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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:17 PM

Nate Silver: As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand?

FiveThirtyEight:

In 1992, there were 103 members of the House of Representatives elected from what might be called swing districts: those in which the margin in the presidential race was within five percentage points of the national result. But based on an analysis of this year’s presidential returns, I estimate that there are only 35 such Congressional districts remaining, barely a third of the total 20 years ago.

Instead, the number of landslide districts — those in which the presidential vote margin deviated by at least 20 percentage points from the national result — has roughly doubled. In 1992, there were 123 such districts (65 of them strongly Democratic and 58 strongly Republican). Today, there are 242 of them (of these, 117 favor Democrats and 125 Republicans).

So why is compromise so hard in the House? Some commentators, especially liberals, attribute it to what they say is the irrationality of Republican members of Congress.

But the answer could be this instead: individual members of Congress are responding fairly rationally to their incentives. Most members of the House now come from hyperpartisan districts where they face essentially no threat of losing their seat to the other party. Instead, primary challenges, especially for Republicans, may be the more serious risk.

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Reply Nate Silver: As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? (Original post)
brooklynite Dec 2012 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #1
ShadowLiberal Dec 2012 #8
Sekhmets Daughter Dec 2012 #9
brooklynite Dec 2012 #2
Cosmocat Dec 2012 #3
NewJeffCT Dec 2012 #4
pstokely Dec 2012 #5
mrsadm Dec 2012 #6
mrsadm Dec 2012 #7

Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:25 PM

1. Gerrymandering should be outlawed...

it is killing our democratic process.

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Response to Sekhmets Daughter (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:25 PM

8. House seats each party wins should be proportional to the national vote they get

Even with laws to avoid gerrymandering, the fact is our vote is heavily concentrated in highly populated urban areas. Most 'fair' systems of no gerrymandering will favor republicans because of this, though not as much as a republican legislature doing the gerrymandering.

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Response to ShadowLiberal (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:44 PM

9. But that does away with "direct representation"

I can't see that happening here. It would have to be a very complex system, no?

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:28 PM

2. Not disagreeing...

...but Gerrymandering has been around for a long time; if anything, it's less pervasive as more States enact independent redistricting mechanisms.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:40 PM

3. Nope

it differs from state to state.

But the absurdly disproportionate amount of red to blue districts that Silver lays out - not only in basic proportion, but in light of both 08 and 12 being presidential elections where democrats received more overall votes than republicans, displays a VERY clear level of gerrymandering.

I live in Pa. Barrack Obama and Bob Casey won by more than 5 points. Democratic congressional candidate received more total votes than republican congressional candidates. Pa has 18 congressional districts. Democrats won 5, Republicans won 13.

We have almost a million more registered democrats than registered republicans. Now, we know democrats don't get out as much as Rs, but still. Republicans have a MORTAL lock in the state senate, and the House only flips in big D wave years and quickly turns back to R.

There are few states as ridiculously gerrymandered as Pa, you would literally laugh if you saw our state level and congressional district maps.

Rachel Maddow did a bit two weeks ago, and the same kind of total vote to actual results in overall congressional results occured in Mi, Va, Wisky and another state.

These five states alone likely make the republican margin in the House.

Pa needs a constitutional convention to get an independent redistricting commission.

Not happening.

The Rs who run the state set the districts, and sadly, the Ds who are in the districts that get all the Ds stuffed in them put a public show, but don't fight it one bit in Harrisburg.

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Response to Cosmocat (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 04:44 PM

4. well said

amazing - 3 states that made such a huge difference.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:09 PM

5. Gerrymandering has gotten more advanced

The districts is drawn to protect the incumbents

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:07 PM

6. Very interesting, thx for posting

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Response to brooklynite (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:08 PM

7. Very interesting, thx for posting

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