Archive for redistricting

Judge: Florida redistricting a "mockery," illegally favors GOP

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redistricting

Florida (aka Flori-duh) Republicans just got a major smackdown from a circuit judge who ruled that their congressional redistricting map was illegal. North Carolina, are you paying attention?

The map is now invalid because it "violates constitutional provisions that require fair districts," per the Los Angeles Times. Or to put it another way, the GOP hoped to pull a fast one on Democratic voters and failed miserably. The plan is "invalid."

In Florida, the GOP controls the Legislature, and the judge said that they did that with "improper partisan intent" in 2012.

gerrymander definition

gerrymandering via Doonesbury

Oh, but it gets worse. Judge Lewis also said that those (ir)responsible tried to keep the whole thing a big secret. And you know what they say about cover-ups...

cover up 2 cover-up...where...

cover up worse than crime

In a scathing opinion, Leon County Circuit Judge Terry P. Lewis ruled in Tallahassee that the Legislature's Republican political consultants had "made a mockery" of the redistricting process, tainting it with "partisan intent."

Lewis said that the districts, drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature after the 2010 census, flouted voter-passed constitutional amendments intended to eliminate gerrymandering - that is, often-bizarre and irregular lines that make a district safe for one party or the other. [...]

Lewis noted that legislative leaders and political operatives had deleted emails and other documents outlining their redistricting efforts.

As the League of Women Voters of Florida president said, the ruling "exposed the conspiracy to influence and manipulate the Legislature into violating its constitutional duties."

Of course, Republicans will blame those pesky activist judges. Like the ones on the Supreme Court, GOP?

nice try no cigar

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Twofer: Hispanics aren't casting ballots; the political "news" media is MIA

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hispanics vote logo

I read the New York Times headlines every morning on my trusty New York Times app. When my barely-open eyes are able to focus, I link over to read the ones that grab me. Two very important headlines did just that, one about Hispanics, and one about the national "news" media:

Let's take them one at a time, starting with local journalists leaving beltway reporters in the dust with their mouths hanging open and their eyes popping out:

help!

All politics is local, which may explain why The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Chesterfield Observer both took David Brat’s Tea Party challenge to Mr. Cantor seriously [...] Congressional races are a mess to cover because there are so many of them... The math of covering someone who may become one of only 100 senators is far easier. [...]

No one wants to stray from the white-hot center of power for fear of being stuck in some forsaken locale when something big happens in Washington — which is why it has become one of the most overcovered places on earth.

That Beltway provincialism is now multiplied by the diminution of nonnational newspapers. The industry as a whole is about half as big as it was in 2007, with regional newspapers suffering acute cutbacks. [...] Plenty of reporters are imprisoned in cubes in Washington, but stretched news organizations aren’t eager to spend money on planes, rental cars and hotel rooms so that employees can bring back reports from the hustings. While the Internet has been a boon to modern reporting ... it tends to pin journalists at their desks.[...]

The quants took a beating on this one, partly because journalists are left to read the same partisan surveys and spotty local reporting as Mr. Cantor’s campaign staff, whose own polling had him up by more than 30 points.

That made MY eyes pop out. Well, actually, it didn't. It did, however, reinforce what I already knew about news coverage, and that's pretty frustrating. So what it really did is made me do this:

banghead gif

On to Hispanics, another frustrating report, because it examines why they don't make it to the polls, what's preventing them, and how change is inevitable. Fortunately, this piece has a happier ending:

One reason is that no demographic group is more marginalized in American elections than Hispanics. Many are ineligible to vote, while those who can vote often do not or are concentrated in noncompetitive districts and states. [...]

The explanation for the gap starts with the most basic rules of voter eligibility. [...] Eligible Hispanics are also less likely to vote than other Americans. A big part of the reason is demographic: Hispanics are younger than other Americans, and voters of all racial and ethnic backgrounds become significantly more likely to vote as they age. [...]

The power of Hispanic voters is further diluted by geography... Finally, Hispanic voters are concentrated in noncompetitive states and districts, diminishing their role in the most important races.[...]

Hispanics are earning more clout in presidential elections. It is in those elections, not in the fight for Congress, where Hispanics could ultimately force the hand of Republicans.[...] In time, the political underrepresentation of Hispanics will end. The Hispanic share of the electorate will steadily increase... But for now, Hispanic voters will struggle to get their voices heard.

Please link over and read the parts I left out. These are two very important articles that answer a few questions, pose a few more, and explain why so many of our heads are exploding on a daily basis.

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Oops! Republican: I never drew Fla. redistricting maps favoring GOP. You used my name!

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gerrymandering, redistricting via Doonesbury

Note: Headline corrected, changed.

One of the reasons it is so important to get out the vote in November is that Republicans have concocted redistricting maps to favor their party, making it nearly impossible for Democrats to win. Unless, somehow, by some miracle, Dem voter turnout is so huge that they can pull off a victory despite the gerrymandering.

That's how desperate the GOP is. They know they can't win on the issues, because they have no ideas, other than bashing President Obama, holding fake hearings on fake scandals, and obstructing every Democratic piece of legislation that comes their way. So they resort to dirty tricks like lying about redistricting.

As a friend of mine put it, "They put the mandering in gerrymandering."

gerrymander

ˈjerēˌmandər/

verb

manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.

achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency.

"a total freedom to gerrymander the results they want"

Redistricting is one thing, but cheating outright (allegedly) is quite another. Now the GOP in Florida is in legal hot water.

Via the Miami Herald:

The trial over Florida’s redrawn congressional districts took a dramatic turn Thursday when the judge closed the courtroom to the public and a private citizen — whom legislators had commended for having drawn portions of the final congressional map — testified he did not draw any maps and that his name was used without his permission. [...]

The plaintiffs, a coalition of voters led by the League of Women Voters and seven Democratic-leaning individuals, accuse legislators of allowing political operatives to conduct a “shadow” redistricting process to benefit Republican incumbents and candidates in violation of the Fair District amendments to the Florida Constitution. [...]

Posada testified he never drew the map, never submitted it, and the Gmail account in his name that was used to submit the maps was not his. [...] John Devaney, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, argued that the Florida Supreme Court has said that any partisan bias nullifies the maps under the Fair District standards. “If it’s not this case, there will never be one,” he said.

P.S. and by the way, the mystery map maker was a former member of the Florida State University College Republicans. The GOP exploited a loyal member of their own party.

And that concludes today's episode of "Republicans Eating Their Own."

eating their own

gotv 3

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VIDEO: Dems didn't lose the House in 2012. Gerrymandering won.

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gerrymandering maddow

Rachel Maddow, December 2012:

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Short version: Gerrymandering delivered disproportionate representation.

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Chuck Todd, October 2013:

But let's remember, this is a gerrymandered house. Democrats actually won the generic ballot in 2012.

More people voted for a Democratic member of Congress than a Republican one in 2012, and yet there are more congressional held Republican seats, 234.

Democrats only have 201 even though they won a majority of the vote in 2012.

When gerrymandering wins, democracy loses. We lose. All of us.

Here is the entire segment:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Thumbs Up: AFL-CIO plans to emphasize state-level elections in 2014

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thumbs up smaller

The AFL-CIO is doing exactly the right thing, the very thing Democrats need: Concentrating some badly needed support and attention on state and gubernatorial elections, not just national ones. This is where some of the most bigoted, anti-women, anti-union, and anti-civil rights laws have been passed by the GOP: state legislatures.

2014 is exactly the right time to throw some of their badly needed weight around. Unfortunately, they're not too optimistic about taking control of the House of Representatives.

Via First Read:

The focus won't come at the exclusion of efforts to help Democrats win in Congress. But four years after the 2010 elections swept to power a series of Republicans who would enact sweeping collective bargaining reforms, state-level races are at a premium.

"Right now, the Republicans are moving ferociously anti-worker, anti-women's health agendas … in the states," [Michael Podhorzer, the labor group's top political official] said. [...]

The AFL-CIO is banking on the unlikelihood that Republicans won't be able to count on the 2014 electorate resembling the more conservative-leaning makeup of the voting public in 2010. As immigration reform falters on Capitol Hill, Podhorzer argued that the 2014 electorate could even tend toward Democrats, especially as Latinos who are embittered by the failure of comprehensive immigration reform extract a toll on Republicans. [...]

But Podhorzer also acknowledged that the 2010 elections — which also saw Republican dominance in state legislative races — helped the GOP shape the decennial, Census-mandated redistricting process to their benefit.

That last sentence packs a punch. Because of redistricting, Republicans have made Democratic victories nearly impossible. Just one more reason for getting out the vote, helping Dems to register, and again, getting Progressives into office starting with the most local races on up, including school boards and city councils.

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VIDEO: Wait-- if lawmakers agree the government shutdown won't happen, then STFU, stop playing games, get back to work

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political games dems gop tic tac toe

Here's an excerpt from an op-ed by Doyle McManus in today's Los Angeles Times:

A visit to the House side of Capitol Hill these days feels a bit like an excursion to an alternate universe, where the voters are all conservative, the will of the American people is crystal clear and the only mystery is how that Obama fellow ever got reelected.

"This is all a result of redistricting," a Republican strategist told me. "The only election these guys have to worry about is the Republican primary. The only danger they face is from the right."

bingo2

Now watch this short clip:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

That happened this morning on Meet the Press:

David Gregory: I want to start with a question for all of you which is really a yes or no question. Senator Lee, is the government going to shut down?

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah): No. we all know that the government is going to be funded. The question is whether it will be funded with Obamacare or without.

Gregory: Senator Klobuchar, do you think there will be a shutdown?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)No, because I believe in the end the people of good will will come together and do the right thing and stop this political brinkmanship.

Gregory: Barbara Lee, what do you say?

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA):  No, and we're not going to allow the defunding of the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): No. As much as the president wants a shutdown, he's not going to get it.

Gregory: ... You all think somehow this is going to be avoided.

If that's the consensus, then stop playing with our lives, stop playing games, stop creating phony crisis after phony crisis to score political points and win primaries, get back to work [sic], and do something-- anything-- constructive for a change.

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New court filing: Democrats say Wisconsin redistricting files deleted at "suspicious times"

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Doonesbury speaker boehner voter suppression gerrymandering

I've been covering the "alleged" corruption and attempts at voter suppression that have "allegedly" been occurring under Governor Scott Walker's alleged watch, the most recent being: Documents were deleted from WI GOP redistricting computers, per court filing. And before that, WI officials were subpoenaed over missing computers, docs involved in redistricting that benefited Republicans.

You know, the alleged usual. Here's the alleged latest, via WisPolitics:

According to a new court filing, a forensic investigation of computers GOP lawmakers, their aides and their lawyers used in the redistricting process found some files were deleted just after a federal court ordered three witnesses to turn over documents to the plaintiffs. Other files were deleted one week before the lawmakers’ firm, Michael Best & Friedrich, turned over its redistricting files to Dems after they took control of the state Senate following a recall election. [...]

Yesterday’s filing updated the court on a forensic examination of the computers and noted the cost of the review had now reached $100,000. The plaintiffs asked the court to require the Legislature, its employees and/or its attorneys to cover the costs of the forensics.

Ohhh Scotty, you've got some reinventing to do!

lucy you've got some reinventing to do

In other news, Walker won't push for gun background checks.

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