Monday, February 19, 2018

Pennsylvania Just Got Ungerrymandered. Here's How That Looks For November


Nate Cohn's analysis of the new Pennsylvania congressional boundaries for the NY Times is very well-done. The key take-away is that the Democrats are likely to do a lot better under this map than they could have ever done under the grotesquely gerrymandered map the Republican legislature concotted. The old district lines had Trump winning 12 districts to 6 for Hillary. The new lines show Hillary with 8 and Trump with 10. In 2012 Romney won 12 to Obama's 5, even though Obama won the state 2,990,274 (51.97%) to 2,680,434 (46.59%). The new lines would have had Obama and Romney winning in 9 districts each. It's a much fairer map, although the Republicans-- as is their wont-- are already screaming bloody murder.

Cohn speculated that "Perhaps no event will do more to reshape the fight for control of the House than the new congressional map just released by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. At stake was the fate of a Republican gerrymander that intended to cement a 13-5 Republican advantage in an evenly divided state. Now the Republicans will have little to no advantage at all. Democrats couldn’t have asked for much more from the new map. It’s arguably even better for them than the maps they proposed themselves. Over all, a half-dozen competitive Republican-held congressional districts move to the left, endangering several incumbent Republicans, one of whom may now be all but doomed to defeat, and improving Democratic standing in two open races." But the court did something that goes beyond party politics: "Based on recent election results, the new congressional map comes very close to achieving partisan balance."

The most gerrymandered district in the state, the old 7th district is the new 5th. Clinton's 2 point win turns into a 28 point win as the district goes from a meandering, insane mess-- probably the most outrageously gerrymandered district in the whole country-- to a sane-looking district in the suburbs south of Philly, primarily all of Delaware County with a little bit of south Philly and some of Montgomery County. Cohn is right to call it "an exemplar for nonpartisan redistricting."

Meanwhile, the new 7th was essentially Charlie Dent's old 15th. Trump won the 15th by 8 points. Hillary would have won under the new boundaries by 1 point. Dent isn't running for reelection, making this one even more ripe for a Democratic takeover.
The old 15th wasn't as easily caricatured as the old Seventh. But the old crayfish-like 15th was just about as likely to receive a makeover to the advantage of the Democrats.

The previous map split the Lehigh Valley, a Democratic-tilting urban area that naturally anchors a congressional district, and added a long, deeply Republican tail to the west. Together, it was enough to make a safe district for Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican who never faced a serious contest.

Now Republicans are probably underdogs to hold the new Seventh. Mr. Dent retired last September, and the new district is considerably more Democratic without its crawfish tail. The Lehigh Valley is united, the crawdad tail amputated and replaced by diverse Democratic-leaning parts of southern Monroe County.
The 6th, Ryan Costello's seat, retains its number but not it's partisan makeup. In 2016 it went very narrowly for Clinton (one point). Under these new boundaries it would have gone to her by 9 points. Cohn speculated that Costello is in so much trouble that "one wonders whether he will even be inclined to seek re-election."

The current 16th, where Republican incumbent Lloyd Smucker is being challenged by progressive Democrat Jess King, is the new 11th and it's quite a bit redder because it no longer has Reading.
The district is naturally Republican; Lancaster County has voted Republican in all but one presidential election since 1860. But the current district is relatively competitive, since it stretches out to relieve other suburban Republicans of relatively Democratic parts of Chester and Berks Counties. The incumbent Republican, the first-term representative Lloyd Smucker, was potentially somewhat vulnerable on the current map.

Without the burden of helping out his Republican colleagues, Mr. Smucker’s new 11th District moves to the right on the new map.

More surprising than the territory it gave up, though, is the territory it added: the heavily conservative countryside in York County. The formation of this deeply conservative district is a defensible choice but, again, one that works to the advantage of the Democrats by creating a Republican vote-sink. It winds up making it a lot harder for the Republican Scott Perry
And, speaking of Perry, his district, PA-04 will now be PA-10, still very Republican, but not nearly as Republican. Under the old boundaries, Trump won it with 21%. The new boundaries would have given Trump a 9 point advantage. Still safer than Perry deserves.

The current 8th (Bucks County plus some of Montgomery County) is the new 1st and it went from an evenly split district to one that would have favored Hillary by 2 points. That's Brian Fitzpatrick's seat and he's now going to be in a tighter race for survival.

The current 18th-- the one where the Lamb vs Saccone battled in being waged in the southwest corner of the state-- is the new 14th and it's even redder than it was before. It was a Trump district by 20 points and is now a Trump district by 29. If Lamb pulls off a miracle and wins next month, he'd likely lose in November, unless he flips parties, as Blue Dogs so often do-- or-- more likely-- unless he moves to the new 17th.

The new 17th, suburbs west of Pittsburgh, is the old 12th (Keith Rothfus' district). Trump won the 12th with a 21 point margin. He would have won under the new boundaries, but just by 3 points. Big trouble for Keith Rothfus. who is currently being challenged by progressive Tom Prigg, who certainly isn't likely to roll over and play dead for a Blue Dog shithead like Conor Lamb.

The current 17th went for Trump with a 10 point margin. The new 8th would do the same. This is Democrat Matt Cartwright's district. When I asked him how he feels about the new lines, he told me "It's bittersweet. On the one hand, I lose three counties I have come to love, and where I have formed lasting and I hope lifelong friendships: Schuylkill, Carbon and Northampton counties.  On the other hand, I pick up some wonderful places, namely Pike and Wayne counties, beautiful, scenic areas, with pristine lakes and waterways, including a much longer stretch of the Delaware River than I already have, and also some terrific educational institutions: Misericordia University, and the Luzerne County Community College. Also on balance it will be more work for me to get around and meet new people and figure out their concerns, but hard work never scared me." Actually, the district is fractionally bluer and less likely to attract one of the multimillionaire Wall Street whores who were looking to give Cartwright a tough fight.

As Cohn put it, "The new district trades out the conservative body of the octopus for similarly conservative territory closer to the district’s urban core in Scranton, resulting in no real shift in the overall partisan makeup of the district. On the prior map, the Democratic representative Matt Cartwright was favored to win re-election. There’s some chance that swapping out familiar for unfamiliar conservative territory will dim his re-election prospects, but in this political environment he remains a favorite."

Over in Philly the old first district becomes the new second. It was a Hillary district by 61 points. Now it would be just a 48 point Hillary. Cohn thinks Brendan Doyle is likely to run there, rather than the new 4th, which has most of his old district (the 13th). The old 13th-- the 4th now-- was a very blue district that Hillary won by 34 points. Under the new boundaries it's still very blue but Clinton would have "only" won it by 19 points. It's a more Montgomery-based district.

The other Philly district-- now the second and turning into the third-- gave Hillary a jaw-dropping 83 point lead over Trump and under the new boundaries would be slightly bluer! She would have won by 84 points.

The 3rd district over in the northwest corner of the state, will be renumbered the 16th. It went for Trump by 26 points. It's still prohibitively red, but will be a Trump district by "just" 20 points.

The old 5th is the new 15th. It will be a lot redder. Trump won it by 29 but under the new lines, he would have won it by 43. The conservative Republican incumbent, Glenn Thompson, has nothing to worry about.

The current hopelessly red 9th district (Trump +43) will be the 13th, which will be slightly redder-- R+46. Bill Shuster is retiring.

Tom Marino's old 10th (Trump +36) becomes the 12th and stays as a Trump +36 district.

Lou Barletta's current 11th will be the 9th. It was Trump +24 and will be another even redder hellhole-- Trump +34.

Mike Doyle's old 14th-- Pittsburgh-- (Clinton +35) will be the new 18th and is slightly less blue-- but still very blue-- Clinton +27.

Labels: , , , ,


At 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A R advantage is still a R advantage. And for federal elections, the Rs will have 10 plus 4 or 5, minimum, of the democrap districts. That leaves only 3 or 4 of the democrap districts with potential progressive candidates. Figure all or all but 1 of them will eventually get with the money's program. The model for this is senator Patty Murray.

I don't get the euphoria. But then I remember that the democrap strategery is to lose by a small margin so they don't have to govern but can still whore for decent money.

At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's a much fairer map, although the Republicans-- as is their wont-- are already screaming bloody murder."

Can't you feel their pain? The GOP is fatally allergic to fairness in any form which doesn't benefit them at everyone else's expense. Why, to allow such fairness to erupt could cause them irreparable harm and engender extinction.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger SipSip Titimo said...

Thank you comrad.
We can always count on tour repug trolling to help us understand your sick and twisted thinking.
You are the standard bearer of Russian bot propaganda.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Projecting again, Kamerad Warm Bruder? When is your medal ceremony? The one where HER! knights you? I can't wait to hear your acceptance speech! It will prove to be so uplifting!


Post a Comment

<< Home