NYTimes’ look at redistricting in U.S. notes results for GOP in North Carolina

“RavenRavinoff” — a twitterer who caught Xpress’ attention when he (or she — identity unknown) parried with local radio host Pete Kaliner over a few details about the Asheville Food Policy and City Council member Gordon Smith. Today, Ravinoff tweeted a link to a New York Times opinion piece that analyzes redistricting across the United States.

North Carolina politics remains in the national spotlight: New York Times guest columnist Sam Wang offers his analysis, “The Great Gerrymander of 2012” — and includes a look at the power of GOP redistricting in the state.

Normally we would expect more seats in Congress to go to the political party that receives more votes, but the last election confounded expectations. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II. …

Through artful drawing of district boundaries, it is possible to put large groups of voters on the losing side of every election. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based political group dedicated to electing state officeholders, recently issued a progress report on Redmap, its multiyear plan to influence redistricting. The $30 million strategy consists of two steps for tilting the playing field: take over state legislatures before the decennial Census, then redraw state and Congressional districts to lock in partisan advantages. The plan was highly successful. …

…start with the naïve standard that the party that wins more than half the votes should get at least half the seats. In November, five states failed to clear even this low bar: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. …

In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was 51 percent Democratic, 49 percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and six Republicans. The actual outcome? Four Democrats, nine Republicans — a split that occurred in less than 1 percent of simulations. If districts were drawn fairly, this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur. …

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About Margaret Williams
Managing Editor Margaret Williams has been at Xpress since 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987.

8 thoughts on “NYTimes’ look at redistricting in U.S. notes results for GOP in North Carolina

  1. Big Al

    Democrats gerrymandered NC districts for DECADES and no one in the “mainstream” press said boo.

    But the first time Republicans are able to redistrict to THEIR advantage, it becomes “the great” gerrymander.

    Just more proof of the hypocrisy (or outright lie) of the press claiming no bias toward the liberals or Democrats.

    • MIke

      Exactly! Look at the NC 1st and 12th districts and tell me that those aren’t gerrymandered for the benefit of ensuring Democrat winners.

    • Jake

      What a load of caca! The Democrats never perpetrated the abuse of which the GOP is guilty. Never. You suggest that turnabout is fair play, but this case is not turnabout, it is corruption.

      You can spew about “outright lie[s]” all you want, but your rant has NO basis in fact. All this does is reveal your loathesome disdain for democracy, Little Al.

    • Mike O

      Never? Really? Jake, did you even bother to look at how the 12th district is drawn? THAT is gerrymandering.

      What was done with the 11th was to allow the district to not be swayed by a single city.

  2. dontalley

    Democrats have used redistricting in the past and the press did cover that and continues to point out democratic redistricting in the state of NC. The difference today is the extent and perfection of redistricting to effect the outcome of elections. The adolescent bickering over “they did it first…did not …did too” isn’t going to solve the problem. BOTH parties need to get firmly behind efforts toward independent redistricting and solve the problem instead of hurling insults. We elected them to Serve The People and solve problems instead of engaging in verbal mudslinging.

  3. Keith Thomson

    Over 600 precincts statewide were split in the recent redistricting. By design this packed minorities, and female Democratic Representatives, (i.e. Patsy Keever and Susan Fisher)into the same districts, insuring that Republicans would win the majority of seats, even receiving a minority of votes.

    The lines are drawn to confuse voters about which candidates they could vote for in their precinct, and increasing the cost of elections by requiring multiple different ballots in the same precinct because of the split lines between House, Senate, and Congressional districts.

    Communities of interest, Counties and Precincts were purposefully divided by the gerrymandering Republicans to guarantee their chances of gaining power to force through their agenda of dismantling public education, community colleges and the best University system in the country.

    All of this investment was aimed to lower taxes on the wealthy and increase the burdens on lower income working people. If you voted for them shame on you, if you stayed home and did not vote in 2010, double shame on you.

  4. Big Al

    “The difference today is the extent and perfection of redistricting…”

    So the GOP is evil because it beat the Dems at their own game? Puleeezee…

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