Thursday, June 23, 2005
Tyranny of the minority: GOP has built-in electoral advantage
Steven Hill in Mojo on the rural-urban gerrymander
When the two sides are tied nationally, the Republicans end up winning about 50 more House districts than the Democrats. ...It turns out that there is a fundamental anti-urban (and thus anti-Democratic) bias with single-seat districts. The urban vote is more concentrated, and so it's easier to pack Democratic voters into fewer districts. As Democratic redistricting strategist Sam Hirsch has noted, nice square districts are in effect a Republican gerrymander because they "combine a decade-old (but previously unnoticed) Republican bias" that along with a newly heightened degree of incumbent protection "has brought us one step closer to government under a United States House of Unrepresentatives."
Here's the best-known recent example of this dynamic. Even though Al Gore won a half million more votes nationwide than George Bush in 2000, Bush beat Gore in 47 more of the 2002 congressional districts.
Yet one more reason why Democrats need to run candidates in red districts and offer people there a choice other than the rancid populism of the Republican party (as Kevin Phillips called it).
More blogs about politics.