New Maps for Pennsylvania!

Twice this month, I have written about the gerrymandering case in Pennsylvania (links below in case you missed them).  You may remember that the congressional district map was heavily gerrymandered to give the GOP unfair advantage, and the state Supreme Court ordered the legislature to re-draw the map to be more fair by February 9th, and the governor to approve and submit the new map by February 15th, or the court would have the map re-drawn.  Well, a couple of the legislators balked, both deadlines were missed, so the court held true to its word and had the map re-drawn.

The new map on the left more closely reflects the partisan composition of the state, providing a more equitable opportunity for Democrats to pick up 2-3 additional  U.S. House seats in November. It’s also more compact than Republicans’ original map, and it splits fewer counties and municipal areas. While Democratic candidates for the state’s 18 U.S. House seats tend to capture about half of the statewide popular vote, that’s translated into just five of the 18 seats in each election held since the 2011 redistricting.

In the last election, 2016, the majority of the popular vote was actually for democrats, but due to the manipulation of congressional district boundaries, democrats only won 5 of the 18 seats in the House.  Fair?  Hardly, but then the same could be said of the same year’s presidential election also, where the majority lost the election due to the electoral college.

It is a safe bet to say that the republican-led legislature will challenge the new map, but they have few options to do so, as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case, effectively upholding the ruling of the state court.  The only plausible argument would be that the maps violate the Elections Clause of the Constitution, which vests in the state legislature the power to choose rules for congressional elections, and even that is a long shot.

But meanwhile, you know Trump couldn’t resist an opportunity to put his two-cents’ worth in, and he took to Twitter early this morning:

Hope Republicans in the Great State of Pennsylvania challenge the new “pushed” Congressional Map, all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Your Original was correct! Don’t let the Dems take elections away from you so that they can raise taxes & waste money! – 8:11 AM – Feb 20, 2018

Appropriate remark for a president?  No, but then when are they ever any more?

Gerrymandering, for any who may be unclear on precisely what the term means, is a means of re-drawing district maps to manipulate the boundaries in order to favour one party over the other.  The Washington Post published an excellent article explaining the process back in March 2015  that I urge you to take a look at.  The graphic below, taken from that article, provides a pretty good visual explanation.

gerrymanderingIf the map provided by the Pennsylvania  Supreme Court is allowed to stand, it is quite possible that the democrats will pick up an additional 2, possibly 3 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives in November.  It is a start, but there are more states with unfairly drawn congressional district maps that need to be challenged this year.  Thus far, Pennsylvania and Florida are the only two who have taken this step.  The 10 most gerrymandered states are …

  1. North Carolina
  2. Maryland
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. West Virginia
  5. Kentucky
  6. Louisiana
  7. Utah
  8. Texas
  9. Arkansas
  10. Ohio

Let us hope that Pennsylvania’s new map is not overturned, and that more states, particularly the ones listed above, get on the bandwagon to re-draw more fair and equitable maps.  I am not asking for any special treatment for democrats, merely an opportunity for a fair election, such as is called for by the U.S. Constitution.

Related links:

Judicial Independence … Going, Going …

Senator Above The Law?  

30 thoughts on “New Maps for Pennsylvania!

  1. Pingback: Send In The Clowns … | Filosofa's Word

  2. Y’see the problem with this footlin’ about (aka gerrymandering) is that it’s all short-term gains. The practitioners don’t seem to realise they are corroding people’s faith in voting, or at least in this process. Now this is not something you want to do with a cussed folk like the americans…..
    They’ll only go and find a way to get around it…..
    And that judicial process…well politicians can never tell what it will come up with….

    Like

    • The republicans have made their own set of rules and no longer care about anything but their own power and wealth.
      The citizenry enable them, so you are right … America, such as it is, needs to wake the f$%^ up … and soon!
      Love ‘n hugs, dear Jack! <3.

      Like

  3. Isn’t it odd how people can cherry pick the parts of the Constitution [and Amendments] that suit themselves? Representational Democracy is a fudge at best, but when vested interests are allowed to tweak it to their own advantage, it can hardly be called democracy at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, good piece. Our NC GOP leaders have been punished multiple times for various maps and rewrites on US congressional seats and state seats. On top of this, the restrictive Voter ID law was overturned as the judge said it was done with surgical precision to discriminate. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith! Yes, I was happy to hear of the voter ID laws being overturned. Those are so obviously designed to discriminate against the poor that it isn’t even covered by a thin veil. What occurs to me is that if the GOP feels they have to go through all these machinations in order to win, they must realize that their policies alone will not win them any elections. If I’m a poor chess player, then the only way I will win will be to cheat, yes?

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      • Jill, I recognize Democrats did some gerrymandering, but coupled with ALEC, this has been a GOP orchestrate cheating effort across multiple states. The Voter ID law passed by NC was a templated format promoted by ALEC, which was followed by other states in part.

        Some in the GOP actually lament some of the gerrymandering as more extreme representatives got elected which you have highlighted in your posts. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the GOP legislators spent their time trying to learn and understand what the voters’ needs are and then working on legislation to meet those needs, instead of trying to find new ways to cheat and get around the rules of the system? Gee, we might have a pretty good system if they did that. I keep waiting, thinking that surely some of the GOP in Congress will finally make a stand against the far-right, but no, if they are disgusted, I’m not seeing it. I surely hope that November will be a HUGE wake-up call to the GOP and Trump.

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  5. Dear Jill,

    This new PA. map will probably mean 5 more US Congressional seats for Democrats. The Democrats need a total of 24 additional seats to have a majority in the US House of Representatives. This redrawn .map helps.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, every little bit helps, but we really do need those other states to get on this bandwagon too. Gerrymandering undermines the democratic process and also, I imagine, contributes to voter apathy, for those who live in a heavily red district may well throw up there hands and say, “why bother?” I understand that … I don’t agree with it, but I understand it. Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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