthogonal to his point.
Yes, Tom did fail to mention that Democrats gerrymandered the state when they were in power. ( OH I. SURE it was just a slip of the mind…. Sure it was. lol! Its very clear Tom is 110% in the Bag for anything Democrat no matter what it is and 150% against anything Republican no natter what it is. I’ve never seen anything otherwise. It would be such a rare event I’m sure I’d remember it. ( Like seeing a total solar eclipse for the first time!)
“…Democrats like me (and I imagine, Tom, opposed it, BTW)….” Doubtful. I’ve been around Democrats long enough to know that the one thing they believe in is ” Any means to an end.” and “The ends always justifies the means.” and “You’ve have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.” along with “Win at all costs.”
So I highly doubt that either of you would oppose such a thing. Democrats hate to share power, and they hate to even acknowledge any alternatives other than their own. I have never seen a single kind word thing about a Republican on this site. I’ve no doubt that is Republicans could be driven out of NC forever. Democrats would do so as fast as he possible, by any means.
Explain to me how that is different from Republican plank politics? Please tell me how, as a Democrat, you can eviscerate a party you claim to be a part of while holding the opposition blameless and as a de facto victim. Something they are quite capable of doing for themselves often and then seeking justification with the phrase, “well, the Democrats did it.” How is everything you have identified as a mortal sin of Democrats different or evil when comparatively placed alongside the deeds of Republicans, other than the color used to identify the group?
I keep seeing the words, “well, the Democrats did it too.” Does that make it right? Do we simply occupy ourselves with outdoing the other as a means to an end?
I’ll bet you have read much that supports Democrats here. That is the lay of the land after all! Do I also see criticism proffered as well? I have. Just as you have. It might not be as coarse as you would like or as heated. But it doesn’t toe the party line in the way it is portrayed. Besides, if you read the Republican websites and I would assume you do with statements such as “A party, who as we speak, think it’s perfectly NORMAL to murder children from conception until after delivery without any limits of any kind…ok to give pornography to children, and expose them to sexually charged drag shows, A party that is all for grooming and child molestation ( They are trying to change the name of Child molester to Minor attracted Person).”
I’d like to know where you got all of that because I’ve never heard that. I damn sure have never read that here, nor do I expect to; ever. You like to pull quotes from posts to make points, so, lets hear it. Who said those things and when. Because I’d like to know what mental midget was stupid enough to say or write those views for all to see. I’m not saying they didn’t, I’m saying I want to know who. Then I’m going to look at how that became a party position.
Should Democrats be doing better? I think so. Even with room to improve, are they still doing better than Republicans? Oh hell yes! It’s not even close. Doing the right thing, even when it’s not popular. That’s moral courage. Liz Chaney demonstrated that. Cost her the Congressional seat she held. I don’t agree with her politics, but I respect her for that and would even consider voting for her on that basis alone. There was a time when what she did would have been the rule rather than the exception.
Now, transfer that kind of morality to North Carolina and who can rise to the same level? Who believes in the process enough to protect it against the wishes and pressure of their peers and their own self-interest? Who possesses that kind of courage? Better yet, who demonstrates it when its time for the votes to be cast?
The fact that remains through it all is this, and you made it, not intending to. You talked about the bed Democrats made across a century. Perhaps they did. That certainly isn’t the case now. And history, in perfect hindsight will evaluate it for effect on the future; good or bad.
That chapter remains to be written.
I’ve no faith or loyalty to any party, We are living in a time of “turn about is fair play” So Democrats are getting what they have dished out. If they had never done it, it would not be happening to them now. And what I’ve seen the Republicans did not take everything they could have with the maps. They were in fact nice. But no Democrats filed suit before the maps were even made. Essentially throwing that gesture of the republicans back in their face. Not very nice. So they should expect the whirlwind now. We’ll see.
Socially Democrats have gone where I can’t follow, Their social idiocy is anathema to me. I’m not going to support clown world bullshit and degeneracy. Its just not going to happen ever. I am certainly not alone in this, and democrats would do well to take heed. Other stuff its a case by case basis as it occurs.
Right now I have to say the republicans are on the mostly right path. Democrats aren’t.
Should everyone do better? In all cases hope spring eternal. Is all I can say
Nice? Nice. Republicans being nice. Do tell.
“I propose that we draw the maps to give a partisan advantage to 10 Republicans and three Democrats, because I do not believe it’s possible to draw a map with 11 Republicans and two Democrats.” ~ David Lewis (R). NC Legislature. 2016.
My challenge to you Ring is to produce a quote by a NC Democrat that rises to the content of the one above. If you think and believe that this is Republicans being “fair” in their re-districting scheme, I find your sense of fair lacking sir.
I don’t know this for certain, but I think the reason for the social extremism on both sides is simply a counterweight to the other. A precarious balance of extremist policy that panders to the lunatic fringe of their respective faction. Neither wanting to acknowledge that polity can be found in the middle.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ~ John Stuart Mill. Intelligent discourse. I do not have the ear of anyone influential. I do have the ability to speak. We all have that ability. Our way of life is by no means set or static. Law and policy does not evolve at the same pace as social more. Nor should it. In addressing social more however, law and policy should not be regressive in reaction to those mores. We lose sight of the fact when debating this that what is good for the one is not always the panacea for all. In the pursuit of such freedom on an individual basis, those in pursuit fail to realize that those freedoms are not infinite. That said, policy should come on the basis of public debate and discourse, between all factions. The resulting policy should favor neither side definitively but reflect that compromise so that a majority of the people can live with and abide by it. Not pander to a select minority who want the entire circus because their clowns happen to be the ones running the center ring at the moment.
That is my view of good, effective, representative government.
My point is. Republicans could have taken more seats with the maps they could have drawn. And given that gerrymandering is legal (lol I can’t believe it. What a messed up situation) They would have gotten away with it. But they were “nice” in that they didn’t. So they actually threw the Democrats a bone, a gift as it were. But the suits were already filed even before they was even a meet to even make the maps. So it was a pointless gesture. Maybe the Republican knew that all along. Who knows? But it certainly the Democrats look like spoiled brats kicking and screaming on the floor (As usual which has become very tiresome and ineffectual at this point) and threw the “gift” back at the Republicans. Then they ran to the court ( Partisan BTW just like now) ) The court followed their masters and here we are.
The maps we have now will get over turne (as they should) and they will be what they should be. Not what a court wants. Which as unfair as it is, Is they way it should be,
No winners only victims.
As for social stuff. All I can say is LOL. I’m not going into it anymore. If you can’t see (or say) its wrong then you are part of the problem. Democrats and the left who seemingly support the latest forms of degeneracy are on the wrong track is all I can say. Because of that they’ve lost this Democrat, and I am definitely not alone in that. I simply cannot support it. There is no way I can even rationalize a reason.
So I am without a party. Come on in the water is fine!