Tuesday, January 17, 2017

If only we could draw the maps

It is an article of faith among a lot of lefties I know -- if only those nasty Republicans didn't gerrymander things back in 2010, the Democrats would be in charge of a lot more. Is it true? Walter Russell Mead wonders about that, using the example of our neighbors to the south:
1990s-era Democrats still had a strong presence in rural areas. But as the party moved to accommodate a more urban and liberal electoral base, its support outside of major metropolitan areas faded, especially during the Obama years.

Territorial representation penalizes parties for failing to build geographically broad political coalitions. So matter how lopsided a majority the Democrats can build in places like Des Moines, they will always be hamstrung if they can’t win compete less-densely populated areas as well.
You can tell this trend is happening by what happened here in Minnesota. No one thought Tim Walz was in trouble in the 1st CD, but he nearly got beat, winning by less than 3000 votes, against an opponent who he'd beaten by 19,000 the time before. It was less than comfortable for Collin Peterson in the 7th as well; he won his district with 60% of the vote in 2012, but only 52% in 2016. And Rick Nolan barely hung on in the 8th.

I live in the 4th CD; you could put the DFL label on a potted plant and it would be elected to Congress; we've demonstrated that conclusively by sending Betty McCollum back to the Hill nine times. It's easy for the DFL to control my district, but they don't have very good arguments outstate. As we look at the new legislature in St. Paul, and the new Congress, it's the same issue. Iowa and Wisconsin were both blue states less than 10 years ago, but that's changed. It could change here, too, if the DFL learns the wrong lessons from the election.

7 comments:

R.A. Crankbait said...

The Democrats are not in the business of learning lessons, but teaching lessons - such as the ones they're trying to administer now with their hate.

Gino said...

democrats are usually better than republicans at the long game. dont worry bout them, they'll be fine.

25yrs ago, CA had a GOP assembly, senate, and governor... you can see how well that worked out once the amnesty folks of 86 got their voter rights...

Mr. D said...

I take your point, but this ain't California, Gino.

Bike Bubba said...

I'm reminded of a time when I was in Colorado where the state supreme court rejected the legislature's pretty decent maps, and instead rewrote them to create "fair" districts.....turned out most of them went GOP, which is the case to this day. You've got Denver & Boulder with the ski towns....and then the rest of the state, really.

Lots of impact from California, as Colorado Springs enticed businessmen to come to Colorado to escape confiscatory taxes in the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush years. We got a fair number of Republicans--many who became Democrats in a more conservative state--along with some Democrats, Crips, and Bloods.

Gino said...

"but this ain't California"

Ya think all those somalis and Hmong are aren't likely to leave the city and alter the rest of the district's demographics?

Mr. D said...

Ya think all those somalis and Hmong are aren't likely to leave the city and alter the rest of the district's demographics?

There aren't enough of them to make a difference; from what I can tell, the Hmong aren't necessarily loyal to the DFL, either.

Brad Carlson said...

...but this ain't California....

And there was much rejoicing.....