Victims of Their Own Success

by | Jan 31, 2017 | Features, Politics | 7 comments

Now that full precinct data has been released for the 2016 general election in North Carolina, an analysis of the results in the various congressional districts is possible. And the findings indicate that Democrats might sorely regret being successful in last year’s lawsuit overturning the previous congressional plan, enacted in 2011 (Rucho-Lewis Congress 3). Their legal success may cost them potential gains in the state’s congressional delegation in next year’s elections.

The following is an assessment of Donald Trump’s percentage of the two-party vote in each congressional district, under both the old, overturned plan and the newly enacted contingency plan used for the 2016 elections:

CD/2011 Districts/ 2016 Districts
1 / 29% / 31%
2 / 58% / 55%
3 / 62% / 62%
4 / 24% / 29%
5 /61% / 59%
6 / 58% / 58%
7 / 62% / 59%
8 / 64% / 58%
9 / 52% / 56%
10 / 62% / 63%
11 /67% / 65%
12 /23% / 29%
13 /53% / 55%

Of course, Trump won statewide by 4% in each plan. But the distribution of his votes in each district, under each plan, is somewhat different. Under the old plan, Trump won the Ninth and Thirteenth Districts by 52% and 53%, respectively. This is well within the competitive range and would have made the incumbents occupying those seats (Robert Pittenger and George Holding) decent targets for Democrats. By overturning the old map, Democrats shot themselves in the foot by forfeiting the opportunity to claim those two districts in the future.

This result should give Democrats pause as they attempt to overturn the current legislative maps with charges of racial gerrymandering. The 2018 elections of course haven’t happened yet but it certainly appears they’re in a worse position than they would have been otherwise had they not been successful in the courts.


  1. Jim Watson

    The danger of gerrymandering is that you engineer thin majorities in order to have a larger number of majority districts. This subjects your majority districts to the danger of demographic or turnout shift. The chance of this happening has decreased per the contents of this article.

  2. Jimmy Ryals

    Who’s to say that Trump’s vote share is predictive of the GOP candidate’s? The 2016 Republican ran ahead of Trump in 10 of 13 districts, and one of the districts where GOP nominee didn’t was the heavily Democratic 1st.

  3. Apply Liberally

    I don’t see Dems as “Victims of their own Success” as much as I see Republicans, via their egregious gerrymandering, as “Benefactors of their own Deceit.”

  4. TbeT

    Right. Mr. Wynne. Sure. Democrats should regret winning a court decision on grounds of racial discrimination. Such grounds and such petitions to the courts should never happen. The Dems should have just kept quiet and accepted the lost voice of back voters. Sure.

    I’m sure you’d als say that racial gerrymandering doesn’t exist, just as your fellow Republicans will say that voter suppression doesn’t exist. Right……

    Conveniently forget, too, why don’t you, that the courts have historically found racial gerrymandering as a solid legal foundation for rulings of unconstitutional gerrymandering, while they have never truly addressed the legality of political gerrymandering.

    • TbeT

      Obviously, and sarcastically, I meant to write “The Dems should have just kept quiet and accepted the lost voice of BLACK voters.”

  5. Jay Ligon

    Trump’s success in North Carolina may have been momentary. Some Republicans might be experiencing buyer’s remorse as they watch the various unfolding constitutional crises, the fulfillment of several audacious promises they really didn’t want and the embarrassment of watching a buffoon blunder through world events completely out of his depth.

    Half of the Obamacare enrollments were Republicans who are as susceptible to sickness and injury as Democrats and Independents. If the Republicans make good on the promise to terminate insurance coverage for everyone covered under Obamacare, there will be suffering across party lines. There were be as many Republicans dying from lack of care as Democrats. It is hard to remember how much you once hated Hillary or the black guy when Mama or your daughter is dying. That should give some people pause to reconsider.

    The worldwide disrepute of the United States which erupted in the first 24 hours of the Trump presidency may cause some Americans to reconsider the hate platform of the Republican Party. Boycotts of American products, the unwelcomeness of American dollars and the danger of being a despised traveler from this country may cause some Republicans to reconsider their enthusiasm for a racist.

    Trump is the most hated man in the world. He is more unpopular and more infamous than real monsters in the third world who are actually guilty of atrocities, but the American presidency comes with responsibilities because of America’s central importance to world events.

    Trump’s endorsement of torture, water-boarding, and war crimes could soften his support among those Republicans with vestigial consciences. His goal of theft of Iraq’s oil may appeal to some and his ignorance of the Geneva Conventions may not bother other Republicans, but a moral people will object to piracy and atrocities.

    Church-going people cannot be pleased that a sexual predator now represents the nation and stands as some sort of icon for our young men. Lurid accounts of his perversions continue to leak (no pun intended) out into the public domain. Eventually, even the most rabid Trump supporter will have to ask whether we are giving lip service to the gospel while we embrace an unrepentant man who disgusts us.

    Finally, there are some Republicans who are patriots. Patriots and people who served our nation must look at his national security stance as next to treason. Even if the Russian dictator’s influence on our elections is only minimal, the exchange of classified information between the United States and the only nation on Earth with 4,000 nuclear weapons pointed at us is shocking. The story of Russian influence over Trump reads like a spy novel, except no author would attempt to write a credible scenario involving the American president as a Russian puppet. Disclosures continue to roll out that implicate the Trump inner circle with Russian spies. That is an astounding fact.

    Trump’s top advisor during the campaign and chief advisor on national security is an avowed Leninist. Steven Bannon is not only a racist and an antisemite (something that did not bother Trump’s base during the campaign,) but Bannon is now writing Presidential Memorandum and Orders. He is throwing bombs with Trump’s signature on them.
    If the Republicans are not bothered by the exchange of secrets with our enemies, with a Leninist in charge of policy and the destabilization of international relations worldwide, we must wonder what Republicans stand for these days.

    • Tawake , Sandra K

      As President Lincoln once said, “the
      better angels of our nature” must come
      to the forefront to heal our divisions.
      He was speaking about the Civil War
      & its consequences, but this present
      chaos is no less threatening than fallout
      from actual warfare. Republicans must
      recognize & accept responsibility that
      devolves on them by virtue of majority.

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