Home Elections Three clues suggest that the proposed Pennsylvania map today is still a...

Three clues suggest that the proposed Pennsylvania map today is still a bad guy

An image of a proposed Congressional map of the Pennsylvania legislature was released. It is nominally obeyed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, as it divides fewer counties than the current map. However, as we saw in North Carolina, a nicer map can still hide bad intentions.

Despite the low resolution, there is enough information to conclude that this is still a partisan. Of course one can do partisan detail, and Dave Wasserman think that it is still 12 R, 6 D and Nate Cohn think that’s 13 R, 5 D. It is absolute to remember that even according to rules based on rigor, a range of partisan outcomes is possible – and the plan is extreme.

Even without doing such seat-based calculations, three clues that point to a gerrymander are clear:

1) Packing and cracking. Population density displays show that some districts surround areas with high population density (Pittsburgh in Allegheny and Philadelphia Districts), while others divide densely populated communities down the middle (see Scranton, Harrisburg and Reading areas). Because Democrats tend to live a lot in high-density areas, this is an indication of how packed and cracked they have been.

2) Majority-ethnic minority districts. Based on news reports, Pennsylvania Republican Lawmakers are advertising that this map has two counties (PA-1 and PA-2) predominantly black, thus complying with the Voting Rights Act. However, because whites are divided between Republicans and Democrats, it is not necessary to put that many blacks in a county to help them elect someone. Today, it is only necessary to set up a “votable” district with 30-40% of black voters. That creates a safe zone for blacks (and hence Democrats) without wasting too much votes – similar to the safety zones that Republicans draw themselves. Such symmetry will pass check win lose, and treat both sides equally.

3) This process has been misleading. The democratic lawmakers were frozen in the process. If the goal was to achieve bipartisan balance, that would not have happened. One-party control does not favor equilibrium results.

Based on these three pieces of evidence, it appears that Republicans are not dealing in good faith with the order of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.



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