Gerrymandering

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Lance Kennedy
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Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:20 pm

Reference :New Scientist, 18 November 2017, page 35

The word came from 1812, when the governor of Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry, redrew an electoral map so drastically as to make one electoral district look on the map like a salamander. It was called Gerrys salamander, which became gerrymander, and the word entered the English language. It means redrawing electoral boundaries so as to give an unfair advantage to one political candidate.

In my country, and in Britain, this form of electoral corruption has been largely avoided by passing over the responsibility to draw electoral boundaries to an independent body. But in the USA, those boundaries are still drawn by politicians, and they draw them to their personal advantage. Both Republican and Democrat politicians do it.

It is possible to detect deliberate gerrymandering by a computer analysis of the map, using now established algorithms. But how to stop it ? It is not illegal. The American Supreme Court has previously stated that this practice is not forbidden by the constitution, and is thus legal. But it is no doubt a practice that goes contrary to the principles of democracy, and it disenfranchises certain people, by making their votes valueless.

Currently the practice is under legal scrutiny again. Democrats in the Wisconsin State Assembly have challenged a particularly obvious Republican redrawing of the maps to give them an unfair advantage in two elections. At state level, they won, but the case is now due to be heard by the Supreme Court. Bearing in mind the earlier Supreme Court decision, is there any chance they will make a judgement that is in favor of the voter ?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:20 pm

I agree, gerrymandering is a corrupt practice.

And it is not limited to the United States.

I would certainly favor making it illegal in the US.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:05 am

Lance Kennedy wrote: It is possible to detect deliberate gerrymandering by a computer analysis of the map, using now established algorithms.
What is this reference to/reliance upon computers? All you have to do is just: LOOK. As they did in 1812. The Supremes as with every issue can swing either way they wish. And either way works within its own definition and application. Is Gerrymandering a political process to be resolved in that domain, or is it a more basic right of the people that can be infringed? Seems to me the Supremes have the issue about right. so far, the lines drawn have been subject to debate and disagreement but have been in the main close enough, so the issue has been left to politics. But for some time now the issue has been "weaponized" to the injury of the people, and the country. I'm sure the Supremes will see that, even though it will disadvantage, take away a weapon of, the Republican Party. Back and Forth it goes.

Guns is the same issue with a wrinkle if you wish. The Supremes can leave it Political: if you don't like the gun policy of America, then change the constitution.......or..... they could step in and change the laws by finding an infringement of the basic rights of the people...............the right to life, safety, and security. An issue as obvious as Gerrymander, and all you have to do is: Look. Back and Forth it goes.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:22 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:. . . Guns is the same issue with a wrinkle if you wish. The Supremes can leave it Political: if you don't like the gun policy of America, then change the constitution.......or..... they could step in and change the laws by finding an infringement of the basic rights of the people...............the right to life, safety, and security. An issue as obvious as Gerrymander, and all you have to do is: Look. Back and Forth it goes.
Since you seem to want to argue about guns, I'll point out the obvious: My right to own and carry a gun does not in any way infringe your basic right to life, safety, or security. Silly hooman.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Phoenix76 » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:22 am

Bobbo, you seem to have a real fetish about guns. Why?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:28 am

Its just one on a list of many things I have a continuing interest in. In this case.....since X agrees on the issue of Gerry, I'm giving him another opportunity to see how "the law"/Constitution/Society/Supremes/Politics all mash together to give us what we have today, and what we will have tomorrow. No anal blockage about God Given Rights.

Basically: all subjects are the same. How we think and don't think about them.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:52 pm

It is not difficult to set up a fairer voting system. On presidential elections, make it a simple count. Over the whole nation. Whichever candidate gets the most votes wins. Stuff the electoral college.

For other elections, where electoral regions are inevitable, use independent groups to set boundaries. This is what is in front of the Supreme Court right now. I have no faith in them, mind you. The Supreme Court is a politically selected body and is likely to do whatever its political masters tell it to do.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by ElectricMonk » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:06 pm

Instant run off is the best system for maximising the amount of votes that matter.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:19 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:It is not difficult to set up a fairer voting system. On presidential elections, make it a simple count. Over the whole nation. Whichever candidate gets the most votes wins. Stuff the electoral college.
Nope.

With your proposal, then the only two states that would matter in a presidential election are California and New York, more or less. The majority of other states may as well not bother voting since they will always be outnumbered by the largest states. And that is an unfair system to most states. That's exactly why the founders created the a Senate in addition to the House of Representatives, so that all states have an equal voice in federal legislation. And that's how it should be.

So, I disagree very strongly with your proposal, on the grounds that is is grossly unfair to most states.

In any case, who the {!#%@} are you to be telling other countries how they should be run?

Run your own country the way you see fit and let others do the same.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:23 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Its just one on a list of many things I have a continuing interest in. In this case.....since X agrees on the issue of Gerry, I'm giving him another opportunity to see how "the law"/Constitution/Society/Supremes/Politics all mash together to give us what we have today, and what we will have tomorrow.
Thanks, bobbo for giving me that opportunity.

I've given the matter all the proper and thorough consideration it warrants.

Nothing there that merits changing my opinion.

You gave it a sincere effort, and I appreciate that you were thinking of my best interests.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:29 pm

Xouper

I think you misunderstood my post. I suggested total votes. That does not mean one vote per state. It means one vote per voter. That is supposed to be the gist of democracy, anyway. One person, one vote. It would not mean any real change to your voting system, since the total number of votes is recorded anyway, right now. So a presidential election would be several hundred million votes counted. One for each adult.

On telling other countries how to run, that is my privilege, based on the fact that I have the prerogative to communicate my opinions, especially on a discussion forum. Whether anyone takes any notice, of course, is a horse of another colour. I doubt it.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:43 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

I think you misunderstood my post. I suggested total votes. That does not mean one vote per state. It means one vote per voter. That is supposed to be the gist of democracy, anyway. One person, one vote. It would not mean any real change to your voting system, since the total number of votes is recorded anyway, right now. So a presidential election would be several hundred million votes counted. One for each adult.
And that is exactly how I interpreted your original comment. So thanks for confirming that I did in fact understand it correctly the first time.

I can see how your proposal would appeal to some people who haven't studied the issue in sufficient depth and with respect to the special circumstances within the US.

But again I reject your proposal as an unfair system for most states.

For example, under your proposal, no presidential candidate would ever bother to campaign in Iowa because those votes won't even matter under your proposal.

This is an old argument in the US, so it's not like you are adding anything new to the discussion.

Lance Kennedy wrote:On telling other countries how to run, that is my privilege, based on the fact that I have the prerogative to communicate my opinions, especially on a discussion forum. Whether anyone takes any notice, of course, is a horse of another colour. I doubt it.
Yes, you get to run your mouth, just like anyone else on this forum.

Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by TJrandom » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:52 pm

xouper wrote: ... Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.
You speak for the US? Who knew? Indeed, why hold elections at all - why not just let you decide? :roll:

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:58 pm

TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote: ... Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.
You speak for the US?
It was a simple observation that Lance does not vote in the US.

No need to get all stupid and make unwarranted extrapolations from my comment.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by TJrandom » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:06 pm

xouper wrote:
TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote: ... Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.
You speak for the US?
It was a simple observation that Lance does not vote in the US.

No need to get all stupid and make unwarranted extrapolations from my comment.
There you go again with your special definitions... opinion=vote?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:10 am

xouper wrote: You gave it a sincere effort, and I appreciate that you were thinking of my best interests.
.....but......but........but......Grouper: you said your ignorance was curable? I guess that follows from saying that after my multiple corrections or your factual goofs that I was stupid.

No recognition at all.

That would warrant another prat fall, but why bother??////////////////// What the Heck: Number 7.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:51 am

Xouper

I do not understand how one person one vote would be unfair. The current system where a substantial number of votes are disallowed by the electoral college seems to me to be far more unfair. Democracy is the opposite of elitocracy, and everyone is supposed to have an equal say.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by JO 753 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:52 am

Gerrymandering needz to be eliminated. It iz literally the candidates choozing their voterz!

I red in Wiki that Australia haz a form uv the problem also, unlike wut you rote in the OP, Lance.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:34 am

Jo

I am not Australian.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:17 am

There is a natural tendency for political districts to become homogeneous for one party, simply because birds of a feather etc.
And when one type of politics as been enacted for a while in one place, this makes it more attractive for supporters of these policies and less attractive for opponents.
Unless diversity is a stated goal, it is hard to maintain.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:50 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

I do not understand how one person one vote would be unfair.
OK, I accept that you do not understand.

No shame in that. We all have things we don't understand.

Are you interested in understanding, or do you just want to run your mouth?

If you're interested, there is much justification from legal experts for an electoral college system, especially given the circumstances in the US.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:52 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
xouper wrote: You gave it a sincere effort, and I appreciate that you were thinking of my best interests.
.....but......but........but......Grouper: you said your ignorance was curable?
It is indeed curable. But only with legitimate information. Let me know when you have some to offer. unlike some people, I'm not going to let just any old BS into my knowledge-base.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:56 am

TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote:
TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote: ... Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.
You speak for the US?
It was a simple observation that Lance does not vote in the US.

No need to get all stupid and make unwarranted extrapolations from my comment.
There you go again with your special definitions... opinion=vote?
Are you interested in trying to understand my point, or do you just want to pick a fight?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by TJrandom » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:14 am

xouper wrote:
TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote:
TJrandom wrote:
xouper wrote: ... Likewise, I am allowed to say when your opinion doesn't count for anything in the US.
You speak for the US?
It was a simple observation that Lance does not vote in the US.

No need to get all stupid and make unwarranted extrapolations from my comment.
There you go again with your special definitions... opinion=vote?
Are you interested in trying to understand my point, or do you just want to pick a fight?
Are you interested in trying to understand my point, or do you just want to pick a fight?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:43 am

TJrandom wrote:Are you interested in trying to understand my point, or do you just want to pick a fight?
Neither.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by JO 753 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:10 am

Lance Kennedy wrote:Jo

I am not Australian.
New Zealand, Australia - wuts the differens?

alternate snippy reply: And I'm not Jo.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:46 am

Xouper

I am talking only of the presidential election. Not state elections. Since the president is supposed to represent all Americans equally, why should not all Americans equally have their say in who gets voted in ?

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:46 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

I am talking only of the presidential election. Not state elections. Since the president is supposed to represent all Americans equally, why should not all Americans equally have their say in who gets voted in ?
Because we are the united STATES of america. NOT the united people. Just Look.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:09 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

I am talking only of the presidential election. Not state elections.
So am I.

Lance Kennedy wrote: Since the president is supposed to represent all Americans equally, why should not all Americans equally have their say in who gets voted in ?
The president is also supposed to represent all states equally.

That's why it's called the United States  of America, not the Democratic People's Republic of America.

Perhaps to get a better understanding of this, consider how Congress is elected.

The people in each state get to elect representatives to the House, where the number of representatives for each state is proportional to the population of that state. That covers the idea of one vote per person.

However, the people in each state get to elect exactly two Senators, regardless of the population in that state. In this way, each state gets an equal voice in Congress.

When making federal laws (which is what Congress does), the idea is to create some kind of balance between states rights and the rights of the people.

In the US, states rights are just as important as the rights of the general population, even though in both cases, it is the people who vote.

Likewise, the electoral college is designed to maintain a similar balance in the presidential election.

With your proposal, the only states that would get "represented" are New York and California, more or less.

Under your proposal, the president could pretty much ignore the will of the people in most of the states, which also happen to be largely rural.

And that would not be fair to the people in those states.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:23 pm

There is a good argument to be made that the president should be elected via popular vote: he represents the Federation as a whole, he is supposed to be the unifier. Congress provides the balance through a disproportionate numbers of Representatives.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:58 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:There is a good argument to be made that the president should be elected via popular vote: he represents the Federation as a whole, he is supposed to be the unifier. Congress provides the balance through a disproportionate numbers of Representatives.
I agree with a quibble. That being what the Constitution actually says. So....what you mean is the Constitution "should be" amended to achieve the goals you wish??????

Otherwise, the Pres should be elected by the STATE governing authorities as we are a Representative Democracy NOT a direct Democracy. He does NOT represent the Federation as a whole, he is the Executive Officer elected to carry out the laws passed by Congress in a "weak executive" form of government.

Just look.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:12 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:There is a good argument to be made that the president should be elected via popular vote: . . .
And an even better argument can be made against that idea.

And in fact such an argument was  made and then the result was written into the Constitution.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by ElectricMonk » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:29 pm

xouper wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:There is a good argument to be made that the president should be elected via popular vote: . . .
And an even better argument can be made against that idea.

And in fact such an argument was  made and then the result was written into the Constitution.
And it is outdated.
Modern Constitutions (Japan, Germany etc.) put much greater emphasis on unity than the US has, even after the Civil war. The idea behind a Federation is that the States act as petri dishes of democracy which can try out different laws in order to find what would work best for all, then rinse and repeat.
But most states just want their way or no way at all. This leads to the economic decay in most Republican controlled states versus the prosperous Democratic ones.
We should have reached greater, not less unity since the inception of the US, given that it is the oldest running democracy.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by Lance Kennedy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:32 pm

Xouper

Your argument basically says that if the President is elected by the majority, that discriminates against the minority. Sure, but that is democracy. The rule of the majority.

Incidentally, California and New York together have no more than 45 million people, out of 320 million in the whole USA, so I think your example could do with some tweaking.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:48 pm

Lance Kennedy wrote:Xouper

Your argument basically says that if the President is elected by the majority, that discriminates against the minority.
No, that is not what I am saying.

My argument is that there are two "majorities": the states and the general population. Your proposed solution says it doesn't matter what the majority of states want.

Lance Kennedy wrote:Incidentally, California and New York together have no more than 45 million people, out of 320 million in the whole USA, so I think your example could do with some tweaking.
Fine, tweak it. My basic point stands. Here's a map that illustrates (more or less) how important a handful of states would be under your proposal. Your proposal would allow a mere handful of states to overrule the vast majority of the other states.


Image

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:51 pm

There are Pros and Cons to every position taken. Our Founding Fathers did NOT WANT a President that sought unity in the Country. That was feared to lead to a Pres with too much power. The USA chose a constitution of LIMITED AUTHORITY SUBJECT TO CHECKS AND BALANCES..........with a weak executive. ITS CONGRESS THAT IS SUPPOSED TO RUN THIS COUNTRY=====>not the President.

Here's is another opportunity for a boring List: how many ways has the original intent of our Founding Fathers been nullified by power seeking corrupt professional politicians firmly hiding within our two party system that was not safeguarded against ?

Hing: Its a long, long list. I hear if put a popular vote, freedom of speech, thought, and action and from religion and privacy rights would all get highly restricted. Dare we have another constitutional convention?=====>Hint: Pros and Cons.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:52 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:
xouper wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:There is a good argument to be made that the president should be elected via popular vote: . . .
And an even better argument can be made against that idea.

And in fact such an argument was  made and then the result was written into the Constitution.
And it is outdated.
Not so. The argument for the electoral college is just as valid today as it was some 200 years ago.

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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:53 pm

X===nice map.....thanks.

Got one showing the $$$$$$? Hah, hah.....might come down to about 5-6 zip codes???????
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:54 pm

xouper wrote: Not so. The argument for the electoral college is just as valid today as it was some 200 years ago.
................to protect the interests of the Slave Holding States??????

Where you on Waters World last night: "What Ocean is on the East Coast?"

..................basics.......... countered with blather.

Face Plant No 8.
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Re: Gerrymandering

Post by xouper » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:56 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
xouper wrote: Not so. The argument for the electoral college is just as valid today as it was some 200 years ago.
................to protect the interests of the Slave Holding States??????

Where you on Waters World last night: "What Ocean is on the East Coast?"

..................basics.......... countered with blather.

Face Plant No 8.
:roll: