In last week’s paper, Jeffrey C. Billman wrote about North Carolina’s “democracy problem”—how Democrats had won more votes in General Assembly races, but Republicans won more seats.
On Twitter, Michael Cooper responded: “Thought this was great. Glad you mentioned self-sorting as an issue, too. But even with sorting, the maps are unfair, and our politics would benefit from healthy competition, not campaigns played to the base.”
Tim P, however, argues that neither gerrymandering nor self-sorting—i.e., the tendency of liberals to cluster in urban neighborhoods while conservatives spread out elsewhere—explains the recent election results: “While gerrymandering is a problem, the idea that the spread of geographic representation can result in more electoral victories despite fewer total votes isn’t correct, at least not inherently. There are more Republican districts just as there are more Republican states. I agree with this article, but I don’t think this is the best argument, as intuitive as it may be. Proper districting alone won’t change the difference between rural and urban populations.”
Dennis Cunningham seems to agree. “People, this is simple,” he writes. “The majority of Dems live in concentrated areas, like cities, when the majority of Republicans live in the rural areas. More area, more representation. You can pack as many people in one house as you want, but it still has only one address.”
Aaron Averill counters: “This is the very definition of gerrymandering. Rural voters, accounting for less than 30 percent of the population, have 70 percent Republican representation. In other words, if you’re a Democrat, your vote counts for less than half what a rural voter’s does. If district representation were truly fair based on population, nearly all the rural areas of the state would have just three or four districts, instead of ten.”
“See?” writes Jeffrey David Zacko-Smith. “The South isn’t as conservative as you think. All of these Republicans got their seats through gerrymandering—not votes.”
“Democrats have always had to overcome hurdles that have long favored the slaveholding, Confederate states,” writes Glen Reese. “Each state got two senators when the Constitution was written. So each Wyoming senator, for example, now represents one person, compared to the thirty people represented by a California senator. The ‘one person, one vote’ concept is screwed. The rural, redneck states cling to a power that is totally technical and artificial. A national gerrymander.
“Successful congressional gerrymandering of districts in the redneck states has guaranteed that a minority of voters elect a majority of the state reps. I live in North Carolina. I know about that crap. I don’t know if our legislators are stupid, or whether they think that we are. The Electoral College, an experimental attempt by our founders to prevent idiots from being chosen for president, has proved an abysmal failure. It has only thwarted the popular choice. Trump is a shining example. I rest my case.
“The times, they are changing. People are learning how to combat legislative inequalities. The backpressure against minority rule by old white guys is inevitable and overdue. Hang on to your jockstrap. The earth is about to crumble beneath your feet.”
Dave Sandidge probably wouldn’t be happy if that happened: “The libs won’t be satisfied until West Virginia is completely bankrupt because of no coal business, there is no longer any offshore oil and gas production, your income taxes are north of 80 percent, your work ethic is as pathetic as theirs because of there no longer being any incentives to work and succeed, and you renounce even ever having uttered the name ‘Jesus.’ Which reminds me, I’ve never met a true-blue Democrat who wasn’t a professed atheist.”
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