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A Short Regional Analysis of the German Election

I find European politics interesting in part because I have less of a stake in the game.  Although I have German grandparents, to me it’s just a far-off place I visited once.  In this diary, I will be covering Germany’s 2017 election and looking at some trends.  This will not be exhaustive.  Unlike during my France diary series, I have a full-time job, so I’m not going to be writing quite as much.

 

Germany’s 2017 election was hailed as, among other things, a poor result for the two major parties, the centrist CDU (and their center-right Bavarian partners the CSU) and the center-left SPD.  Relative to most elections and to 2013, it was, but it actually was just slightly worse than 2009.  In this diary, I will look at results compared to 2013 and also to 2009.  For reference, here are the numbers for 2009, 2013, and 2017:

 

Centrist CDU and Center-Right CSU: 34%, 42%, 33%

Downscale Center-Left SPD: 23%, 26%, 21%

Upscale Center-Left Greens: 11%, 8%, 9%

Upscale Center-Right FDP: 15%, 5%, 11%

Left-Wing Linke: 12%, 9%, 9%

Populist Right AfD: 0%, 5%, 13%

 

As you can see, 2013 is really the modern aberration, with the FDP collapse and a minor Green and Linke setback leading to strong numbers for the two larger parties.

Next, here is a map of Germany:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjawt7r-cHWAhVE_WMKHXgvCC8QjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.map-of-germany.org%2Fmap.htm&psig=AFQjCNFrCa9PhnDrkdvW29yVe8J-YqYWYw&ust=1506484394913102

As only a foreigner could do, for this exercise I have combined the city-state of Bremen with Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) and the city-state of Hamburg with Schleswig-Holstein.  I am analyzing Berlin separately  from Brandenburg, however.

 

I am going to look regionally for this exercise.

Southern Germany: Bayern (Bavaria) and Baden-Wurttemberg.

Bavaria (15% of Germany) is the conservative heartland of the country.  One of four heavily Catholic regions and by far the most conservative of those four, it saw the largest drop for the CDU/CSU in the former West Germany, probably over the refugee issue.  Bavaria is traditionally a land of centrist cities and very conservative small towns, leading to a strong rightward tilt.  This didn’t change in 2017, but the CSU and their FDP allies dropped 9% from 2009 to 2017 (compared to 5% nationally) while the left dropped only 4%.  A 2-3 point PVI shift over 8 years is small in the US, but within Germany, and especially the former West Germany, that’s a large movement, and the CSU appears very concerned with this situation.  So what caused this movement?  The CSU lost a decent amount of voters to the AfD (which gained 8% from 2013 to 2017, the largest gain in the West), especially in rural districts.  In Bavaria’s 13 urban districts (out of 46), this AfD surge did not occur.  Instead, in Munich we can see the other largest trend of the election, and one not noted in Western media as far as I could tell: more left-wing SPD voters fleeing the Grand Coalition party for purer alternatives.  The SPD dropped by 10% in Munich (vs. 5% nationally) and also lost 10% in Nuremberg, the second largest Bavarian city, and the same thing happened in the college town of Erlangen.  This wasn’t due to a rightward shift, but due to a shift within the left towards the Greens and the Left.

 

Baden-Wurttemberg (13% of Germany) is the other part of Southern Germany and my grandfather’s birthplace.  Unlike in Bavaria, the CDU did not decline here versus 2009.  Instead, the SPD saw a small dip of 3%.  Perhaps the refugee issue mattered less here?  I am unsure what else would cause this difference.  The AfD did jump in many rural districts, but this jump was not as widespread as in Bavaria.  In some districts, the CDU dropped but this drop  was dispersed more broadly than in Bavaria.  A few non-rural districts saw unique results worth sharing.  The Greens, always strong in Baden-Wurttemberg, saw a particularly large surge in Ulm, as well as in Offenburg.  Tubingen, Freiburg, and Karlsruhe saw the same urban situation (although none are large cities) where SPD voters moved to alternative left choices.  Stuttgart saw strong gains for the FDP.

 

Core Western Germany: Saarland, Rhineland, Hesse, and Westphalia

The tiny Saarland (1% of Germany) is Germany’s closest equivalent to West Virginia, with a mining and left-wing history.  It has only four districts.  Two of them saw a jump for the Linke (the Linke’s best areas in West Germany are often in Saarland).  On the whole, however, the Linke has dropped from 21% in 2009 to 13% in 2017.  The SPD has only gained one-quarter of the lost Linke votes, a very poor result for them.

Rhineland (5% of Germany) saw little change over the last couple elections relative to the country.  It is home to the FDP’s worst decline in the country, 7% over 8 years.  Otherwise, things were very stable here.  Only two districts were even worth noting.  Mainz saw SPD voters leave for the Linke, as with some other urban areas.  Ludwigshafen/Frankenthal saw a substantially larger AfD jump than other Rhineland areas.  Kaiserslautern stayed left-wing, many areas stayed centrist, and the more hilly areas stayed conservative.

Hesse (7% of Germany) contains Frankfurt and a bunch of rural areas.  It too saw a significant FDP decline, but not as large as in the Rhineland.  Hesse is most notable for containing 4 of the 7 most representative German electoral districts (Bavaria has 2 and Berlin has the other 1).  Hesse saw modest changes: the rural, left-wing north saw little PVI shifting, while the AfD gained in the more blue-collar Frankfurt suburbs.  In Wiesbaden and Frankfurt, the SPD – Linke shift occurred once again.  In left-wing Darmstadt,  the SPD lost voters to both the Linke and the AfD, similar to what happened to Labour in the UK heartlands.  Finally, Frankfurt (unsurprisingly as a financial hub) saw some of the FDP’s best gains nationally, 9% in a few areas.

Westphalia (21% of Germany) is historically the heart of Germany’s industry and also of the SPD.  For the sake of analysis, I will divide it between the Ruhr industrial area (including Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Krefeld, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, and other areas) and the outer parts of Westphalia (including Aachen, Munster, and smaller areas).  Inner Westphalia is about 60% of Westphalia and is very left-wing, historically (for Germany, which means like 65% left).

Inner Westphalia saw a “Trump Democrat” effect: in most districts, the SPD lost 5% or more to the AfD.  This particularly happened in the S+15 or so parts: Duisburg, Essen, Bochum, Dortmund, and other neighboring areas.  In other words, the less glamorous parts (although none of the area is that glamorous).  The largest increase came in Gelsenkirchen, which went from 59% left parties, 4% AfD to 46% left, 17% AfD.  Cologne and Bonn saw the same SPD – Linke effect as places like Munich, a sign of more educated left-wing voters.  In the other parts of Inner Westphalia, neither the heartland nor the outer area, the FDP saw its strongest national gains: 14% in north Dusseldorf, 13% in south Krefeld and southwest Cologne, and 12% in some other districts.

Outer Westphalia saw good gains for the FDP too: many rural parts of Outer Westphalia saw double-digit gains, led by 13% in the rural constituency of Rheinisch-Bergischer.  Munster saw voters move to the Linke from the SPD, while Paderborn, the most conservative part of Westphalia, saw a general CDU drop with no one party being the major beneficiary.

Northern Germany: Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and the City-States

Lower Saxony and Bremen (11% of Germany) is a flat, centrist region where the SPD generally wins due to CDU clustering.  In 2013, it was the only part of the former West Germany where the left beat the right; even in Westphalia this was not the case.  However, Lower Saxony is the second-best area in the nation for CDU gains over the last eight years, following only Brandenburg; given Germany’s stability, this actually only means a 2% increase.  From 2013 to 2017, Lower Saxony’s districts saw three potential trends.  The first trend was little change.  This trend occurred in about half of the districts, especially the more rural ones.  The AfD is very weak here; their 9% showing was tied for second-worst among Germany’s states.  However, there were some areas which saw good movement towards the AfD: a handful of traditionally red rural turf saw this movement, as did Hannover, the state capital.  In some other red districts, especially in Bremen and Oldenburg, the SPD saw broad decline, with the Linke picking up some of those voters but others leaving the left altogether.

Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg (6% of Germany) is the worst AfD region at only 8%.  However, it has also seen a (relatively) large SPD decline over the last eight years, 4% in total.  Hamburg saw significant SPD decline this past election, with the western part of the city seeing a Linke boost that partially made up for it, while the eastern part saw less SPD decline but also less Linke gaining.  Schleswig-Holstein itself is interesting because the Green party, traditionally strong among the urban middle class and in the rural southwest of the country, made serious inroads here.  Despite a so-so national electoral performance, they gained 4-5% in much of Schleswig-Holstein.  This occurred in rural and urban areas.  The two cities, Kiel and Lubeck, also saw some gains for the Linke, as in most German cities

The Former East Germany

As always in German elections, the former East Germany was a very different story from the West.

In Thuringia/Saxony-Anhalt (6% of Germany, combined here due to low population) there were massive AfD gains, from 5% in 2013 to 22% this week.  In a way, East Germany is less interesting to analyze: the AfD took voters from everybody and that’s about it.  In this case, compared to 2009, the CDU dropped 1%, the SPD 3%, the Greens 2%, the FDP 2%, and the Linke 13% (!).  So what we see here is the German equivalent of the Sanders-Trump voters in large numbers.  They went from the party considered at the leftmost end of the spectrum to the party on the far right.  That happened all over the region.  The SPD voters turned out to be the least infatuated with the AfD, broadly speaking.  In many districts, their vote totals stayed nearly even (dropping 2-3% between 2013 and 2017 in many places) while the CDU fell double-digits.  In three constituencies, the AfD scored an impressive 25% of the vote or higher.

Tiny Mecklenburg (2% of Germany) is very similar to the other small East German regions and I don’t actually know what else to say about it, so apologies to any Mecklenburgers reading this here but I got nothing.  Actually, I do have one thing.  In Angela Merkel’s home district, Vorpommern-Rugen-Vorpommern-Greifswald I (yes, really), the CDU dropped 18%, tied for second-largest among all non-Saxon constituencies (she fell 19% in Zollernalb-Sigmaringen in Baden-Wurttemberg).

Brandenburg (3% of Germany) was the SPD’s only non-urban win in 2009, but the SPD has dropped a lot since then, 7%, more than anywhere else.  Otherwise, it is a typical East German region, with the exception of Potsdam, just outside Berlin, where the Linke barely lost votes, which is very unusual for East Germany this time around.  Here too the AfD captured 25% or more in 2 rural districts.

Berlin (4% of Germany) is always the most left-wing part of the country, but it also has the nation’s most representative district politically.  In western Berlin, there was little change relative to the country.  In central Berlin, the Linke gained at the expense of the SPD, as in other middle-class urban areas.  And in East Berlin, the AfD gained from basically all comers.  Overall, the change since 2009 in Berlin has been worst for the Greens (-4%) and the FDP (-3%).  It is one of three regions (along with Westphalia and Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein) where the Linke did not lose ground over that time.

Saxony (5% of Germany) was the AfD’s best region, and they earned a 27% finish there, good for a narrow first place over the CDU.  The main difference?  In other East Germany states, the CDU dropped no more than 2% over 2009.  In Saxony, they dropped 9%.  Why is Saxony better for the AfD?  One potentially true, potentially out-there theory is that it’s the only part of East Germany that could not illicitly receive West Germany television broadcasts, making it the most isolated part of East Germany.  And isolated areas tend to be more nativist.  I can’t say for sure that it’s the reason but it’s a compelling theory, at least, for why my grandmother’s home region voted so strongly for the AfD.  Otherwise, there really isn’t much to say.  In rural areas everyone fled main parties for the AfD.  In Dresden, the left stayed firm (as in bigger cities the left is less culturally conservative), while the CDU left for the AfD in large numbers.  In Leipzig, the Linke stayed strong (Leipzig has a reputation as a city full of hipsters, although it’s only partially true) while both SPD and CDU voters left for the AfD.

And that’s that.  My diary is complete.  Hope you learned things.

Presidential Results by Current New York City Council District

New York City is broken up into 51 City Council Districts. Republicans currently hold 3 of them – districts 50 and 51 on Staten Island, and 32 in Queens.

I’ve estimated the percentage of the vote Clinton, Trump and others won in 2016 using the CCD and precinct shapefiles. This may not be perfect, as the shapefiles are not perfect, and I had to allocate precinct fragments to the larger entity, which might not be correct. However, as you can see on the map below the jump, according to my estimates, Trump won 4 NYC CCDs – Republican-leaning 50 and 51 on Staten Island and the heavily-Orthodox Jewish 44 and 48 in Brooklyn:

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California Presidential PVIs, 1920-2016

Throughout the early 20th century, California was solidly Republican. In the 1920s Democratic seats in the state legislature numbered in the single digits. Republican candidates for governor in 1926 and 1930 won over 70% of the vote. From 1899 to 1932 the only Democrat elected statewide was James D. Phelan in 1914. The only other non-Republicans elected statewide in that period (also in 1914) were Progressives: Lieutenant Governor John M. Eshleman, who died in office and was replaced by Republican William Stephens, and Treasurer/future Governor Friend Richardson, who won reelection in 1918 as a Republican. Why was California such a crimson red state a century ago?

The Bay Area and Southern California had roughly equal shares of the state’s population, 35% and 37% respectively, in the 1920s. These 15 counties, containing over 70% of the state’s population, all had PVIs over R+10. The Central Valley, mountain, and other coastal counties mostly leaned Republican early in the decade but became Democratic later.

Labor unions, believe it or not, played only a minor role in state politics early on, with many progressive measures taking on corrupt machines and with organized labor having suffered a setback from the Preparedness Day Bombing in 1916. The Progressive Party embraced labor unions around that time, which led to a great reduction in their political power in the late 1910s. Farm labor in the Central Valley was not unionized until the Okies in the 1930s began demanding better working conditions.

The 1930s saw the Great Depression and a booming population, especially in Southern California. The film industry in Los Angeles insulated the area from income losses. Southern California overall saw its population more than double, pumping up its share of the state’s population to almost half. The area’s share surpassed 50% in 1940 and hasn’t looked back since. California became a swing state from these new voters, and would remain that way until the 1990s.

Even as the suburbs, and to a lesser extent the cities, filled up with newcomers from other states to work in the expanding aerospace and defense industries in the 1950s and 1960s, California remained a swing state. Through the late 1950s, Republicans held control of the state legislature, having held a majority in the State Senate throughout the 1930s and 1940s and only losing the Assembly to a short-lived Democratic majority from 1936 to 1942. In 1958, Democrats gained a lot of ground due to significant gains in urban areas and the abolition of cross-filing. The party would win state offices more often than not, hold at least one Senate seat and at least half of the House seats, and hold majorities in the state legislature almost the whole time. Even when they were in the minority, they held the highest possible number of seats for the minority, 19 in the Senate and 39 in the Assembly.

The Bay Area was beginning to trend Democratic, but by this point Southern California held more than twice as many people and remained Republican due to Orange County conservatism, military influence in San Diego, and weak labor union influence outside Los Angeles. Due to Republicans also still doing well in the Bay Area outside San Francisco and Oakland, California remained Republican at the presidential level through the 1980s. Even though California voted for LBJ in 1964, it was slightly to the right of the country as a whole. The state overall began trending leftward in the 1980s with the rise in power of public sector unions, with the signing of the Dills Act in 1977.

The 1990s saw a dramatic realignment all over, which continues to this day. Formerly Democratic counties in the Central Valley and mountains turned red (in some cases deep red), with Republican percentages surpassing Orange County (one of the top 5 GOP counties in the state from 1920 to 1988). The Bay Area became almost uniformly Democratic as the tech industry boomed. Southern California also became more Democratic when the aerospace industry crashed after the Cold War, resulting in a large-scale exodus of white voters. The suburbs there began trending Democratic while the urban cores turned deep blue, which showed as Democrats expanded their caucuses in the U.S. House and state legislature with wins in those suburban seats. With wins in suburbs in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Diego, Ventura County, and the Inland Empire under their belts, it is no surprise that California Democrats now have their eyes on Orange County, namely the districts Hillary Clinton carried. I am not that great at predicting future elections, especially with Top 2, but I think 2018 and 2020 will show if the Democratic vote at the top of the ticket last year will show up downballot, especially with these Clinton-Republican seats getting a lot of focus this early in the cycle. I think the best way to gauge Democratic strength with Top 2 is to compare the Democratic and Republican shares in the first round in June.

Here are the PVIs for the state and each county in table format.

Here are visuals of the California PVIs statewide and by county.

Hypothetical NC Senate Map

North Carolina needs to draw new legislative maps. I expect legislators to draw something like this for the NC Senate. Currently, the GOP controls the upper chamber by a 35-15 margin.

Descriptions of the proposed districts, along with 2016 election data, are below. Feedback would definitely be appreciated! Please let me know if there’s anything that could enhance this map. Thanks!

1 – Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, Washington
OPEN SEAT
+13% Trump
+12% Burr
+11% McCrory

2 – Carteret, Craven, Pamlico
Norm Sanderson (R)
+32% Trump
+33% Burr
+30% McCrory

3 – Beaufort, Bertie, Martin, Northampton Vance, Warren
Bill Cook (R) AND Erica Smith-Ingram (D)
+9% Clinton
+8% Ross
+8% Cooper

4 – Edgecombe, Halifax, Wilson
OPEN SEAT
+19% Clinton
+19% Ross
+22% Cooper

5 – Greene, Pitt
Don Davis (D)
+6% Clinton
+2% Ross
+6% Cooper

6 – Jones, Onslow
Harry Brown (R)
+34% Trump
+35% Burr
+33% McCrory

7 – Lenoir, Wayne
Louis Pate (R)
+9% Trump
+10% Burr
+10% McCrory

8 – Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender
Bill Rabon (R)
+24% Trump
+25% Burr
+18% McCrory

9 – New Hanover
Michael Lee (R)
+6% Trump
+9% Burr
+3% Cooper

10 – Duplin, Johnston, Sampson
Brent Jackson (R)
+23% Trump
+23% Burr
+20% McCrory

11 – Johnston, Nash
Angela Bryant (D)
+15% Trump
+15% Burr
+10% McCrory

12 – Harnett, Johnston, Lee
Ronald Rabin (R)
+23% Trump
+23% Burr
+18% McCrory

13 – Columbus, Robeson
Danny Britt (R)
+11% Trump
+9% Burr
+11% McCrory

14 – Wake
Dan Blue (D)
+43% Clinton
+40% Ross
+43% Cooper

15 – Wake
John Alexander (R)
+40% Clinton
+31% Ross
+41% Cooper

16 – Wake
Jay Chaudhuri (D)
+28% Clinton
+19% Ross
+29% Cooper

17 – Wake
Tamara Barringer (R)
+3% Trump
+10% Burr
+0.2% McCrory

18 – Franklin, Wake
Chad Barefoot (R)
+8% Trump
+13% Burr
+5% McCrory

19 – Cumberland, Hoke
Ben Clark (D) AND Wesley Meredith (R)
+7% Trump
+10% Burr
+8% McCrory

20 – Durham
Floyd McKissick (D)
+77% Clinton
+71% Ross
+74% Cooper

21 – Cumberland
OPEN
+44% Clinton
+41% Ross
+40% Cooper

22 – Durham, Granville, Person
Mike Woodard (D)
+15% Clinton
+11% Ross
+16% Cooper

23 – Orange
Valerie Foushee (D)
+39% Clinton
+33% Ross
+39% Cooper

24 – Alamance, Guilford
Rick Gunn (R)
+16% Trump
+18% Burr
+10% McCrory

25 – Anson, Moore, Richmond, Scotland
Scott McInnis (R)
+15% Trump
+15% Burr
+11% McCrory

26 – Caswell, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry
Phil Berger (R)
+37% Trump
+37% Burr
+27% Cooper

27 – Guilford
Trudy Wade (R)
+9% Trump
+15% Burr
+2% McCrory

28 – Guilford
Gladys Robinson (D)
+61% Clinton
+59% Ross
+62% Cooper

29 – Guilford, Randolph
Jerry Tillman (R)
+33% Trump
+32% Burr
+25% McCrory

30 – Alleghany, Ashe, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes
Deanna Ballard (R) AND Shirley Randleman (R)
+37% Trump
+36% Burr
+26% McCrory

31 – Forsyth, Yadkin
Joyce Krawiec (R)
+28% Trump
+33% Burr
+20% McCrory

32 – Forsyth
Paul Lowe (D)
+44% Clinton
+39% Ross
+46% Cooper

33 – Davidson, Montgomery
Cathy Dunn (R)
+47% Trump
+47% Burr
+37% McCrory

34 – Rowan, Stanly
OPEN SEAT
+42% Trump
+40% Burr
+35% McCrory

35 – Union
Tommy Tucker (R)
+31% Trump
+35% Burr
+29% McCrory

36 – Cabarrus
Paul Newton (R)
+22% Trump
+24% Burr
+18% McCrory

37 – Mecklenburg
Jeff Jackson (D)
+60% Clinton
+54% Ross
+57% Cooper

38 – Mecklenburg
Joel Ford (D)
+54% Clinton
+46% Ross
+51% Cooper

39 – Mecklenburg
Dan Bishop (R)
+1% Trump
+12% Burr
+2% McCrory

40 – Mecklenburg
Joyce Waddell (D)
+54% Clinton
+47% Ross
+49% Cooper

41 – Mecklenburg
Jeff Tarte (R)
+4% Clinton
+4% Burr
+7% Cooper

42 – Alexander, Catawba
Andy Wells (R)
+43% Trump
+42% Burr
+35% McCrory

43 – Gaston
Kathy Harrington (R)
+31% Trump
+31% Burr
+26% McCrory

44 – Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln
David Curtis (R)
+41% Trump
+40% Burr
+35% McCrory

45 – Iredell, Yadkin
OPEN SEAT
+42% Trump
+42% Burr
+33% McCrory

46 – Avery, Burke, Caldwell
Warren Daniel (R)
+47% Trump
+44% Burr
+37% McCrory

47 – Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Yancey
Ralph Hise (R)
+44% Trump
+37% Burr
+30% McCrory

48 – Buncombe, Henderson, Transylvania
Chuck Edwards (R)
+28% Trump
+26% Burr
+17% McCrory

49 – Buncombe
Terry Van Duyn (D)
+25% Clinton
+24% Ross
+31% Cooper

50 – Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain
Jim Davis (R)
+35% Trump
+30% Burr
+19% McCrory

How Trump can save the 2020 census

Please let me know what you think of my latest article on the importance of a new and different appointment as census director.

Under the Obama administration, the Arab-American Institute and other Arab-American organizations supported the Census Bureau’s effort to add a separate Middle East and North African (MENA) racial category to the upcoming 2020 Census. Democrats quietly but effectively sowed the seeds of a politicized Census Bureau by creating new racial categories, while seeking to reduce the “White” percentage that would ultimately be counted in the 2020 Census. The implementation of which would be used to create ethnic Congressional districts favorable to the election of Democrats and increase the number of ballots required to be distributed in foreign languages, such as Arabic.

Will Trump Save the 2020 Census?

Population Growth Patterns in the New York CSA, 1900-2016

The long-term growth trend of the New York City Combined Statistical Area (NYC CSA) has generally been robust.  As the gif map below the fold shows, it has grown every decade since 1900 except the 1970s:

Warning: This diary will be graphics-intensive. Clicking on the gif maps should bring you to my hosting source, makeagif.com. You can stop, forward and reverse the maps by right-clicking on the map there, and selecting “Show Controls”.

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No, Partisan Gerrymandering Did Not Cost Democrats Seats in the House of Representatives: A State-by-State Analysis

Many commentators have claimed that the current Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, or much of it, is the result of gerrymandering.  Recently, for example, the Associated Press prepared an “analysis” that purported to show that Republicans won 22 additional House seats due to gerrymandering. The key piece of evidence cited for this claim is that Democrats won have won a higher share of the popular vote than seats in the House. For example, in 2016, the Republicans won 49.1% of House votes (to 48% for Democrats), but won 55.4% of House seats (to 45.6% for Democrats). Because Republicans controlled redistricting in more states than Democrats (the argument goes), the redistricting process is responsible for most of the Republican’s majority in Congress.

The competing argument is that “clustering” is responsible for these anomalies. That is, Democrats tend to be clustered in urban areas that typically vote over 70% for Democrats in contested elections.  Republicans, by contrast, tend to live in suburban and rural/small city areas that favor Republican candidates reliably, but not as overwhelmingly as urban areas favor Democrats.  Thus, under single-member district maps that are drawn to maximize compactness (i.e., that keep urban areas within a single district and do not extend from urban areas out into the countryside), Republicans will have an advantage in U.S. House elections.

In addition, Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act guarantees that minorities will have the opportunity to elect candidates of their choice, where minority voters are sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district.  Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent, this will typically mean that a state must draw districts according to the “minority-majority” concept—a single minority group that engages in bloc voting must account for over 50% of the voting age population within a given single-member district. Because minorities tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, maps that comply with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act will group minorities together, typically making surrounding districts safe for a Republican candidate.

I have decided to test these competing hypotheses by going state-by-state and drawing districts that comply with traditional redistricting criteria, and judging whether the changes would have made any difference in the outcome in House elections.  I have found that the net changes, when adjusting for departures from neutral criteria, would have elected more Republicans. That is, gerrymandering probably cost Republicans 5 or so seats in the House.

How is this so? Democrats had two of the most successful gerrymanders of this cycle (Illinois and Maryland). Those two states netted the Democrats about eight seats, when compared to neutral districts. Further, supposedly non-partisan commissions in Arizona and California produced Democrat-friendly maps that shifted five seats to the Democrats. Meanwhile, in the two largest states were Republicans were in complete control of the process (Florida and Texas), Republicans faced hurdles in gerrymandering to the extent of their desires. Florida’s Fair Districts Amendment, enforced via state court review, meant that Democrats gained four seats from the Florida redistricting process, with Republicans losing two seats. In Texas, a Voting Rights Act lawsuit stopped Texas’s attempt to allocate all four of Texas’s additional seats to the Republicans, and the two additional seats were split 2-2. In Virginia, a federal court lawsuit also undid part of a Republican gerrymander, handing an additional seat to the Democrats. Republicans certainly did gerrymander in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but these states were trending Republican anyway (they were the key parts of the Trump coalition). Gerrymandering in these states probably netted Republicans two seats or so.  Add that to Republican gerrymanders in Texas, Georgia, Virginia, Utah and North Carolina (8 seats total shifting partisan control), and you have a net of 10 seats or so for Republicans from gerrymandering alone. That is only two seats more than Democrats secured via gerrymandering in Maryland and Illinois. Clean up jagged lines in Connecticut, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York, and you end up with a +5 Democratic advantage from redistricting.

My analysis confirms the “clustering” hypothesis. Democrats are concentrated disproportionately in urban areas. Any allocation of seats that respects “neutral redistricting criteria” (i.e., communities of interest, not breaking county and city boundaries, obeying the Voting Rights Act) was going to yield substantial Republican majorities in the House in the years 2012-2018.

Under the lines below, Republicans would have won 241 seats in 2012 (a gain of 9), 245 seats in 2014 (even), and 248 seats in 2016 (a gain of 7).

“Neutral Districting Criteria”

It is notoriously difficult to define what is “neutral redistricting criteria.”  It is not impossible, however.  In descending order of importance, I have attempted to: maintain equal population in each district; comply with the Voting Rights Act; group together “communities of interest”; respect county lines and other municipal boundaries; ensure that each district is compact and has regular-looking boundaries; and preserve the cores of existing districts.  With the exception of adherence to the equal population and compliance with the VRA, I have not mechanistically favored one criteria over the other.  Nor do I think it makes sense to do so: there are too many factors at play in the process.  Courts and commissions that have attempted to draw non-partisan maps have similarly refused to follow a strict order-of-operations.  I maintain, however, that all of the resulting districts could have been drawn by a neutral body (such as a court or an independent commission) that was forced to explain its reasoning for choosing various boundaries in non-political terms.

Alabama

My Alabama districts are below. I have mostly cleaned up the lines prepared by the Alabama legislature. Montgomery is no longer split between three districts, for example. It is theoretically possible to draw a second African American majority district, but this would require creating a splitting Mobile– that is, creating an additional gerrymander. The 7th district had to add about 70,000 people, and the most logical place to go, for community-of-interest purposes, was Montgomery. The result is a 6-1 Republican split, and no change.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 682838 63% 34.6% 61.3% 37.9% 68.5% 25.7% 2.5% 1.3% 1.1%
2 682636 64.9% 33.0% 62.9% 36.4% 66.5% 27.7% 3.0% 1.3% 0.5%
3 682997 65.8% 31.8% 62.8% 36.1% 72.2% 23.4% 2.2% 1.0% 0.3%
4 682756 81.4% 16.4% 75.8% 23.0% 87.1% 6.0% 4.7% 0.4% 0.8%
5 683019 64.7% 31.3% 63.9% 34.9% 76.1% 16.3% 3.9% 1.6% 0.7%
6 682492 67.5% 29.4% 71% 28% 77.2% 15.7% 4.3% 1.8% 0.3%
7 682998 30.9% 67.5% 29.4% 70.1% 38% 58.5% 2.1% 0.5% 0.2%

Arizona

Arizona gained a seat in redistricting, and the process was controlled by an independent commission.  But Arizona’s redistricting commission, in taking “competitiveness” into account in drawing districts, essentially produced a Democratic gerrymander, with its ostensibly non-partisan chairperson siding with commission Democrats in drawing the new maps.

Removing politics from the process would have resulted in a very different map.  For example, in the enacted map, Yavapai, Gila, and Yuma counties are unnecessarily split between districts; in my map, each county of those counties is kept intact.  In the enacted map, Tucson’s Pima County is split between three different districts, as is Pinal County; in my map, both counties are split between only two districts (and Pinal is split only so that an Indian reservations would not be split between districts).  The Commission’s Ninth District (drawn to be competitive between the parties) awkwardly combines Tempe, western Mesa and Chandler with precincts in Scottsdale and Phoenix via an arm-like appendage; in my map, the Maricopa County districts have much more regular shapes. This district has been held by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema since 2012.

In drawing my plan, I preserved the core of each of the eight previously-existing districts, which were drawn by the previous independent redistricting commission using good-government principles (the previous commission does not appear to have taken “competitiveness” into account to nearly the same extent that the 2012 commission did). In order to keep Pinal in one district, I split Flagstaff from the rest of Coconino County. I maintained two Hispanic-majority districts. I made the Seventh more compact by removing Yuma and extending it further into Phoenix. I also maintained a substantial Native American population in my First District.

The net result would be two additional districts for Republicans, for a split of 7-2. Adding the rest of Pinal County and removing Flagstaff from the First District means it would have been won by a Republican, if not in 2012 then in 2014. Keeping the Phoenix districts in their previous configuration means a Republican would have been elected in place of Kyrsten Sinema in 2012.

NET CHANGE: R +2 

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 710071 50.7% 43.6% 53.4% 44.9% 55.5% 2.6% 18.8% 1.5% 20.5%
2 710476 57.1% 38.0% 60.7% 37.9% 74.0% 3.8% 17.1% 3.0% 0.7%
3 710373 50.4% 44.4% 57.5% 40.8% 76.7% 2.6% 14.6% 3.5% 1.1%
4 710413 23.1% 71.3% 27.0% 71.2% 30.3% 9.0% 54.2% 2.8% 2.4%
5 710069 44.7% 49.3% 52.9% 45.7% 71.5% 3.6% 16.7% 4.5% 2.2%
6 710064 56.6% 37.5% 62.8% 35.6% 75.6% 3.0% 14.7% 4.6% 0.8%
7 709954 28.5% 66.4% 32.9% 65.4% 46.3% 4.4% 52.3% 2.5% 3.1%
8 709904 47.7% 46.6% 52.9% 45.4% 72.9% 3.2% 18.7% 2.9% 0.7%
9 710693 62.2% 33.0% 61.7% 36.5% 71.6% 1.1% 22.6% 1.2% 2.2%

Arkansas

I have simply cleaned up the Arkansas’s legislatures lines below. This does not yield a change in partisan makeup.

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 729463 65.0% 30.2% 61.0% 36.3% 80.4% 15.6% 2.2% 0.5% 0.4%
2 729192 52.4% 41.7% 54.7% 42.9% 70.3% 19.6% 4.0% 1.4% 0.4%
3 728805 64.2% 31.3% 65.5% 31.6% 82.1% 2.2% 9.9% 2.9% 1.3%
4 728458 63.7% 31.8% 61.3% 36.4% 74.4% 19.3% 4.1% 0.6% 0.6%

California

California did not gain or lose any of its seats in 2012, and, for the first time in its history, its lines were drawn by a non-partisan Citizens’ Redistricting Commission.  As documented by ProPublica, Democratic operatives were able to covertly influence the workings of the Citizens’ Commission by creating sham “citizen’s groups” to push for districts favored by Democrats.  Despite this, however, I do not think that the Commission’s plan unduly favored Democrats.  Although it did not gain or lose any seats, there were significant population shifts in California that required extensive redrawing of the districts. Moreover, Republicans have been losing favor in California for many years among voters in urban areas.  Coastal Northern California (including San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area) has not elected a Republican to Congress since the 1990s, for example. The Central Valley has trended Republican, but the Commission added a new Central Valley district that elected a Republican (David Valdao) in 2012, and preserved Republican incumbents in the other Central Valley districts.

In metro Los Angeles, where Republicans are not competitive in urban areas but retain some strength in the suburbs, the Commission eliminated one Republican seat (the Diamond Bar-based seat formerly held by Gary Miller) and severely weakened Republicans in two others (the Ventura County-based district of Elton Gallegly and the district held by David Dreier, which stretched from the San Gabriel Valley to Rancho Cucamonga).   But Gallegly had benefitted from egregious gerrymandering in the neighboring 23d, which had siphoned off the most Democratic parts of Ventura County. And the Commission sought, quite reasonably, to preserve significant Hispanic majorities in the six Los Angeles-area districts held by Hispanics  (most of which lost population relative to other parts of the state), while also creating new Hispanic-majority seats in Riverside County and the San Fernando Valley, and an Asian-plurality district in the San Gabriel Valley.  There was no way that the Commission could have accomplished all of these goals while preserving Miller and Dreier’s seats, both of which had substantial Hispanic and Asian populations.

It would have been possible, in theory, to draw compact districts that would have favored incumbent Republicans Dan Lungren (from the Sacramento area) and Brian Bilbray (from the San Diego area) to a greater extent than those drawn by the Commission (not so for fellow Republican Mary Bono Mack, whose Riverside County seat could not have been measurably strengthened for her without sacrificing its compactness).  But the changes would have been slight, and the fact is that Lungren and Bilbray, like Mack, lost close elections for reasons having nothing to do with redistricting: the Democrats recruited strong candidates; congressional Republicans were unpopular; and Obama thrashed Romney in California, creating a headwind at the top of the ticket.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Colorado

Colorado did not gain or lose any seats in 2012.  In Colorado, control of the legislature was split between the parties, and no agreement was reached on a map.  That meant the matter went to a federal district judge, who chose between a Republican-proposed map that made minimal changes in the districts and a Democratic map that made very significant changes to the districts with the goal of making the Sixth District, held by Republican Mike Coffman, more Democratic and hence more winnable.  Inexplicably, the judge chose the Democratic plan, based in part on the fact that it would make the Sixth District more competitive.  As in Arizona, then, consideration of “partisan balance” injected partisan politics into the redistricting process in Colorado.

The Democratic plan, however, would not have been produced by a commission or a court tasked with drawing the lines in the first instance on a non-political basis.  Colorado’s previous map was itself drawn by a federal court, and the resulting districts were compact, maintained the cores of existing districts, and preserved communities of interest. The previous map created an urban Denver district; two suburban Denver districts; a district combining Boulder with Denver suburbs and some rural mountain counties; a Colorado Springs district; a Western Slope district, and an Eastern Slope district.  Population changes during the 2000s did not require that the districts be significantly redrawn.

My map preserves the cores of the pre-2012 districts, while cleaning up some of the unnecessary county splits. So, Boulder County is entirely in the Second District; Weld County entirely in the Third District; and Adams County entirely in the Seventh District. The Seventh District loses its portion of Jefferson County and includes nearly all of Aurora, increasing the district’s Hispanic percentage significantly.

There would be no net partisan change, although the Sixth District would get much safer for Republican Mike Coffman.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 718493 21.2% 71.0% 26.8% 71.0% 60.0% 8.2% 26.0% 3.4% 0.6%
2 718638 32.9% 58.2% 37.5% 59.9% 82.5% 0.8% 11.9% 3.0% 0.4%
3 719022 52.0% 40.0% 51.8% 45.8% 75.0% 0.7% 21.1% 0.7% 1.3%
4 718545 50.4% 40.3% 51.5% 45.2% 79.6% 1.2% 15.7% 1.7% 0.5%
5 717872 57.2% 33.2% 59.1% 38.3% 77.0% 5.2% 12.0% 2.8% 0.7%
6 718360 50.3% 41.2% 54.5% 42.6% 86.1% 1.8% 6.7% 3.8% 0.3%
7 718266 36.4% 54.4% 38.3% 59.1% 56.8% 7.8% 28.7% 4.4% 0.6%

 

Connecticut

Connecticut did not gain or lose any seats in 2012.  In Connecticut, a bipartisan commission that included politcos from both parties was not able to reach an agreement on redrawing the lines.  With the commission deadlocked, the Connecticut Supreme Court appointed a Special Master to draw new boundaries.  But in a reversal of the outcome in Colorado, the Supreme Court required the Special Master to draw a least-change map, as had been favored by Democrats, rejecting Republican calls to make significant changes.

Once again, the process in Connecticut resulted in a map that never would have been drawn by a court or commission.  The reason is that Connecticut’s previous congressional map, which the new map preserved almost entirely, was a blatant gerrymander, drawn as part of a bipartisan compromise in 2001.  With the state losing a congressional district, the Commission drew a map that attempted to create a “fair fight” Fifth District between a Democratic and Republican incumbent, while protecting the remaining incumbents.  The map extended the Fifth District, based in Northwestern Connecticut, into New Britain, outside of Hartford, because the Republican incumbent lived in New Britain.  So that the Fifth District could take in a significant part of the Democratic incumbent’s hometown of Waterbury, several small towns in Litchfield County were added to the Hartford-based First District.  The result was to give both the First and Fifth grotesque shapes and to split communities of interest.

By 2010, all of Connecticut’s representatives were Democrats, and the inclusion of heavily Democratic New Britain in the Fifth District benefitted Democrats.  With the Fifth District coming open due to incumbent Democrat Chris Murphy running for the U.S. Senate, Commission Republicans pushed to smooth out the lines, while Democrats sought, successfully, to preserve the 2001 gerrymandering of the First and Fifth Districts.

The map I have drawn better maintains communities of interest, avoids splitting towns, and results in more normally-shaped districts.  It keeps all of Litchfield County intact within the Fifth District.  Unlike the court-approved map, it does not split Waterbury between districts, and it loses its arm into New Britain (I also swapped in Bristol and swapped out Meriden to make the boundaries more compact).  The First District is now entirely within Hartford County.

As a result of the changes, the Fifth District becomes 3-4% more Republican, and would have elected Republican Andrew Roraback over Democrat Elizabeth Esty (Esty won by 51%-49% in 2012, with her entire margin of victory coming from New Britain.) The other districts would not have changed partisan hands.

NET CHANGE: R +1

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 714925 35.3% 60.4% 34.6% 64.3% 65.4% 13.7% 14.9% 4.4% 0.1%
2 714504 45.8% 48.7% 42.6% 55.9% 85.8% 3.7% 5.7% 3.0% 0.4%
3 714745 39.4% 56.9% 35.3% 63.6% 72.1% 11.5% 11.1% 3.8% 0.2%
4 714857 34.6% 61.6% 42.0% 57.1% 63.3% 11.4% 18.4% 5.1% 0.1%
5 715066 49.8% 45.9% 49.3% 49.5% 84.2% 4.4% 8.0% 2.1% 0.1%

Florida

Florida passed the Fair Districts Amendment in 2010, which mandates that its congressional districts be compact, preserve minority voting strength, respect city and county boundaries where possible, and not favor or disfavor incumbents or political parties.  The Fair Districts Amendment severely limited what the Republicans could do to help themselves in redistricting Florida’s congressional seats (which had been subject to a Republican gerrymander in 2002). A subsequent ruling prior to the 2016 elections limited any gains further. It forced Republicans to draw the black-majority Fifth District as a Tallahassee-t0-Jacksonville district, as opposed to the previous Jacksonville-to-Orlando configuration. It also forced Republicans to redraw the St. Petersburg-based 13th District and Tampa-based 14th District. The changes resulted in the loss of three seats for the Republicans.

The closest race was the Seventh District. It became just a couple points more Democratic. But the changes led the Democrats to recruit a quality candidate and heavily target the race. Although the Seventh trended away from Donald Trump in 2016, it is questionable whether the Democrats would have gained this seat if it had the same boundaries since 2012. It would have been more difficult to recruit a candidate to face the entrenched incumbent Mica, and Mica would have been familiar to voters throughout the district. Mica won by enough in 2012 and 2014 to suggest that he would not have been in danger in those years, even with the modified lines.

The current Florida map has been heavily vetted by the courts to ensure that it is not a gerrymander. Therefore, I will not attempt to improve upon it.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Georgia

 Georgia redistricted mid-decade during the 2000s, after an extreme Democratic attempt at gerrymandering the state’s legislative and congressional districts was dismantled under court order.  In a good-government mood, Republicans redrew the congressional lines in a very fair manner, splitting few counties, preserving communities of interest, and drawing three African American majority districts, as well as two districts where African Americans comprised over 40% of the population.

In 2012, Georgia gained a seat, and the Republicans in control of redistricting implemented a far more aggressive map. The Republicans targeted John Barrow’s 12th District, lowering the district’s African American percentage by about 8 points, from 41% to 33% and replacing its Democratic Savannah portions with Republican Augusta suburbs.  This plan resulted in Barrow’s loss in 2014 to Republican Rick Allen.

I re-did the Georgia map to make it adhere more closely to the pre-2012 map.  I restored the 12th and 1st districts to their configuration prior to redistricting, boosting the African American percentage in the 12th back up to 41% and restoring rural and small-city southeast Georgia to the 1st District.  I placed northern Augusta and its suburbs back in the 10th, and pushed the 10th District northward so that it no longer splits the Athens area.

The layout in Atlanta is more-or-less dictated by the need to maintain three African-American majority seats.

NET CHANGE: D +1

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 692010 63.9% 33.4% 63.4% 35.6% 68.8% 23.2% 5.2% 1.4% 0.3%
2 691666 42.8% 55.5% 40.3% 59.1% 45.0% 48.9% 3.9% 1.0% 0.3%
3 692225 63.3% 33.8% 64.9% 34.0% 69.7% 22.8% 4.1% 2.1% 0.2%
4 691586 21.2% 76.3% 24.6% 74.6% 26.1% 52.7% 14.4% 5.1% 0.2%
5 692204 12.4% 84.5% 16.3% 82.6% 34.7% 52.6% 6.9% 4.0% 0.2%
6 691481 49.3% 45.8% 61.8% 36.5% 70.4% 10.9% 7.7% 9.3% 0.1%
7 692193 52.1% 43.8% 61.2% 37.3% 56.7% 17.5% 13.5% 10.6% 0.2%
8 692087 63.3% 34.4% 61.6% 37.5% 65.1% 28.2% 4.3% 1.3% 0.2%
9 691843 77.8% 19.3% 78.1% 20.5% 82.1% 4.2% 11.6% 1.0% 0.3%
10 692143 64.3% 32.8% 65.5% 33.3% 72.7% 18.7% 4.8% 2.5% 0.2%
11 691760 60.3% 35.3% 66.9% 31.5% 71.1% 14.5% 9.7% 2.9% 20.0%
12 692119 45.9% 51.7% 44.4% 54.6% 52.0% 40.8% 4.3% 1.5% 0.2%
13 692323 21.1% 76.5% 24.5% 74.7% 28.3% 56.8% 10.0% 3.3% 20.0%
14 692013 74.0% 23.1% 72.2% 26.3% 82.1% 10.8% 5.0% 0.9% 0.3%

Illinois

Illinois lost a seat in the 2012 reapportionment, and Democrats were in complete control of the redistricting process.  Democrats executed the most successful gerrymander of the 2012 congressional redistricting cycle in Illinois, meticulously packing areas of Republican strength into five of the state’s 18 districts, turning an 11-7 disadvantage into a 12-6 majority in congressional seats.

A group of affected Republican incumbents brought suit, alleging that the Illinois congressional map diluted the influence of Hispanic voters in the Chicago area by packing them into an earmuff-shaped Fourth District, instead of creating two seats with substantial Hispanic populations (a South Side district with a majority-Hispanic VAP, and North Side district where Hispanics would constitute a plurality of the VAP).  The suit also alleged partisan gerrymandering.

The claims were ultimately dismissed by a three-judge panel of a federal district court.  While the judges acknowledged that the Democrats’ map was a blatant partisan gerrymander, the Court held, like nearly every court to hear such claims after Vieth v. Jubelirer, that the plaintiffs had not proposed a judicially manageable standard for evaluating partisan gerrymandering. The Court also held that, while the legislature could have created a much more compact Hispanic-majority Fourth District, the legislature’s interest in incumbent protection was a sufficient reason for it not to have done so.

In sharp contrast to the Democrats’ gerrymander, the districts I have drawn are quite normally shaped, preserve the cores of the previous districts and group together communities of interest. In particular, I have broken apart the “earmuff” Fourth District, one of the most notorious gerrymanders in existence, creating a new Hispanic-plurality VAP Fourth District in the North Side of Chicago and a Hispanic-majority VAP Third District on the South Side. Breaking apart the Fourth District led to changes in other seats, with Chicago-area Republicans Dan Lipinski and Mike Quigley having their districts effectively eliminated. I have created a new, somewhat Democratic-leaning suburban district (the 5th) in Lake County.

The map I have produced would have resulted in a 10-8 Republican advantage in the delegation in 2012, with 10 of 11 incumbent Republicans winning reelection (I eliminated the district of Downstate Republican Tim Johnson, splitting it between Adam Kinzinger’s 11th District and John Shimkus’s [renumbered] 15th District).   It would have resulted in a 11-7 advantage in 2014 and 2016, when Republicans took the 12th District for reasons having nothing to do with redistricting and everything to do with the trend towards Republicans downstate. While suburban Republicans Bob Dold (10th District) and Peter Roskam (6th District) would have been targeted, they probably would have survived under this map. Dold’s district is 5 points more Republican than the district in which he barely lost to Brad Schneider in 2012 and 2016. Roskam’s district trended strongly Democratic, but he’s consistently run well ahead of his party in the 6th District. The remaining Republican districts are more-or-less completely safe.

While a 10-8 split may seem unfair in a state that is reliably Democratic at the national level, Democratic strength in Illinois is quite limited outside of Cook County. While the collar counties are closely split at the presidential level, these areas still typically vote Republican for other offices.   Under my map, Democrats would hold a 6-1 advantage in districts based in Cook, but lose 10 of the 11 seats outside of Cook (the previous congressional map, which reflected a bipartisan compromise, yielded similar results throughout the 2000s).    Again, the fact that Democratic strength is disproportionately concentrated in urban areas means that fairly-drawn congressional maps will often not yield a majority of congressman for the party that wins a majority of the votes.

NET CHANGE: R +4

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 712692 18.9% 77.9% 17.7% 81.5% 37.5% 52.0% 7.5% 1.7% 0.1%
2 712576 18.6% 78.5% 18.0% 81.2% 32.2% 51.5% 14.3% 0.8% 0.2%
3 712665 20.7% 74.6% 24.6% 73.0% 32.5% 5.6% 57.6% 3.6% 0.1%
4 712633 16.9% 77.5% 24.8% 73.0% 45.0% 3.6% 45.1% 5.0% 0.2%
5 712191 36.2% 56.7% 45.2% 53.7% 69.3% 6.3% 16.8% 6.2% 0.2%
6 712392 37.1% 54.5% 47.3% 51.1% 71.3% 3.4% 13.0% 11.1% 0.1%
7 712517 9.2% 87.4% 11.8% 87.2% 30.6% 51.9% 9.4% 6.7% 0.1%
8 713093 46.7% 46.5% 52.1% 46.5% 77.6% 2.2% 14.7% 4.6% 0.1%
9 713391 15.4% 79.1% 23.8% 74.5% 65.7% 9.3% 11.3% 11.6% 0.2%
10 713007 37.6% 57.0% 46.1% 52.5% 76.8% 1.5% 9.6% 11.0% 0.1%
11 712727 50.4% 44.3% 52.8% 45.5% 81.6% 8.4% 4.6% 4.1% 0.2%
12 713047 55.5% 39.7% 48.7% 49.2% 79.8% 15.5% 2.4% 1.1% 0.2%
13 713213 50.9% 44.0% 54.6% 43.9% 79.7% 5.1% 8.0% 6.3% 0.1%
14 713053 43.4% 50.1% 48.9% 49.5% 70.3% 5.8% 17.5% 5.4% 0.1%
15 713040 69.7% 25.5% 62.9% 35.1% 93.8% 3.1% 1.6% 60.0% 0.2%
16 713070 52.5% 42.7% 47.6% 50.7% 83.3% 6.4% 7.7% 1.6% 0.2%
17 712946 55.4% 38.7% 48.6% 49.6% 90.0% 4.3% 3.7% 0.9% 0.2%
18 712379 55.1% 38.4% 55.2% 42.6% 86.6% 9.0% 1.9% 1.4% 0.2%

NET CHANGE: NONE

Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Rhode Island

 Each of these states produced a non-gerrymandered map for the 2012 that I could not have improved upon.  In Indiana, Republicans drew a map with aesthetically pleasing boundaries that yielded a 7-2 split in the delegation in their favor.  Iowa lost a seat in 2012, and its non-partisan commission, as usual, produced a map with compact districts that did not split any counties. In Minnesota, a federal court drew a least-change map that preserved most of the pre-existing, court-drawn map. In Mississippi, a federal court drew lines that preserved the state’s one African American-majority district while splitting only four counties.  In Oklahoma, Republicans held a solid 5-0 advantage in the delegation, and there was no need for any gerrymandering.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Kentucky

 As a last vestige of the state’s loss of a congressional seat in 1992, Kentucky’s 1st District contains an arm linking it to Republican counties along the Tennessee border.  This arm continues to exist because it keeps the 1st District even more heavily Republican than it otherwise would be.  I have produced a map that eliminates this and a few other quirks in Kentucky’s congressional boundaries, making the lines smoother.  The changes would not have altered the partisan split in the state’s House delegation.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 723206 69.4% 26.9% 63.4% 35.1% 89.8% 6.6% 2.0% 0.6% 0.2%
2 723350 70.5% 24.6% 66.3% 32.1% 89.9% 5.2% 2.6% 1.1% 0.3%
3 723441 39.9% 54.9% 42.8% 55.7% 73.5% 19.2% 3.8% 2.1% 0.2%
4 723343 64.7% 29.8% 62.9% 35.3% 93.6% 2.6% 1.9% 0.9% 0.2%
5 722767 78.9% 18.2% 74.3% 23.9% 96.4% 1.5% 0.9% 0.3% 0.2%
6 723255 56.2% 37.9% 57.3% 40.7% 84.9% 8.4% 3.8% 1.7% 0.2%

 

Louisiana

I have smoothed out the lines adopted by the state legislature. I also sought to maintain more of the Cajun Country within the Third District, instead of spreading it to districts based in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The changes do not affect the state’s partisan split.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 755,684 70.7% 24.7% 72.9% 24.9% 74.2% 14.2% 7.7% 2.3% 0.4%
2 755,553 22.2% 74.6% 22.8% 75.8% 31.5% 59.4% 5.4% 2.3% 0.3%
3 755,748 69.8% 26.7% 68.6% 29.8% 72.6% 20.6% 3.2% 1.3% 1.4%
4 755,352 61.6% 35.6% 60.0% 38.7% 64.9% 29.0% 2.9% 1.2% 0.8%
5 755.601 63.5% 34.1% 61.0% 37.7% 63.5% 32.7% 1.8% 0.7% 0.5%
6 755,434 63.8% 32.0% 65.1% 33.0% 70.6% 23.4% 3.1% 1.8% 0.3%

Maryland

 Maryland did not gain or lose any seats, but it was the site of probably the most grotesque gerrymander of the 2012 cycle.  In the previous redistricting cycle in 2001 and 2002, Democrats in control of the process drew an aggressive gerrymander that succeeded in ousting two Republican incumbents, Bob Ehrlich of suburban Baltimore and Connie Morella of suburban Washington, D.C., for a 6-2 Democratic edge in the delegation.

In 2012, Democrats were in charge of the process again, and sought to build on their 2002 gerrymander to gain a 7-1 advantage.  Their main obstacle was geography.  Both Republicans, Andy Harris and Roscoe Bartlett, represented heavily Republican areas at the edges of Maryland (the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland, respectively) that would be difficult to parcel out to other districts.

Nonetheless, Democrats pushed ahead.  They tacked extreme Western Maryland to heavily Democratic portions of Montgomery County, in suburban Washington, D.C.  They then extended the existing Montgomery County-based 8th district out to heavily Republican parts of Carroll and Frederick counties.  The two African American majority districts, the 4th and the 7th, gained new, heavily Republican territory in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, respectively.  The crazy-quilt 3d District, represented by John Sarbanes of suburban Baltimore, got even more bizarre looking, becoming perhaps the most grotesque looking district in the country as it slithered from the northwest Baltimore County suburbs, through bits of Baltimore City and Howard County, and into Montgomery County, with a tentacle going into Anne Arundel to take in Annapolis (which Sarbanes said he wanted to continue to represent).

The enacted Democratic map is drastically unfair.  It continues to give the Baltimore area representation in excess of its population, as a full three districts continue to be based in the Baltimore area despite population losses relative to the Washington, D.C. suburbs.  The districts also brazenly ignore communities of interest, joining rural, impoverished, culturally conservative Western Maryland with suburban, wealthy, culturally liberal Montgomery County suburbs.  Baltimore City is now small enough population-wise to fit into a single district, yet it is split between three districts, with heavily African American areas siphoned off to help white Democrats in surrounding districts.  The Fourth District, which previously joined African American and Hispanic communities of interest in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, lost its portion of Montgomery, which was replaced with far-off parts of Anne Arundel County. The 7th District, based in urban West Baltimore, now extends outward to include exurban parts of Howard and Baltimore counties.

I sought to restore the pre-2002, non-gerrymandered lines to the greatest extent possible.  That meant keeping the 8th District entirely within Montgomery County, and joining the remaining portions of eastern Montgomery County to adjoining areas in Prince George’s in an African American-majority 4th District.  The 4th continues to stretch along the D.C. border to encompass the inside-the-Beltway portions of Prince George’s.  I added College Park to the 4th, along with heavily Hispanic areas around Langley Park that were moved to the 8th District by the 2002 gerrymander.  These changes ensure that much of the sizable Hispanic population in Montgomery and Prince George’s is contained within the 4th District.  In exchange, have dropped some outside-the-Beltway portions of the 4th around Largo and Upper Marlboro.  The district remains majority African American VAP at 54%, with a sizable Hispanic population as well.  Incumbent Rep. Donna Edwards, who decried the 4th’s loss of Montgomery County in redistricting, would have been much happier with this map, as would her constituents in the previous 4th District.

Since 1992 redistricting, the remainder of Prince George’s has been lumped together with the rural and exurban Southern Maryland counties and part of Anne Arundel in order to create a safely Democratic white-majority 5th District for Prince George’s Democrat Steny Hoyer.  But there is a far better alternative to this configuration, in light of heavy African American population growth in outer Prince George’s.  My map creates a third African American-majority district running from outer Prince George’s, up Route 29 through North Laurel and Columbia (both of which have large African American populations), and into the heavily African American suburbs west of Baltimore.  These exurban African American communities are large enough and compact enough that the traditional redistricting goals of preserving communities of interest and not diluting minority voting strength militate in favor of drawing the lines in this way, even if a third African American-majority district is not strictly required by the VRA.  This district also has the virtue of uniting exurban areas in Prince George’s, Howard, and Baltimore counties, instead of combining them with more rural or more urban areas (as under the existing maps). It is 52% African American VAP.

Creating this district also allows for the African American majority 7th District to encompass all of Baltimore City in a single district.  To meet the population requirement, I have included the northwest Baltimore suburbs of Pikesville, Owings Mills, and Reiserstown, each with growing African American populations, in the 7th (this configuration also has the advantage of uniting heavily Jewish neighborhoods in Northwest Baltimore and the suburbs).  The 6th District encompasses all of Western Maryland, taking in rural and exurban parts of Howard County to meet the population requirement (as it did prior to the 2002 gerrymander).  The 2d District is almost identical to its configuration before the 2002 gerrymander, combining Harford County with the Baltimore County suburbs north and east of Baltimore City.

Since the 1992 redistricting, Anne Arundel County has been sliced and diced among an ever-increasing number of districts.  My map changes that, keeping all of Anne Arundel (except for a few precincts near the Bay Bridge) in a single district, the 3d.  The 3d District also reaches into areas of Howard and Baltimore counties (including Elkridge and Catonsville) that are similar to the north Anne Arundel suburbs.  The district also reaches south to take in all of Calvert County, which is similar to the southern part of Anne Arundel.

That leaves the Eastern Shore and the remainder of Southern Maryland.  These areas were joined together prior to the 1992 redistricting, and I have joined them together again.  This configuration ensures that the Eastern Shore is kept whole and is not placed in a district dominated by the Baltimore suburbs (as it is at present).  Southern Maryland is culturally similar to the Eastern Shore, as both are still predominately rural and small-city and populated by the descendants of original settlers (although that is changing).  The configuration also unites the large African American population in Charles County with the large African American population on the Eastern Shore Rather than split Calvert County, I had the 1st take in a few precincts near the Bay Bridge in Anne Arundel to meet the population requirement.

The net result of dismantling the Democrats’ gerrymander would be a 4-4 split in Maryland’s congressional delegation, the same as before to the 2002 redistricting.  Republican Andy Harris would prevail in the new Baltimore County-based 2d, which is reliably Republican.  A Republican likely would have won the new Anne Arundel-based 3d, which voted for McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 and lacks a strong Democratic base of support.  (John Sarbanes represented much of this district prior to 2012, but he does not live in the district and had struggled to carry his portion of Anne Arundel against weak challengers.) A Republican also would likely have prevailed in the Eastern Shore-based 1st District, which voted 51.5% for McCain in 2008.

A 4-4 split in Maryland is actually much fairer than the current 7-1 split.   While Democrats dominate Maryland elections, their margins of victory have typically come entirely from just three areas: Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore City.  If you remove those areas, Democrats would have lost most every statewide election of the past few decades.  Sure enough, the four seats held by Democrats under my plan are each based in those areas (one Montgomery-based, one Baltimore City-based, and two Prince George’s-based).  The four seats that would have been won by Republicans are the four that are entirely outside those areas (the Eastern Shore, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel, and Western Maryland districts).  The reason Democrats have needed to gerrymander Maryland so heavily is that, in order to win a supermajority of congressional seats in a diverse state, each district must have similar demographics to the state as a whole.  That, in turn, requires slicing and dicing cities and counties to an extreme extent.

NET CHANGE: R +3

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 721614 53.5% 43.3% 51.5% 46.8% 73.6% 19.5% 3.4% 1.8% 0.3%
2 721857 53.4% 40.2% 55.4% 42.7% 79.2% 12.2% 3.2% 3.8% 0.3%
3 721563 46.2% 47.8% 49.5% 48.5% 74.8% 14.3% 4.8% 4.2% 0.3%
4 722008 8.2% 88.7% 9.5% 89.8% 20.7% 52.9% 17.8% 6.4% 0.2%
5 721573 15.9% 80.6% 16.7% 82.6% 30.9% 52.4% 7.1% 7.3% 0.2%
6 721734 59.4% 36.5% 58.4% 39.2% 85.5% 6.7% 3.5% 3.1% 0.2%
7 721700 14.5% 80.7% 15.1% 83.4% 36.2% 54.9% 4.1% 3.1% 0.3%
8 721503 21.9% 72.2% 29.9% 68.4% 57.0% 10.9% 14.7% 15.1% 0.2%

Massachusetts

Massachusetts lost a district in 2012, and Democrats controlled the redistricting process.  Massachusetts, the birthplace of the gerrymander, has long has some of the most unusual-looking congressional districts in the nation.  With slow population growth in Western Massachusetts, and the retirement of incumbent John Olver, the legislature chose to eliminate Olver’s district, drawing liberal college towns from Olver’s district into Jim McGovern’s Worcester-based 2d District in order to make the 2d District reliably Democratic for when McGovern retires.  The legislature also chose to maintain the unusual configuration of the 4th District, which runs from Brookline and Newton, inner-ring suburbs of Boston, down to Bristol County in southeastern Massachusetts, splitting the old industrial towns of Fall River (which is included in the 4th) and New Bedford (which is not).   To shore up the 9th District, which was won by freshman Bill Keating in a competitive race in 2010, the legislature removed Republican-friendly areas in the northern part of the district and added heavily Democratic New Bedford.  The legislature also changed the lines in the 7th district in the Boston area to make it minority-majority.

For my map, I kept all of Bristol County together in the same district, the 8th.  Bristol County has a distinctive economy and history, and the towns of New Bedford and Fall River, with their large Portuguese-American populations, form a clear community of interest.  Up through the present, Massachusetts congressional maps have split Bristol County, placing much of it in the Boston suburb-based districts, thereby aggrandizing the representation of the Boston suburbs.

Basing the 8th in Bristol County allows the 4th District to become much more compact, both geographically and from a communities of interest perspective. It also includes the inner-ring Boston suburbs south and west of the city, including Brookline, Newton, Wellesley, Sharon and Quincy, as well as Cambridge and heavily white areas of North and West Boston.

I also tried to keep the three Western Massachusetts counties of Franklin, Hampshire, and Berkshire together to the extent possible, combining all but a few towns in those counties with Springfield and its immediate suburbs. With their many liberal arts colleges, they have a distinctive history and form a community of interest. This configuration drops the Democratic percentage in the 2d and increases it in the 1st. I made minor changes to the enacted 6th District to make it more compact and Essex County-focused.

All of these changes likely would have had no impact on the partisan makeup of the state’s congressional delegation, which would remain all-Democratic.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 727119 31.0% 62.7% 28.4% 69.5% 78.7% 5.4% 11.9% 2.4% 0.2%
2 726987 41.3% 50.4% 45.4% 53.3% 85.4% 3.1% 6.5% 3.5% 0.2%
3 727382 36.4% 57.2% 42.4% 55.9% 75.8% 2.7% 12.9% 6.9% 0.1%
4 727941 21.6% 71.3% 30.3% 68.4% 78.3% 4.4% 5.1% 10.0% 0.1%
5 726951 28.2% 66.8% 35.6% 62.7% 78.8% 3.8% 6.3% 8.2% 0.1%
6 727518 37.7% 56.6% 43.4% 55.2% 86.0% 2.3% 7.6% 2.8% 0.1%
7 727793 15.9% 80.1% 19.6% 78.5% 46.3% 23.8% 17.1% 7.3% 0.2%
8 727807 45.5% 48.3% 42.7% 56.4% 89.2% 2.5% 4.1% 1.6% 0.2%
9 728131 44.8% 49.5% 46.1% 52.5% 89.0% 2.2% 1.9% 4.4% 0.3%

Michigan

Michigan was the only state to lose population during the last decade, and it lost one seat in 2012.  Republicans controlled the process completely.  Already holding a 9-6 advantage in the delegation, Republicans set out to eliminate one of the five Democratic incumbents from Metro Detroit while preserving two African American-majority Detroit districts and shoring up vulnerable GOP incumbents Thad McCotter, Tim Walberg, and Dan Benishek. The Republicans  came up with a map that split apart the Oakland County district of incumbent Democrat Gary Peters in suburban Detroit, combining its more Republican portions with the Republican parts of McCotter’s 11th District in western Wayne and western Oakland, and tacking its more Democratic areas (Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield and Pontiac) to the Detroit-based 14th District, which took on an unusual, serpentine shape as it combined some of the poorest and wealthiest parts of the Metro Detroit area.  To shore up Walberg, the legislature dropped Battle Creek, the home of Walberg’s 2010 opponent, Mark Schauer, from the 7th, replacing it with marginal Monroe County.  Benishek’s 1st District picked up Republican-leaning Traverse City from the 4th District, and lost its portion of Democratic-leaning Bay County to the 5th.

The gerrymandered lines worked as intended, producing a 9-5 split in the delegation.  Peters chose to run in the 14th District, despite not living there, and beat freshman Rep. Hansen Clarke of Detroit.  Even though McCotter failed to qualify for the ballot, the Republicans managed to hold his 11th District with a weak candidate. All other incumbents survived comfortably.

I drew a map that undoes the Republican gerrymandering, producing a map that closely follows the lines that a federal court drew for the 1992 redistricting cycle.  Consistent with Michigan law, which mandates that county and township splits be minimized in redistricting, my map splits only five cities and townships in the entire state: Detroit (which would have to be split under any reasonable map), small parts of the Oakland County suburbs of Birmingham and Rochester Hills, the small Downriver city of Trenton, and the city of Holland in Western Michigan.  In addition, my map only splits six counties outside of Metro Detroit.

As compared to the actual map, this map would have resulted in a gain of 1 seat for the Democrats in 2012. Gary Peters likely would have chosen to run in the 9th District, which contains 55% of his old district and is only a couple points more Republican than his previous district. However, it is likely that Republicans would have won it in 2014 when Peters stepped aside to run for Senate. This part of Oakland County elects mostly Republicans at the local level; Peters almost lost in 2010 in a more Democratic version of this district; 2014 was a wave year for Republicans; and this district is only a 3-4 points more Republican than the seat Dave Trott won by 15 points in 2014.

Otherwise, the partisan balance would not have shifted due to the changes. While Walberg might have had a tougher race in 2012, there is no way Democrats would have been able to hold the Seventh District in 2014 and 2016 given the pronounced GOP trend in his district.  Given the pronounced shift towards Republicans of Michigan outside of Metro Detroit, there was no need to gerrymander the Outstate Michigan districts to protect incumbents.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 705895 58.4% 36.1% 54.1% 44.8% 93.4% 1.4% 1.0% 0.6% 2.3%
2 706155 56.3% 37.7% 56.5% 42.6% 87.9% 4.4% 4.9% 1.2% 0.6%
3 705880 51.0% 42.8% 52.6% 46.4% 81.0% 8.4% 6.9% 2.0% 0.4%
4 706022 59.2% 35.0% 53.2% 45.8% 92.9% 2.2% 2.3% 1.0% 0.7%
5 705719 46.0% 49.2% 38.8% 60.2% 78.2% 15.9% 3.5% 0.7% 0.4%
6 705464 51.3% 42.9% 50.2% 48.8% 85.1% 7.6% 4.1% 1.3% 0.5%
7 705833 55.7% 38.7% 51.0% 48.8% 89.9% 4.8% 3.0% 0.8% 0.4%
8 706341 50.6% 43.9% 51.1% 48.0% 85.7% 5.2% 3.7% 3.7% 0.4%
9 706474 45.9% 48.6% 48.3% 51.0% 79.9% 10.2% 3.4% 5.1% 0.2%
10 705551 63.2% 32.2% 54.7% 44.3% 92.4% 3.1% 2.2% 1.1% 0.3%
11 705599 32.6% 62.0% 36.6% 62.4% 76.4% 11.3% 3.2% 7.0% 0.3%
12 706556 43.7% 51.5% 41.9% 57.2% 83.4% 8.0% 1.8% 5.0% 0.3%
13 706196 22.3% 74.4% 18.2% 81.1% 36.1% 53.0% 7.1% 2.0% 0.3%
14 705955 20.1% 76.8% 16.3% 83.2% 41.7% 52.7% 2.4% 1.1% 0.3%

Missouri

Missouri lost a seat in 2012.  Republicans held the legislature; a Democrat, Jay Nixon, held the governorship.  The slow growth in St. Louis, plus the need to preserve the African American-plurality 1st District based in St. Louis, made the Democrat-held 3d District, anchored in the southern part of St. Louis, the obvious choice to be eliminated.  With the support of Missouri’s two African American members of Congress, Lacy Clay and Emmanuel Cleaver, the legislature was able to override Gov. Nixon’s veto and enact a map dismantling the 3d District.  There were some other partisan flourishes: Cleaver’s Kansas City-based 5th District picked up some traditionally Democratic rural counties to help neighboring Republican incumbents, and Jefferson County in suburban St. Louis, which had previously been in the 3d, was split between districts to ensure that the 3d District’s incumbent, Russ Carnahan, would not run against a Republican incumbent.  As it turned out, Carnahan lost in a primary to Clay, and all other incumbents were reelected, for a 6-2 split in favor of Republicans in the delegation.

I produced a version of the map that removes the partisan flourishes and keeps the lines regular, but otherwise preserves the districts in the actual map.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 748564 18.8% 77.0% 18.9% 79.9% 47.6% 45.4% 2.7% 2.6% 0.2%
2 748103 52.6% 42.3% 57.1% 41.4% 89.8% 3.3% 2.0% 3.9% 0.1%
3 749142 66.1% 29.1% 61.0% 37.1% 93.3% 3.0% 1.7% 0.9% 0.3%
4 748952 64.8% 29.8% 60.7% 36.9% 89.7% 4.2% 2.8% 1.5% 0.5%
5 748293 41.1% 53.6% 39.9% 58.4% 68.6% 20.5% 6.9% 1.9% 0.4%
6 749059 63.1% 31.7% 60.0% 37.9% 91.5% 3.6% 2.5% 1.0% 0.3%
7 748403 70.4% 24.7% 67.6% 30.3% 91.6% 1.5% 3.3% 1.2% 0.9%
8 748411 75.4% 21.0% 65.9% 32.0% 92.5% 4.1% 1.3% 0.6% 0.4%

 

Nevada

Redistricting in Nevada fell to a court-appointed commission after the legislature failed to reach agreement with Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval.  Nevada gained a fourth seat after the 2010 census, and Sandoval pushed for a Hispanic VAP-plurality congressional district.  Democrats opposed this, as did many Hispanic groups sympathetic to Democrats.  In the end, the commission did not create a Hispanic-plurality seat, creating an urban Las Vegas 1st District, a Reno-based 2d District, a 3d District consisting of the southern Las Vegas suburbs and points south, and a new 4th District stretching from North Las Vegas to the Cow Counties.

From a communities of interest standpoint, urban North Las Vegas should not be in a district with the Cow Counties. Thus, I have created a map that creates two districts based in Las Vegas’s urban core, and a Third District that combines outlying parts of Clark County such as Henderson with the Cow Counties. The result would be two solidly Democratic districts and two solidly Republican districts.  The Fourth District (my First District) has changed partisan control in each of the past three election cycles, while the Third District has flipped from Republican to Democratic control in 2016. Thus, the result of these changes would be a gain of one seat for the Republicans in 2016; a loss of one in 2014; and no change in 2012.

NET CHANGE: R +1

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 675169 37.6% 56.5% 36.7% 61.4% 48.1% 13.0% 22.6% 13.2% 0.4%
2 674850 52.0% 39.7% 52.9% 44.8% 73.7% 1.7% 16.6% 4.3% 1.8%
3 675528 54.5% 39.5% 53.7% 44.5% 72.8% 5.6% 12.0% 6.7% 0.7%
4 675004 31.6% 62.6% 31.4% 66.6% 40.0% 9.9% 38.9% 8.4% 0.5%


New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s two congressional districts have had roughly the same boundaries since the 1880s, splitting the state’s two largest cities, Manchester and Nashua. However, the Manchester, Nashua and the surrounding towns in southeast New Hampshire form a clear community of interest. Creating a compact First District centered around these towns and a Second District that includes all of rural New Hampshire better serves the values of compactness and preserving communities of interest.

These changes would result in the First District flipping firmly to Republican control.

NET CHANGE: R +1

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 658298 50.2% 44.6% 50.6% 48.2% 91.7% 1.2% 3.3% 2.6% 0.2%
2 658172 44.2% 50.6% 42.5% 56.2% 95.4% 0.6% 1.2% 1.6% 0.2%

New Jersey

After New Jersey’s tumultuous experience redistricting in the 1980s, when a Democratic attempt to gerrymander the congressional districts was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Karcher v. Daggett, New Jersey created a bipartisan commission to handle redistricting.  The commission features an equal number of Democratic and Republican partisans, with a tiebreaker chosen by agreement of the major parties.  The state lost a seat in the 2010 redistricting cycle, dropping it to 12 representatives.  Democrats argued that they should continue to have an edge in the state’s delegation (the state had previously had a 7-6 split in congressional representation in their favor), because the state usually votes for Democrats in presidential contests.  Republicans argued that the state’s slowest growth had been in urban northern New Jersey, an area represented by four Democrats.  Because the Voting Rights Act required that the districts of African American Democrat Donald Payne, Jr. of Newark and Hispanic Democrat Albio Sires of Hudson County must remain intact, Republicans contended that the slow-growing districts of Democrat Steve Rothman of Bergen County and Bill Pascrell of Paterson should be merged.  The tiebreaker, former Republican Attorney General John Farmer, chose the Republican plan, on the (correct) ground that population movement should trump political considerations.

The enacted New Jersey map takes the right approach given population changes within New Jersey in the past decade, but it does contain features designed to protect incumbents that make the lines somewhat jagged in places.  In my map, I have attempted to remove the incumbent-protection features of the map, make the districts more compact, and more closely follow county lines, while retaining the cores of the districts, which have remained relatively constant since the 1980s. Unlike the enacted map, I have kept all of Warren, Sussex, Camden, and Mercer counties whole.

The most notable change is that I have moved Teaneck (with its large African-American population) and Hackensack (with its large Hispanic population) from the Fifth District to the Ninth District. Placing these areas with the wealthy suburban and exurban Fifth District is not consonant with maintaining communities of interest. In exchange, I have added more suburban and exurban territory to the district. The changes mean that Republican Scott Garrett would not have lost the seat in 2016.

NET CHANGE: R +1

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 732851 37.1% 59.5% 34.8% 64.1% 69.6% 14.8% 9.8% 4.4% 0.2%
2 732862 48.6% 48.0% 43.4% 55.5% 69.8% 12.8% 12.3% 3.6% 0.3%
3 732634 52.4% 44.2% 48.2% 50.8% 80.5% 9.6% 5.5% 3.2% 0.1%
4 732403 55.8% 41.0% 54.2% 44.7% 79.7% 6.4% 9.4% 3.4% 0.1%
5 732363 51.3% 45.2% 53.5% 45.4% 80.2% 1.8% 7.8% 9.1% 0.1%
6 732509 40.3% 56.5% 36.7% 62.1% 52.4% 11.0% 18.2% 16.7% 0.1%
7 732445 47.5% 48.6% 52.5% 46.3% 81.1% 3.3% 7.3% 7.3% 0.1%
8 732933 21.5% 75.7% 20.7% 78.3% 31.0% 8.5% 49.7% 8.7% 0.1%
9 732898 30.1% 67.3% 27.8% 71.3% 41.1% 12.0% 33.6% 11.7% 0.1%
10 732669 13.3% 84.7% 12.0% 87.4% 23.3% 50.6% 16.6% 7.1% 0.2%
11 732752 48.8% 47.9% 52.4% 46.6% 76.4% 3.3% 10.2% 8.9% 0.1%
12 732575 32.3% 64.5% 31.9% 66.0% 56.1% 14.8% 13.9% 13.6% 0.1%

New Mexico

I have cleaned up the lines a bit in New Mexico. I also moved Clovis to the Second District from the Third District, as it forms a community of interest with other parts of Little Texas in the Second District. These changes would not have changed the outcome of any elections.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 686096 35.1% 51.6% 39.6% 55.3% 46.9% 2.5% 42.9% 2.4% 3.8%
2 686013 52.6% 37.4% 54.2% 42.4% 48.2% 2.0% 46.3% 0.9% 1.5%
3 687070 35.7% 52.8% 37.7% 58.5% 40.8% 0.9% 37.7% 1.0% 18.4%

New York

New York lost two seats in the 2012 reapportionment cycle. New York’s congressional districts were drawn by a federal court, based mostly on a proposed map prepared by Common Cause. The federal court sought to embody a bipartisan consensus that the Brooklyn/Queens district of freshman Republican Bob Turner and the upstate district of retiring Democrat Maurice Hinchey should be the ones eliminated. As a result, Turner’s old Ninth District was carved up among several neighboring districts (mostly the districts currently held by black Democrats Hakeem Jeffries, Yvette Clarke and Gregory Meeks, which needed to gain substantial population).

The court carefully preserved the two white-majority Manhattan districts held by Jerrold Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, both of which now extend deep into the outer boroughs (Borough Park in Nadler’s case; Astoria, Long Island City and Greenpoint in Maloney’s). It expanded Charlie Rangel’s Northern Manhattan district into the Bronx. The court also left intact the unusually-shaped Hispanic-plurality district held by Nydia Velazquez, now numbered the 7th District, which combines Ridgewood, Bushwick, Sunset Park, and Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

I disagree with the decision to carve up Turner’s district, and not Maloney’s. Turner’s old Ninth District combined distinctive communities of interest: the heavily Orthodox and Russian Jewish neighborhoods of Midwood, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and several older white ethnic neighborhoods in Queens: Breezy Point, Howard Beach, Glendale, Ozone Park, Middle Village and Maspeth. Far from the bright lights and affluence of Manhattan, these downscale parts of the Outer Boroughs are frequently ignored by New York City politicians. Brooklyn has the largest Orthodox Jewish population anywhere outside of Israel. Of all the districts in the U.S., the Orthodox community could effectively elect its candidate of choice only in the former Ninth District. Moreover, the old Ninth District could easily have been expanded to meet the population requirement by adding Borough Park, thereby uniting most of Brooklyn’s vast Orthodox Jewish community in a single district.

Manhattan is only entitled by population to two districts. However, three different districts (the current 10th, 12th and 13th) are based in Manhattan. They only meet the population requirements by extending into adjoining boroughs. Moreover, the 10th District, in combining the secular, progressive Upper West Side with heavily Orthodox Jewish Borough Park in Queens, clearly does not unite communities of interest. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine two parts of New York City that are more dissimilar culturally and politically. The 10th combines these two far-flung regions across a narrow salient of the Brooklyn waterfront, violating principles of compactness.

My map keeps Turner’s old district (renumbered the 10th). The Harlem- based 13th District remains entirely within Northern Manhattan, as it had been prior to redistricting. Although it picks up more of the heavily white Upper West Side, it remains about 40% Hispanic and 25% African American, similar to the population mix pre-2012. In fact, the 13th would be far more likely to elect the candidate of choice of the African-American community without the extension into the Bronx. Rangel would have beaten Dominican-American primary opponent Adriano Espaillat more easily within these borders, and African-American Keith Wright would probably have beaten Espaillat in the 2016 primary within my lines.

The 10th and 12th Districts could then be combined into a single Manhattan district, with the Lower East Side and Chinatown reserved for the 7th District (as they were prior to 2012). The black-majority 9th District would then extend into Sunset Park which (like the 9th) is heavily populated by immigrants. The 8th District would take in Park Slope. The Seventh District would replace Sunset Park with Jackson Heights, which has a similar ethnic mix to Sunset Park, allowing the Seventh District to remain a Hispanic plurality district. The 14th would lose Jackson Heights, but would become even more heavily Hispanic by adding Corona and Hunts Point and losing heavily-white Whitestone and College Point. The 14th would also add Astoria and Long Island City. There would continue to be an Asian-plurality Sixth District in Queens. Thus, my map effectively swaps out Maloney’s district for the old Ninth District without affecting the ethnic mix of any of the other districts.

I have also made changes in Long Island. The court unnecessarily split the western half of Suffolk County between the Second District and Third District. My map keeps two full districts within Suffolk County. The Second District would continue to be based in the South Shore of Nassau County, as it was prior to redistricting. I also preserve the African American majority in the Fifth District by extending it Elmont and Hempstead in Nassau County (the court’s map reduces the black percentage in the Fifth District to under 50%). The remaining district would unite the North Shore of Nassau County, extending into the North Shore Queens neighborhoods of Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone, Bay Terrace and College Point, and Throgs Neck in the Bronx.

I did not change the court’s map hardly at all upstate.

The net result from these changes would be a gain of two seats for Republicans by 2016. The 10th District that I have drawn would have voted solidly for Trump in 2016, and would have continued to elect a Republican to Congress. In addition, keeping the Second District entirely within Suffolk makes the district substantially more Republican. Republicans would have been favored to pick up this district after veteran Democrat Steve Israel retired in 2016: it voted narrowly for Trump, and a Republican came close to unseating Israel in a similar district in 2010.

NET CHANGE: R +2

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 717602 54.5% 42.2% 49.1% 49.6% 80.2% 4.2% 11.1% 3.3% 0.2%
2 717681 49.0% 46.4% 47.5% 51.4% 69.6% 7.6% 17.9% 3.6% 0.1%
3 717692 49.6% 48.9% 47.9% 51.3% 74.5% 7.1% 12.4% 4.8% 0.1%
4 717886 44.7% 52.4% 47.4% 51.6% 66.1% 3.9% 13.4% 15.0% 0.1%
5 717886 12.0% 86.4% 8.4% 91.3% 13.4% 54.7% 19.4% 7.3% 0.4%
6 717856 27.6% 69.6% 26.5% 72.3% 30.3% 5.4% 18.8% 41.1% 0.2%
7 717647 10.4% 86.9% 10.3% 88.4% 27.4% 8.1% 43.6% 18.7% 0.2%
8 717726 7.0% 91.1% 3.5% 95.7% 26.7% 51.0% 16.1% 3.9% 0.2%
9 717867 8.0% 89.9% 7.5% 91.6% 17.3% 51.1% 18.2% 11.2% 0.2%
10 717872 51.7% 44.9% 50.8% 48.4% 66.9% 4.0% 14.2% 13.1% 0.1%
11 717847 53.1% 44.3% 46.8% 52.1% 64.9% 6.0% 14.1% 13.5% 0.1%
12 717864 12.9% 83.9% 20.9% 77.5% 73.8% 3.6% 8.4% 12.3% 0.1%
13 717410 6.4% 91.3% 5.6% 93.6% 29.8% 23.3% 39.8% 5.2% 0.2%
14 718020 10.8% 86.7% 9.3% 89.7% 23.6% 17.2% 46.4% 10.3% 0.2%
15 717347 4.6% 94.1% 2.7% 97.0% 5.0% 27.1% 63.6% 2.7% 0.2%
16 717863 23.0% 74.6% 26.0% 73.2% 39.9% 30.2% 23.6% 4.2% 0.2%
17 717921 37.4% 59.6% 40.9% 58.1% 65.8% 9.9% 16.6% 6.4% 0.1%
18 717662 49.4% 46.7% 47.5% 51.0% 74.4% 8.1% 13.0% 2.9% 0.2%
19 717624 50.8% 44.0% 45.9% 52.1% 87.9% 4.0% 5.4% 1.3% 0.2%
20 718100 40.5% 54.0% 38.8% 59.2% 82.6% 7.7% 4.2% 3.5% 0.2%
21 717680 53.9% 40.0% 46.1% 52.2% 92.2% 2.9% 2.4% 0.8% 0.8%
22 717446 54.8% 39.3% 49.2% 48.8% 90.7% 3.3% 2.5% 2.1% 0.3%
23 717176 54.5% 39.7% 49.6% 48.4% 91.1% 2.6% 2.6% 2.1% 0.5%
24 717111 45.3% 48.9% 41.1% 57.0% 86.2% 6.8% 2.9% 2.2% 0.6%
25 717894 39.1% 55.5% 39.4% 58.8% 75.9% 13.2% 6.0% 3.3% 0.2%
26 717833 38.0% 57.6% 34.3% 63.9% 75.2% 15.9% 4.3% 2.9% 0.5%
27 717561 59.7% 35.2% 55.3% 42.9% 93.5% 2.5% 1.8% 0.9% 0.7%

 

North Carolina

North Carolina has had the most tumultuous redistricting process of any state. The state was forced to draw two black-majority districts by the George H.W. Bush Department of Justice in the 1990s. Not wanting to endanger any of the state’s 7 white Democratic incumbents, the Democratic legislature drew the ultra-grotesque 12th District. In its original incarnation, the 12th was a thin line stretching from Gastonia to Durham, impossible to create without computer mapping technology. The state also created an only slightly-less grotesque 1st District in the eastern part of the state. The Supreme Court struck down the 12th District in the case of Shaw v. Reno, creating the Supreme Court’s modern racial gerrymandering jurisprudence. After several additional rounds of remapping and subsequent trips to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court upheld a somewhat modified version of the 12th District (stretching now from Charlotte to Winston-Salem to Greensboro). This time, the Court found that the 12th was a permissible political gerrymander, as race and voting behavior are closely correlated in the South.

The legislature remained under Democratic control for the next round of redistricting in 2002. The Democratic legislature drew a fairly successful gerrymander that yielded a 7-6 Democratic-Republican split in the state’s delegation by 2012. The Republicans controlled the process in 2012, and drew an aggressive map that yielded a 10-3 split in favor of the Republicans by 2014. This created three districts that were overwhelmingly Democratic, two of which (the 1st and 12th) were black-majority. The Fourth Circuit struck this map down, and the Supreme Court affirmed. The “political gerrymandering” defense accepted by the Court in Hunt v. Cromartie in 2001 had mysteriously vanished in the intervening 16 years, as Justice Alito pointed out in dissent. The legislature responded with a new map that yielded a 10-3 split, albeit with cleaner lines.

I have produced a non-gerrymandered map that follows county lines and protects communities of interest. There are four “crossover” (that is effective majority-minority districts) districts, two more than in the current map: the 1st in Raleigh-Durham and the neighboring black-majority counties; the 7th, which combines Fayetteville, the Sand Hill counties, and Robeson County (with its large Native American population); the 12th, based now entirely in Charlotte; and the 13th, based in Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Two of these districts are new, displacing districts drawn to elect Republicans. There is also a Research Triangle district that combines Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham (including Duke University). The remaining districts would be safe for Republicans. Heath Shuler might or might not have held the 12th District for the Democrats in 2012, but he would have been unlikely to have done so in 2014 and 2016 given the heavy trend towards Republicans in Western North Carolina.

NET CHANGE: D +2

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 733944 27.2% 70.8% 27.8% 71.3% 39.3% 49.9% 7.5% 1.5% 0.8%
2 733301 53.2% 43.6% 56.0% 43.0% 70.7% 17.1% 9.0% 1.7% 0.5%
3 733079 58.4% 39% 56.6% 42.8% 68.6% 24.5% 4.5% 1.0% 0.3%
4 733816 32.9% 63.5% 38.8% 60.2% 70.8% 13.4% 7.1% 7.0% 0.2%
5 733123 65.9% 31.3% 65.0% 33.6% 89.1% 4.7% 4.3% 1.0% 0.2%
6 733503 63.1% 34.4% 62.9% 36.1% 77.8% 13.8% 6.3% 0.9% 0.4%
7 732836 57.6% 39.9% 56.4% 43.6% 72.4% 17.6% 6.9% 1.2% 0.6%
8 733421 44.5% 52.5% 42.6% 56.8% 48.2% 32.3% 7.3% 1.6% 8.8%
9 733355 60.9% 36.3% 61.8% 37.2% 17.3% 51.1% 18.2% 11.2% 0.2%
10 733605 65.0% 32.4% 62.6% 36.4% 80.6% 11.6% 5.1% 1.6% 0.3%
11 733785 59.0% 38.2% 55.5% 43.1% 89.0% 3.9% 4.2% 0.7% 1.2%
12 733921 29.9% 66.9% 32.8% 66.6% 47.4% 34.4% 11.9% 4.5% 0.3%
13 733794 36.7% 59.4% 39.3% 59.2% 56.0% 31.5% 7.8% 3.0% 0.4%

 

Ohio

Ohio was the site of one of the nation’s most aggressive Republican gerrymanders. All the intricate maneuvering reflected in that map only netted Republicans two seats, however. The map I have drawn no longer splits Cincinnati down the middle. It also unpacks the Toledo-to-Cleveland district designed to combine Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich.  I think the decision to keep the 10th District (numbered 14 on my map) as a black-majority district was a permissible redistricting goal, and that required extending it into Akron. Treating Akron and Cleveland as a single metro area allows a map that combines Akron, West Cleveland, and close-in suburbs into a single district (the 13th); making the 16th district (renumbered the 12th) entirely suburban/exurban; and keeping the 14th district (renumbered the 16th) focused in Northeast Ohio with few changes.  I have created a 15th District that combines Youngstown, Warren and Canton, which share an industrial heritage, along with most of their close-in suburbs.

The net result of this map would be two additional districts for the Democrats: the 13th and the 2d. This yields a 10-6 split in the delegation in favor of Republicans.

NET CHANGE: D+2

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 721121 69.1% 26.6% 65.9% 32.4% 89.8% 5.1% 2.1% 2.0% 0.2%
2 721239 42.2% 53.6% 43.4% 54.3% 68.8% 25.0% 2.4% 2.3% 0.2%
3 720926 53.2% 41.1% 54.0% 44.4% 79.4% 15.4% 1.8% 1.9% 0.2%
4 720988 64.9% 28.4% 61.5% 36.7% 90.4% 5.5% 1.5% 1.2% 0.2%
5 720952 61.7% 32.6% 55.9% 42.1% 92.8% 1.9% 3.7% 0.8% 0.2%
6 721119 69.4% 26.6% 59.8% 38.2% 94.9% 2.4% 0.8% 0.6% 0.3%
7 721335 50.0% 45.1% 54.4% 43.9% 87.3% 4.4% 2.2% 4.7% 0.1%
8 720706 26.3% 69.3% 26.6% 72.0% 62.0% 28.1% 4.8% 2.9% 0.2%
9 721115 39.0% 56.2% 33.4% 65.1% 77.3% 14.1% 5.8% 1.2% 0.2%
10 721243 67.8% 28.2% 54.7% 43.2% 95.2% 2.5% 0.8% 0.4% 0.2%
11 720910 66.5% 28.8% 57.7% 40.2% 93.9% 3.2% 1.3% 0.5% 0.2%
12 721402 57.6% 38.0% 54.9% 43.7% 94.4% 1.8% 1.5% 1.5% 0.1%
13 721009 43.8% 50.7% 42.8% 55.7% 88.6% 5.3% 2.8% 2.0% 0.2%
14 720803 17.0% 80.5% 16.5% 82.8% 39.8% 51.8% 4.4% 2.3% 0.2%
15 720921 45.6% 50.1% 36.4% 61.9% 85.3% 10.5% 2.2% 0.7% 0.2%
16 720715 51.1% 42.6% 50.4% 48.1% 92.1% 3.6% 1.7% 1.8% 0.1%

Oregon

I have redrawn the 5th District so it is more compact and normal-looking. This has the effect of making it much more Republican, to the point that it would have voted solidly Mitt Romney and Donald Trump for president. It also has the effect of flipping the district from Democratic to Republican control.

NET CHANGE: R +1

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 766196 30.7% 59.0% 37.5% 60.8% 78.2% 1.5% 10.0% 7.3% 0.6%
2 766269 55.0% 35.0% 56.8% 40.5% 85.3% 0.5% 9.5% 1.1% 1.8%
3 765905 18.3% 71.7% 23.8% 73.2% 77.1% 4.6% 8.7% 6.3% 0.7%
4 766048 43.4% 45.4% 43.5% 53.2% 88.0% 0.6% 5.3% 2.3% 1.2%
5 766656 48.0% 41.1% 52.1% 45.5% 81.4% 0.7% 12.3% 2.6% 1.1%

 

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was also the site of a Republican gerrymander in 2012. It is entirely possible, however, to produce a map with the exact same 13-5 Republican-Democratic breakdown without the intricate gerrymandering. Democrats in Pennsylvania are ultra-concentrated in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and their close-in suburbs. Take away just three counties (Philadelphia, Montgomery and Allegheny), and the two-party vote in Pennsylvania was 58.7%-41.2% for Donald Trump, comparable to Louisiana, Mississippi and bright-red other parts of the Deep South and Great Plains. In areas outside metro Philadelphia and Pittsburgh where Democrats have historically been strong (Erie, Beaver and Lawrence County, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Allentown) their vote share has declined rapidly in the past 10-20 years.

The map below would likely have yielded no partisan change. It is unlikely a Democrat would have been able to hold the 16th District, which voted by 17 points for Romney and 20 points for Trump. Democrats might have attempted to target Pat Meehan of the 7th District more aggressively under this map, but his district only gets about 3 points more Democratic, and he is a popular incumbent whi has consistently run well ahead of his party in a district with a long Republican heritage.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 705492 13.2% 84.5% 11.9% 87.3% 35.8% 39.3% 16.5% 6.5% 0.2%
2 705991 8.6% 89.4% 10.0% 89.4% 34.1% 54.2% 3.8% 5.8% 0.3%
3 705609 34.7% 62.3% 35.9% 63.2% 74.6% 10.6% 6.6% 6.8% 0.1%
4 705244 47.2% 49.0% 48.4% 50.3% 88.1% 3.2% 3.4% 4.2% 0.1%
5 706003 49.0% 46.7% 46.7% 51.8% 81.3% 3.9% 11.3% 2.4% 0.1%
6 705797 49.5% 45.6% 50.6% 48.1% 84.6% 3.7% 8.6% 2.1% 0.1%
7 706005 42.9% 53.1% 47.4% 51.5% 86.4% 4.9% 2.5% 5.2% 0.1%
8 705743 53.0% 42.2% 54.4% 44.3% 84.5% 4.7% 7.9% 1.9% 0.1%
9 705285 61.6% 34.1% 60.1% 38.5% 90.0% 3.8% 3.9% 1.2% 0.1%
10 705467 58.4% 37.5% 56.5% 42.1% 85.3% 7.1% 4.4% 2.1% 0.1%
11 706221 66.1% 30.2% 60.1% 38.4% 94.1% 2.5% 2.1% 0.6% 0.2%
12 705197 51.7% 44.5% 41.4% 55.8% 87.3% 4.3% 6.0% 1.4% 0.1%
13 705477 71.2% 25.7% 64.3% 34.4% 94.4% 3.0% 1.4% 0.5% 0.1%
14 705498 63.8% 32.0% 58.6% 40.0% 94.0% 2.2% 1.4% 1.6% 0.1%
15 705369 59.2% 36.9% 53.4% 45.2% 93.1% 3.7% 1.4% 0.8% 0.1%
16 705999 58.7% 37.9% 57.8% 40.9% 94.2% 2.9% 0.9% 1.3% 0.1%
17 706121 30.5% 66.0% 30.6% 68.0% 75.0% 18.7% 1.6% 3.2% 0.2%
18 705861 57.6% 39.0% 57.4% 41.5% 94.8% 2.5% 0.9% 1.1% 0.1%

 

South Carolina

South Carolina’s 2012 redistricting witnessed a battle between Republicans in the State House who wanted to place the state’s new 7th District in the Pee Dee/Myrtle Beach area, and a potential bipartisan compromise map that would have placed the new district in Beaufort and suburban Charleston. The Senate’s 7th District was much less safe for Republicans than the House’s plan, largely because it created a 6th District that had a higher black population. The legislature eventually went with the Pee Dee-based 7th District.

It is undeniable, however, that the bipartisan compromise map had more regular lines, by virtue of not splitting Charleston and allowing the 6th District to become less compact. The proposed 7th District voted for John McCain in 2008, and, like the rest of the Deep South, it trended even more Republican as the decade wore on. It would have likely been a safe seat for the Republicans.

NET CHANGE: NONE

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 661119 53.1% 40.8% 54.5% 44.0% 71.8% 20.9% 4.8% 1.2% 0.3%
2 660264 56.3% 38.0% 59.1% 39.4% 71.2% 20.7% 4.8% 1.8% 0.3%
3 660805 67.5% 28.5% 65.0% 33.4% 77.6% 17.3% 3.4% 0.8% 0.2%
4 661110 59.7% 35.0% 61.7% 36.7% 72.1% 18.5% 6.4% 2.0% 0.2%
5 660894 57.8% 38.3% 55.6% 43.1% 69.3% 25.4% 2.9% 0.8% 0.7%
6 660444 36.3% 60.8% 34.1% 64.9% 43.2% 52.2% 2.3% 1.1% 0.3%
7 660728 52.6% 43.7% 52.4% 46.3% 61.7% 29.5% 5.8% 1.4% 0.4%

Tennessee

I have smoothed out the lines in Tennessee. This yields no partisan change: each of the 7 districts outside of Memphis and Nashville voted for Donald Trump by over 30 percentage points.

NET CHANGE: NONE

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 705083 76.4% 20.0% 72.4% 26.0% 94.1% 2.1% 2.2% 0.6% 0.2%
2 705462 64.4% 30.4% 66.6% 31.6% 88.7% 5.6% 3.0% 1.4% 0.3%
3 704794 66.2% 29.4% 64.1% 34.3% 83.9% 10.5% 3.1% 1.2% 0.3%
4 705021 70.3% 25.7% 67.0% 31.4% 92.6% 3.1% 2.6% 0.5% 0.3%
5 705138 38.2% 56.6% 42.5% 55.9% 65.2% 23.0% 7.5% 2.7% 0.3%
6 705201 70.1% 26.2% 66.6% 32.0% 85.5% 7.6% 4.0% 1.6% 0.3%
7 705256 67.5% 28.2% 65.7% 32.9% 83.6% 9.9% 3.5% 1.6% 0.3%
8 705015 66.3% 30.7% 66.1% 32.8% 76.2% 19.0% 2.3% 1.4% 0.3%
9 705135 20.8% 76.5% 21.9% 77.3% 30.9% 60.5% 5.6% 2.0% 0.2%

Texas

Texas has been the subject of a long-running Voting Rights Act lawsuit regarding its congressional districts since 2011. The legislature was ordered by a federal court to draw a minority-majority 33rd District in the Dallas area back in 2011. Further changes may be coming as a result of the suit.

The lines I have drawn below remove the gerrymandered elements of Texas’s districts. I have created a new, compact Hispanic-majority seat in the Dallas area; a new, compact Hispanic-majority seat in South San Antonio; and a new, compact district based in Austin. This required eliminating three Republican seats. I have also rationalized the boundaries of the remaining Border districts, making them much more compact. I also redrew the lines where necessary to follow county lines and become more compact. This map would have easily satisfied any Voting Rights Act concerns; it creates 8 Hispanic-majority districts (four on the Border, 2 in San Antonio, and 1 each in Dallas and Houston), and 4 heavily African-American districts (2 in Houston, 2 in Dallas). Thus, a full one-third of the state’s delegation would come from black or Hispanic “opportunity to elect” districts. There also would be two white Democrats from Austin. The rest of the districts would be solidly Republican.

NET CHANGE: D +3

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 698425 72.2% 25.3% 71.6% 27.5% 68.2% 17.2% 12.4% 0.9% 0.4%
2 698972 56.4% 39.1% 66.9% 31.6% 54.7% 10.7% 24.4% 8.7% 0.3%
3 698510 54.8% 40.6% 64.3% 34.2% 65.1% 8.4% 13.2% 11.3% 0.4%
4 698730 75.4% 21.8% 74.0% 24.8% 77.0% 10.3% 9.9% 0.9% 0.8%
5 698473 69.7% 27.3% 71.5% 27.4% 70.8% 10.8% 15.6% 1.4% 0.5%
6 698760 26.7% 69.9% 30.1% 69.0% 30.5% 26.2% 36.1% 5.5% 0.3%
7 698775 45.1% 50.5% 57.9% 40.6% 54.8% 7.5% 27.6% 8.5% 0.2%
8 698338 72.7% 23.9% 77.0% 21.7% 71.9% 7.4% 17.1% 2.2% 0.4%
9 698473 18.0% 79.3% 21.1% 78.0% 13.1% 37.7% 35.8% 12.0% 0.2%
10 698492 59.3% 36.2% 66.1% 31.8% 62.9% 9.0% 24.3% 2.5% 0.3%
11 698594 76.8% 20.1% 78.2% 20.6% 62.1% 3.9% 31.9% 0.8% 0.5%
12 698576 64.9% 30.7% 68.8% 29.7% 75.3% 6.5% 13.8% 2.6% 0.5%
13 698925 79.9% 16.9% 80.2% 18.5% 71.4% 5.1% 20.2% 1.6% 0.6%
14 698580 58.2% 38.4% 59.3% 39.5% 57.5% 19.3% 19.1% 2.8% 0.4%
15 698380 27.0% 69.7% 27.8% 71.1% 9.2% 0.5% 89.0% 1.1% 0.1%
16 698487 26.2% 68.9% 33.5% 65.2% 16.8% 3.0% 77.9% 1.3% 0.3%
17 698349 66.3% 29.2% 68.2% 30.3% 65.5% 13.2% 17.8% 2.3% 0.3%
18 698550 18.0% 78.5% 20.8% 78.1% 19.1% 40.6% 34.3% 4.8% 0.2%
19 698419 73.5% 22.5% 74.6% 24.0% 63.5% 5.5% 28.3% 1.4% 0.4%
20 698505 34.3% 61.0% 39.7% 58.9% 27.7% 5.5% 62.3% 3.0% 0.2%
21 698284 61.5% 33.5% 68.8% 28.9% 70.1% 2.8% 23.2% 2.3% 0.3%
22 698386 52.1% 44.2% 62.1% 36.7% 49.3% 11.9% 21.5% 15.7% 0.2%
23 698774 32.4% 62.9% 37.8% 60.8% 26.3% 10.2% 60.7% 1.5% 0.2%
24 698369 53.7% 41.5% 63.4% 35.0% 62.5% 7.5% 18.3% 9.7% 0.4%
25 698391 27.0% 67.6% 31.1% 66.5% 38.5% 11.2% 45.7% 3.1% 0.3%
26 698126 60.9% 34.4% 67.6% 30.7% 70.7% 6.8% 15.4% 5.2% 0.5%
27 698308 33.7% 63.2% 34.3% 64.8% 14.4% 0.5% 84.0% 0.7% 0.1%
28 698289 36.5% 60.3% 36.7% 62.3% 16.6% 0.9% 81.3% 0.5% 0.3%
29 697988 24.4% 72.1% 32.0% 66.9% 14.6% 10.8% 71.9% 2.0% 0.2%
30 698420 19.3% 78.1% 20.6% 78.6% 21.7% 45.7% 29.8% 1.6% 0.3%
31 698734 68.9% 27.2% 69.6% 29.1% 69.0% 10.9% 15.7% 2.3% 0.5%
32 698496 46.6% 48.5% 57.0% 41.5% 58.3% 11.2% 21.0% 7.8% 0.3%
33 698613 32.7% 63.9% 36.1% 63.0% 29.1% 13.2% 52.2% 4.2% 0.4%
34 698327 34.6% 60.5% 43.7% 54.9% 70.6% 3.9% 15.8% 7.7% 0.3%
35 698710 60.1% 36.5% 60.5% 38.2% 46.2% 5.4% 45.9% 1.4% 0.3%
36 698026 72.0% 25.2% 73.2% 25.7% 69.4% 8.9% 18.6% 1.8% 0.5%

Utah

Utah’s congressional districts were drawn in order to eliminate the state’s one Democratic representative, Jim Matheson. This required splitting central Salt Lake City among multiple districts.

My map creates a compact Salt Lake City-based district that would likely have elected a Democrat to Congress throughout this decade. The remaining three districts are solidly Republican.

NET CHANGE: D +1

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 690801 50.7% 21.4% 78.4% 19.4% 85.5% 1.0% 9.8% 2.0% 0.5%
2 691224 29.0% 48% 51.0% 46.2% 73.4% 1.6% 17.3% 5.4% 0.8%
3 690490 42.0% 21% 78.8% 18.2% 85.0% 0.5% 9.6% 3.1% 0.4%
4 691363 58.1% 20.1% 82.2% 15.2% 87.4% 0.3% 8.0% 1.1% 2.2%

 

Virginia

Virginia was another state that was required to redraw its districts mid-decade to produce another effective minority-majority district. My map includes two districts that would have elected African-American candidates of choice. It cleans up the lines considerably by creating a new district in the Shenandoah Valley, a region which is now split among several other districts (this practice goes back to 1992, when the then-Democratic legislature wanted to eliminate the seat of then-congressman George Allen, and has been continued since then in order to benefit incumbents).

I felt it was necessary to keep the 10th District entirely within the Northern Virginia suburbs. The 10th District I have drawn would have voted for Republicans Frank Wolf in 2012 and Barbara Comstock in 2014, but would have elected Democrat LuAnn Bennett in 2016.

NET CHANGE: D +1

 

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 727032 52.8% 41.7% 57.4% 41.6% 77.3% 14.0% 3.4% 3.7% 0.3%
2 727734 50.8% 42.9% 52.1% 47.1% 69.1% 18.5% 5.0% 5.2% 0.3%
3 727567 28.9% 66.6% 28.8% 70.6% 46.8% 42.6% 5.3% 2.8% 0.4%
4 727372 31.1% 64.7% 32.8% 66.6% 45.7% 46.1% 4.7% 1.8% 0.4%
5 726979 54.4% 41.3% 54.3% 44.7% 72.7% 21.5% 2.7% 1.9% 0.2%
6 727395 59.7% 34.9% 59.6% 39.4% 83.4% 10.7% 3.2% 1.4% 0.2%
7 727189 57.4% 36.7% 56.0% 41.9% 79.4% 10.9% 6.1% 1.9% 0.3%
8 727244 20.4% 74.0% 31.4% 67.8% 54.1% 17.5% 17.2% 8.7% 0.2%
9 727793 69.0% 27.1% 63.9% 34.7% 90.7% 5.6% 1.7% 1.1% 0.2%
10 727296 40.0% 54.4% 48.0% 51.1% 62.9% 7.8% 12.9% 14.1% 0.2%
11 727423 28.5% 65.9% 37.9% 61.3% 56.7% 7.2% 15.0% 18.7% 0.2%

 

Washington

As bipartisan redistricting commissions are wont to do, Washington’s bipartisan redistricting commission strove for partisan balance in the state’s congressional lines. Thus, it made changes to the state’s district lines that were designed to make the 1st District more competitive politically. It thus messed with the lines in service of achieving partisan competitiveness. However, the 1st District has continued to elect a Democrat to Congress.

I cleaned up the politically-oriented changes the Commission made to the 1st and 2nd Districts. I also redrew the 6th and 10th Districts so they would have more regular lines.  These changes do not affect the state’s partisan congressional delegation.

NET CHANGE: NONE

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 672483 33.8% 58.1% 39.3% 58.1% 75.9% 2.0% 6.6% 12.4% 0.6%
2 672332 38.8% 52.9% 42.0% 55.2% 82.7% 1.4% 7.6% 4.2% 1.8%
3 672301 49.9% 42.5% 49.6% 47.9% 86.2% 1.3% 5.9% 3.4% 1.0%
4 672786 57.9% 35.1% 59.7% 37.9% 64.1% 0.9% 29.5% 1.6% 2.3%
5 672569 52.2% 39.1% 53.5% 43.7% 87.9% 1.4% 4.4% 2.5% 1.6%
6 672365 39.5% 51.8% 41.2% 56.1% 77.1% 5.1% 6.3% 6.7% 1.3%
7 672234 12.2% 82.1% 18.1% 79.2% 75.0% 4.0% 6.3% 10.9% 0.7%
8 672395 44.7% 47.7% 48.1% 49.7% 79.9% 2.1% 7.7% 7.0% 0.9%
9 672331 23.3% 70.5% 29.6% 68.3% 53.1% 10.4% 10.0% 22.8% 0.6%
10 672744 39.9% 51.3% 41.1% 56.3% 79.1% 3.8% 6.3% 5.5% 1.9%

 

West Virginia

I cleaned up West Virginia’s lines a bit, mostly so the Second District would be more compact and the panhandle would not be split. The partisan impact is nil– the Second District, which saw the only close West Virginia congressional race this decade (in 2014), becomes slightly more Republican.

NET CHANGE: NONE

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 620082 66.0% 28.4% 60.2% 37.5% 93.1% 3.3% 1.5% 1.0% 0.2%
2 614690 67.8% 27.4% 62.0% 36.0% 94.6% 2.9% 0.8% 0.6% 0.2%
3 618222 72.5% 23.3% 65.0% 32.8% 94.1% 3.7% 0.7% 0.5% 0.2%

Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s congressional lines were drawn with the intent of shoring up the state’s 5 incumbent Republicans. However, the protection wasn’t really needed, given Wisconsin’s Republican trend through the decade. I have drawn a map that follows county lines and generally follows the boundaries of the pre-2012 districts. Each of the state’s 5 Republican incumbents would have a safe district that voted for Trump and Romney.

NET CHANGE: NONE

 

Population Trump Clinton Romney Obama White VAP Black VAP Hisp VAP Asian VAP Nat Amer VAP
1 711073 51.6% 43.3% 50.6% 48.4% 85.6% 4.8% 7.0% 1.5% 0.3%
2 710487 29.0% 65.8% 30.5% 68.3% 86.8% 3.8% 4.6% 3.4% 0.3%
3 711538 48.8% 45.3% 43.3% 55.3% 94.7% 0.9% 1.8% 1.5% 0.6%
4 710923 21.8% 74.0% 23.8% 75.3% 51.5% 30.4% 12.9% 3.2% 0.6%
5 710871 59.4% 35.3% 63.3% 35.7% 92.0% 1.5% 3.4% 2.2% 0.3%
6 710529 55.2% 39.3% 52.6% 46.3% 93.0% 1.4% 3.1% 1.5% 0.4%
7 710631 57.3% 37.8% 50.4% 48.3% 94.6% 0.5% 1.2% 1.3% 1.6%
8 710934 56.2% 38.6% 51.3% 47.6% 91.2% 0.9% 3.2% 1.6% 2.3%

 

 

 

Thoughts on Missouri Redistricting 2020

Missouri is one of the few states where we didn’t max out in 2010 and we will have a chance at a trifecta in 2020. In 2010 we managed to override the veto of Jay Nixon to eliminate Russ Carnahan’s district and make a 7-2 map with the help of Emmanuel Cleaver who liked his district and told State Reps in his district to approve the map. This meant Cleaver had to be kept safe. But now, with Eric Greitens winning the Governorship, Cleaver should be an immediate target, as he’s sitting in a D+6 (2016 only) district surrounded by two R+20 and R+18 districts with an R+25 district further south to draw from.

 

My priorities with this map were

  1. Eliminate Cleaver’s seat and replace with a seat likely to be won by a Republican
  2. Strengthen MO-02 district as she has by far the weakest  Republican seat in the state that moved away from us in 2016. Trump won MO-02 by 10. His second weakest Republican district in the state was MO-06 which he won by 31.
  3. Avoid a lawsuit regarding to VRA protections

Here’s the Map:

Here’s what I did to each district

MO-01 (Dark blue): Kept exactly the same. I think this district is losing  population, so it may need to gain precincts, which could be good for us as it could take the worst precincts in MO-02.

2008 Results: Obama 80.2-McCain 18.9; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 20.7%

MO-02 (Green). Removed some of the areas from Crystal Lake Park to Clarkson Valley which swung the worst against Trump. Kept a decent amount of St. Louis County in this district. Added all of St. Charles County and most of Warren, Franklin and Lincoln Counties. This becomes more of a safe Republican exurban district than a safe, but possibly shaky in the future suburban Republican district like it is now. My guess is Trump won it by 20?

2008 Results: McCain 53.4-Obama 45.6; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 59.1%

MO-03 (Purple):Took in the worst swinging areas of MO-02, but removed the “arm” out to central Missouri and the parts of St. Charles County. Added all of Jefferson County and goes southeast all the way down to Cape Girardeau. I like this district because it combined the areas most likely to swing against us in St. Louis county with the areas that swung massively towards Trump. Trump probably won it by 25-30.

2008 Results: McCain 52.9-Obama 46.0; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 58.8%

MO-04 (Red): MO-04 took in all the black areas of Kansas City to avoid splitting up the black population of MO-05 to avoid a lawsuit. It goes from the black areas of KC straight down into heavily Republican southwest Missouri going as far south as Barton County and going as far east as Cole County. Boone County is not in this district anymore. Trump probably won this by 20-25.

2008 Results: McCain 51.3-Obama 47.5; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 56.8%

MO-05 (Yellow): The new MO-05 goes from Independence and some KC suburbs to rural central Missouri

2008 Results: McCain 51.8-Obama 46.8; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 56.7%

MO-06 (Teal): This takes in all the white Democrat areas of KC and loses some KC suburbs and rural areas to MO-05. This is probably the most vulnerable Republican in the state now but Trump probably still won this handily.

2008 Results: McCain 49.9-Obama 48.5; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 55.7%

MO-07  (Gray): Basically the same, loses some of it’s most northernmost counties and goes further east. Easily Safe R

2008 Results: McCain 63.0 Obama 35.6; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 68.9%

MO-08 (Light Blue): Loses Cape Girardeau and some rural areas and takes in Boone County. Considering Trump won the current version of this district by 55, I figured it could take in a lean D county. Still easily safe R.

2008 Results: McCain 57.0-Obama 41.0; 2012 Romney 2 Party %: 63.8%

Here’s a close up of the Jackson County crack

and what I did with St. Louis county here

I think this map did a decent job of achieving my goals. Thoughts?

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