Saturday, February 24, 2018

Pennsylvania Looking Even Better For Most Democratic Candidates


Republicans worry they can't win when there are fair sensible boundaries

Corrupt gerrymandrerers, Republican Senate President Joe Scarnati and state House Speaker Mike Turzai, are not taking the new ungerrymandered congressional map of Pennsylvania laying down. They're asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in-- and step on-- the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
But experts have said Republicans face an uphill battle. Several noted that Mr. Scarnati and Mr. Turzai have fought the court’s ruling for weeks in an increasingly nasty political and legal battle but have been unsuccessful.

Just days after the state Supreme Court overturned the congressional district map, the top Republican lawmakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and stay the order, arguing that the state court was usurping the legislature’s power. That request was denied by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who did not refer the matter to the full court, as is often done, noted Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

“If you’re a Republican defending a map and you can’t even get Justice Alito to refer the thing to the whole court, that’s a pretty weak challenge,” he said Monday, saying he could not think of one that would be successful.
The Republican advantage in 13 of the state's unfairly carefully-drawn 18 districts will now yield far more competitive seats where Democratic voters have a chance to elect candidates who represent them. The Republican advantage disappears entirely in 3 districts. Democrats will now have an even-- or better than even-- chance to win seats that are currently held by Republicans Pat Meehan, Brian Fitzpatrick, Charlie Dent, Ryan Costello and Keith Rothfus. This morning Tom Prigg, the progressive candidate who decide to take on Rothfus when it looked like an impossible climb, is very happy with the new district lines. "The new district map has made my district far more competitive. The previous District 12 was 200 miles long and could take 3 hours to drive from end to end. The Partisan Voter Index gave the Republicans an 11 point advantage. Now it's far more compact, an hours drive with only a 3 point Republican advantage. This is a significantly improved district. Not all Pennsylvania districts were so lucky, but mine gives me a much better chance to beat an undesirable incumbent."

Scarnati and Turzai, not to mention Señor Trumpanzee and congressional Republicans and their big money allies, are screaming like stuck pigs. How dare anyone try to keep them from cheating? What's this world coming to? Their whining is likely to fail. Elena Schneider for Politico: "most operatives and experts see little hope in a legal challenge to the new districts... [B]ehind the scenes, Republican consultants are already urging their clients to get ready for these new districts in 2018... 'The likelihood that [Republicans] will get a response from the [U.S.] Supreme Court is near zero,' said Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles."

And, of course, the Republican version of the DCCC-- the NRCC-- is already in court demanding the right to cheat. Naturally, their statement didn't call it cheating: "state and federal GOP officials will sue in federal court as soon as tomorrow to prevent the new partisan map from taking effect. The suit will highlight the state Supreme Court’s rushed decision that created chaos, confusion, and unnecessary expense in the 2018 election cycle."
For Republicans, it’s not clear yet what legal avenue they plan to proceed with first, or what relief they will seek. But if they return to the U.S. Supreme Court, experts said it’s unlikely the court will change its position from earlier this month, when it rejected a request for a stay.

“The one thing they have going for them now is that the state Supreme Court has now acted, as opposed to threatening to act, but the big factor against that is [Justice Samuel] Alito already turned them down,” said Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California-Irvine. “They’re playing a weak hand.”

“Republicans have no real option left,” said Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who’s worked on several redistricting cases. “It’s the same argument that the U.S. Supreme Court failed to entertain last time, and I don’t expect them to entertain it this time.”

“The map you see is the map we’re going to have [in 2018],” Elias added.

That map opens up opportunities for Democrats-- who currently hold only five of the 18 House seats in the battleground state-- particularly in the greater Philadelphia area.

The Pennsylvania case isn’t the only partisan gerrymandering case working its way through the federal courts. Similar suits in North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin are also currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the court did intervene in North Carolina, setting aside a ruling that threw out that state’s congressional map. But unlike the Pennsylvania case, the other cases involve questions of federal, not state, law.

...Dan Meuser-- a Republican running to replace Rep. Lou Barletta, who is running for Senate-- exemplified that tension with a post on Facebook on Monday.

“We will note, the court-drawn 9th Congressional District overlaps many areas in the 11th District where we have been campaigning hard for the past five months,” Meuser wrote. “At this time, we are going to continue to campaign in what was the original 11th Congressional District and will comment further once all legal challenges are resolved and district lines become definitive.”
Meuser is an imbecile who, unfortunately, has little to worry about. Barletta's hellhole of a red district, the 11th, went for Trump by 24 points. The new hellhole's boundaries wound have seen Trump winning by an even greater margin-- +34. What was once an R+10 district will be completely untouchable for a Democrat. The Blue Dogs have a hopeless candidate of their own running, Denny Wolff and he's raised $208,775, but two Republicans-- Meuser and Stephen Bloom has each outraised him, with Meuser way out ahead-- $530,293. In 2016 Barletta beat Democrat Mike Marsicano 194,889 (63.7%) to 111,025 (36.3%).

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At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yawn. Waiting patiently for the DINO-Whigs to blow this opportunity and remain the losers they are.


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