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Old 11-06-2012, 07:46 AM  
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United States Gerrymandering, Visualized

This is amazing.

Just... enjoy this. This is beautiful.

http://uxblog.idvsolutions.com/2010/...d-to-know.html

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Gerrymandering
Monday, October 25, 2010

http://youtu.be/5k4N2uh8ZnI

What the Deuce is Gerrymandering?

Gerrymandering is the practice of carving up representative districts in a…creative fashion to benefit one party or another. The early ideal for carving up our new nation into representative districts was relative compactness. In 1812 Elbridge Gerry (sounds like “jerry”), governor of Massachusetts, carved up his state into curious districts that would benefit his party, causing political commentators of the time to lampoon the districting as looking like a salamander. The Boston Gazette ran a cartoon of the "Gerrymander" and the rest is history. By the way, this original gerrymander seems to me pretty tame compared to some you are likely to see today.



Who Benefits from Gerrymandering?

The sticky wicket of districting is, like history, the folks in charge get to decide. It is impossible to realistically separate the drawing of districts from political advantage, which, realistically, gets banged out during an over-nighter locked-door wheel-and-deal session probably devoid of even the idea of math.

There is no consistent gotcha finger you can point at a gerrymandered district, however. Sometimes the guy twisting his long waxy mustache is the party that lost that district. Why? Because often the strategy is to pack in a supermajority of opposition voters into one district and write that off as a guaranteed loss, but then be assured to win the surrounding districts.

Other times the benefit falls to the winner of the gerrymandered district that encompasses a minority enclave, which, otherwise, would not have “their own” representation in congress.

Wikipedia has a great section on the various possible goals and benefactors of a gerrymandered district in an authoritative tone that I can't hope to equal.



Why is Gerrymandering Important to Understand?

The United States is a representative republic…not a pure democracy. Each voter does not vote on each bill. Instead, we vote on representatives who act as our proxy in congress. How do we lump ourselves up for representation? Districts. Districts! So, geography is one of the single biggest factors driving our representative republic. And, considering how important districting is, the rules for defining them are pretty loosey goosey.

So let’s use extremes as examples, as that’s a pretty helpful tool for illustration in this case. Suppose folks in the United States are the product of an absolute melting pot; where we live doesn’t have much to do with how we think, and in turn how we might vote. In this case divvying up people into geographic districts is a simple task of finding the most evenly populated compact voronoi shapes, and think nothing else of it. Alternatively, consider the United States as a conglomerate of segregated socio-economic-politico-ethnic camps who vie for representative leverage. Drawing representative districts then becomes primarily a political (rather than geometric) task and the resulting territories may be impossibly undulating and complex in an effort to grab even populations of “like minded” folks.

The reality is somewhere in-between. And my sense is that wherever your notion of relative American mixedness (in reality and idealistically) falls within that spectrum will pretty well predict your relative comfort with gerrymandering. So you can take that for whatever it’s worth.

Our Gerrymander Mojo Rating...

...is the perimeter divided by the square root of the area. The ratio of perimeter to area will give you a good idea of the relative splatteredness of a shape. And, taking the square root of the area will ensure that the ratio is consistent at all scales (so large districts aren't biased towards compactness). If something is nice and compact (like a circle or...Wyoming), the result is a small number. If something is hopelessly undulating (like Illinois' 4th congressional district), the number will be large. A rough index like this is a good starting point for looking into potential Gerrymanders, and might lead to some interesting questions.



Two predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods on either side of Chicago, linked by a precarious stretch of Interstate 294, form the interesting 4th Congressional District of Illinois.



The state of Wyoming (which is, in it's entirety, a single congressional district) can't believe how compact it is.

Caveats

Wait a second, what makes relatively compact shapes so special? Even if you consider the population of the U.S. as wholly mixed and you reject boundaries characterized by ethnicity and wealth and so on, you still have to admit that the patterns of our nation’s development (and the patterns of human settlement in general) are complex and meandering in shape and influence and awkward squiggly groupings thereof are more accurate delineations than arbitrary compact cookie cutter shapes. What’s more, the complex geographic landscape that we settle into (like meandering rivers and valleys) certainly isn’t characterized by highly efficient shapes of elegant compactness.

What I mean to say is that coming up with an ideal district shape philosophy is hard, and lots of factors go into the forming of a district that are not necessarily nefarious or even political in nature (but...come on). Districts that skirt rivers or coastlines, or straddle mountain ranges will wreak havoc on our simple index of Gerrymandering; keep this in mind as you browse our maps. In short, ratings like ours should be taken with a grain of salt.

Some Interesting Districts (other than the two up there)...



Illinois has more than one intriguing district. Like it's cousin, the 4th, the 17th district is a clear recipient of political maneuvering and has been nicknamed the "Rabbit on a Skateboard."



California's 23rd district encompasses a very thin stretch of much of California's southern coast.



The Wall Street Journal called North Carolina's relatively new district (1990) "political pornography." This district led to a Supreme Court case over gerrymandering in 1993. You can't make this stuff up.



Florida's 22nd district has fingers that meander into several cities. This district was at the center of the 2000 Presidential Election recount.



The districts surrounding Maryland's 3rd district can be forgiven because their complex coastlines blow out our index. But that 3rd District got cranked right out of the gerrymander factory.



New Jersey's 6th district's already interesting shape generates additional interest with the inclusion of a lobe connected by a thin stretch of beach.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:46 AM   #2
Direckshun Direckshun is online now
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The whole map.

http://vfdemo.idvsolutions.com/districtmojo/
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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Something BOTH sides have engaged in.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Something BOTH sides have engaged in.
Agreed and it shouldn't happen for either party. If you can't win without playing these kind of tricks, you don't deserve to win.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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Only thing both sides seem to agree on. Drawing districts that restrict competitive races.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:13 PM   #7
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If you think the Democrats haven't done this just as much as the Republicans, you are truly an idiot.

It took one Google search to immediately find numerous examples of gerrymandering by the Democrats.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...Gerrymandering

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...sive-dem-gerr/

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/...is-gerrymander

You and BigRedChief have been amazingly obnoxious ever since your candidate won. It's not enough that your party retained control of the White House and the Senate. The two of you are hell-bent upon trying to prove that (1) there was such a mandate for Obama that he should now be able to implement whatever left-wing policies he desires, because after all, "elections have consequences", and (2) the only reason you didn't get control of the House is because the cheating Republicans gerrymandered you out of it.

You guys really should try being gracious winners instead of assholes. I used to think you both were probably pretty decent guys in real life. I don't think that any more.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaid View Post
Agreed and it shouldn't happen for either party. If you can't win without playing these kind of tricks, you don't deserve to win.
Well, that there undoes a lot of elections going back a long time. If a party wins an election that's one of the incumbent benefits they get.
It still goes back to elections no matter how you slice it.
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Last edited by BucEyedPea; 11-11-2012 at 04:20 PM..
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
If you think the Democrats haven't done this just as much as the Republicans, you are truly an idiot.
Wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
The two of you are hell-bent upon trying to prove that (1) there was such a mandate for Obama that he should now be able to implement whatever left-wing policies he desires, because after all, "elections have consequences",
Irrelevent to this thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
and (2) the only reason you didn't get control of the House is because the cheating Republicans gerrymandered you out of it.
Swing and a miss.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brainiac View Post
You guys really should try being gracious winners instead of assholes. I used to think you both were probably pretty decent guys in real life. I don't think that any more.
Sandy vagina.

Other than that, you're doing great.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:17 PM
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:19 PM   #10
BucEyedPea BucEyedPea is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Irrelevent to this thread.
It's completely relevant to this thread.

Quote:
Swing and a miss.
Nope. That's your side on this issue.


Oh and you have NO mandate. Even Madison says you don't.

"This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure." - Federalist Papers, No. 58, 1788

The House has the power of the purse. The Democrats used it to end the Vietnam war by not funding it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:19 PM   #11
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Wrong.



Irrelevent to this thread.



Swing and a miss.



Sandy vagina.

Other than that, you're doing great.
Four stupid non-responses. That is what I have come to expect from you. It is sad what you have become.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:21 PM   #12
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Four stupid non-responses.
Well, when you're bringing up irrelevent arguments, factually wrong statements, and arguing against strawmen, all the time pissing and moaning, it's hard to muster much of anything in response.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:29 PM   #13
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Well, when you're bringing up irrelevent arguments, factually wrong statements, and arguing against strawmen, all the time pissing and moaning, it's hard to muster much of anything in response.
Now you've got me curious. What statement do you think is factually wrong?
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:30 PM   #14
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Now you've got me curious. What statement do you think is factually wrong?
Probably the one I said was wrong.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:35 PM   #15
Brainiac Brainiac is offline
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Probably the one I said was wrong.
I didn't think you'd have the balls to try to back up your statement.
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