November 5, 2014

Gerrymandering Rigged the 2014 Elections for Republican Advantage

The drafting of the Constitution. The House of Representatives was designed to be a voice of the people.
The drafting of the Constitution. The House of Representatives was designed to be a voice of the people.

In the midterm elections, Republicans appear to have won their largest House majority since the Hoover administration. Republicans won on the weakness of Democratic candidates, a poor resource allocation strategy by Democratic party leaders, particularly DCCC chair Steve Israel, and an election narrative that did little to inspire base Democratic voters. That being said, in many ways, the game was rigged from the start. The GOP benefitted from the most egregious gerrymandering in American history.

As Rolling Stone reported, GOP donors plowed cash into state legislative efforts in 2010 for the very purpose of redrawing congressional lines. In the following year, as the Tea Party wave brought hundreds of Republicans into office, newly empowered Republican governors and state legislatures carved congressional districts for maximum partisan advantage. Democrats attempted this too, but only in two states: Maryland and Illinois. For the GOP however, strictly partisan gerrymandering prevailed in Ohio, Pennsylvania Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Tennessee and beyond.

Here’s an example from the election last night. In Pennsylvania, one state in which the GOP drew the congressional districts in a brazenly partisan way, Democratic candidates collected 44 percent of the vote, yet Democratic candidates won only 5 House seats out of 18. In other words, Democrats secured only 27 percent of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats despite winning nearly half of the votes. See the graph below:


A similar dynamic played in North Carolina, another state in which GOP control in 2011 created intensely partisan congressional boundaries. In the 2014 midterm elections, Democrats in North Carolina secured only 3 out of 13 seats (23 percent of NC’s congressional delegation) even though Democratic candidates in that state won about 44 percent of the vote:


In 2012, the first congressional election after the last round of gerrymandering, Democratic House candidates won 50.59 percent of the vote — or 1.37 million more votes than Republican candidates — yet secured only 201 seats in Congress, compared to 234 seats for Republicans. The House of Representatives, the “people’s house,” no longer requires the most votes for power.

As the results from this year roll in, we see a similar dynamic. Republican gerrymandering means Democratic voters are packed tightly into single districts, while Republicans are spread out in such a way to translate into the most congressional seats for the GOP.

There are a lot of structural issues that influence congressional elections, from voter ID requirements to early voting access. But what does it matter if you’ve been packed into a district in which your vote can’t change the composition of Congress?

  • chiguy8288

    Mr Fang is just a sore loser . The Democrats won districts with the big cities in them . They had bigger margins in those districts. Thus total votes is totally immateriel to how many seats won.

    • fry1laurie

      So, I guess their votes shouldn’t count as much as rural voters? Aren’t they people, too?

    • Randall Burns

      You are technically correct about the US system-which is a good argument for proportional voting systems in every election.

    • phil

      You’ve correctly asserted that Ds have bigger margins in the districts they carried. Carving districts out to concentrate the opposition party’s vote in this way is precisely what gerrymandering is. Although it is encouraging that you recognize gerrymandering, I find it odd that this recognition ends in your conclusion that the will of the people, as quantified in total votes, is immaterial.

  • Randall Burns

    This issue needs to be approached much more carefully if the charges are to be made clear to the average reader. Right now, it looks like laws restricting voting had a bigger role in this election than gerrymandering.


      While BOTH issues need to be addressed – gerrymandering was the primary force behind the Republicans gaining control of the House of Representatives in 2010. Nationwide Democratic candidates for House seats won substantially more votes for the House of Representatives than did Republicans, but due to gerrymandering the Republicans gained control of the House!

      • Randall Burns

        The 2010 congression elections were conducted using redistricting that had been done in 2001 after the 2000 census. The big item then was the aftermath of the citizens united case which put big money into both federal and state elections from corporate donors. that enabled gerrymanderings for the 2012 congressional elections and paved the way for voter suppression/restriction in the 2014 elections. Neither party had a clear majority in 2012-the dems just had a larger plurality. If we had a proportional voting system, both the Democrats and the GOP would be minor, fringe parties.

      • ID-2
        • HANK_BENNETT

          Sorry – you have your “facts” wrong. In 2014 Democratic candidates for the House won more than one million more votes nationwide than did Republican candidates nationwide. The retention of the House of Representatives by Republicans was SOLELY due to gerrymandering, which was a concerted effort on the part of Republicans, who went after winning state and local elections before the 2010 census precisely so that they could gerrymander congressional districts and keep control of the House.

          • ID-2

            Seems to be a pattern people on blogs don’t know when to back down. I also am forced to assume you didn’t even open the links I sent.

            In 2010 Republicans won over 50% of the vote for the House.

            In 2012 Democrats won about 1 million more votes nationwide and they gained 8 seats.

            In 2014 the GOP won close to 51% of the vote.

            You are off by two years sir. Democrats won more votes for the House nationwide in 2012, not 2014.

    • ID-2

      If that were true black turnout compared to 2010 should have dropped. By all accounts it increased suggesting voter ID laws encouraged voters to get ids and head to the polls.

  • Randall Burns

    The GOP increased their percentage of the popular house vote from 48.03% in 2010 to 52.6% in 2012. Some of that may be because this is an off year election-which implies lower voter turnout. However, we need to look carefully at just how voting restrictions came into play-and the reality of biased district boundaries sank in.

  • mthomas68

    I live in NC. GOP has damaged the democracy integrity of this state. ALEC, Koch Bros, Art Pope bought and paid for the GOP elected officials in 2010, 2012, 2014. When they (GOP) redrew the districts in 2011, of the 13 congressional districts we went from 7 Ds – 6 Rs to 3 Ds – 10 Rs. Democrats having controlled NC state assembly for at 100 yrs always maintained some fairness in drawing the congressional districts using 55% to 45% ratio. Along come the GOP in charge of drawing districts, they used 23% Dems, 77% GOP ratio.
    GOP never said they were fair, did they. They are about winning….any means necessary. It’s always about the ends, never about the means.
    We have been in serious trouble in NC since GOP took over. Moral Mondays protests have helped make the awareness move forward but corporate media don’t mention them or downplay their efforts.


      The GOP follows the general rule “Our ideas suck so we have to cheat to win.”

  • FredZiffel

    Democrats lost because their base understands that they are just as big a bunch of sellout whores as Republicans are. Just check Ohio’s governor’s race from 2010 to 2014, a drop off of a million votes, even in an off year election. Warner in Virginia got 2.3 million votes in 2008, this year a little more than a million. Same voters vote Republican that always vote Republican. Obama cut a deal with Hillary to get her out of the race, named Rahm chief of staff and loaded up his administration with a bunch of Clintonista Wall Street cronies and Republican Lite lackeys. Then he sold out healthcare to insurance companies and Max Baucus, pimped out Wall Street frauds when he should have thrown in jail. He’ll sell out Social Security to establish bona fides with Wall Street and then retire as a lap dog for Goldman-Sachs. He’s Bill Clinton without the balls and the sexual psychopathology. Who would ever vote for these people ever after the way they dumped all over the progressive base who got them elected. Let Rahm, Hillary, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi try to win the White House without progressive help after they give away the store and then claim they couldn’t stop Republicans. Obama is getting exactly what he deserves.

  • Frank Libbon

    Gerrymandering is in fact dishonest manipulation and therefore any court in the World
    would judge the results of gerrymandering as illegal and fraudulent use of a gimmick to
    deny the Right to an Honest Election. Both parties are Guilty of this fraudulent action.
    This is not just political theft, but a great moral problem, that adversely effects not only Our
    Democracy, but also our very survival as a Nation. Once-and- for all, this matter must be
    brought to the U.S. Supreme Court to be immediate rectified. The People expect Honest
    Elections and that their vote will count.

    • Isaac

      its been taken to the Supreme Court and deemed legal due to the fact lines are drawn by officials elected by the people of the states and districts. Meaning it is another strategy needed and when one party attempts to take advantage of such and the other doesn’t it is no ones fault but the party leaders, and the voters who failed to vote in state elections allowing GOP candidates to win. Maybe with a better informed and more involved public government would be more representative or an actual Honest Election.

  • Namaimo

    Gerrymandering, YES.But recent voter suppression measures such as photo voter ID in many states, running out of ballots, functioning or malfunctioning voting machines (especially the Diebold-era kind) and massive, ridiculous advertising financed by corporate interests who were determined to BUY this election so that the GOP would be winners. We are, as Bob Dylan sang, “pawns in their game”.

    • Kevj1

      Boy, that’s funny!
      I went back through your previous comments and I couldn’t find any comment
      relating to the July 27th, 2013 White House press release – Obama gave KENYA $53,000,000.00, yep, that’s $53 MILLION TAX Payer DOLLARS for a National
      PHOTO ID program called MY ID, MY LIFE. In a speech in Kenya, Obama said ” Having a PHOTO ID, will allow you to register to vote. Vote for someone who
      has your beliefs, knowing that your voice will be heard. And with a PHOTO ID,
      you may find other Government benefits that you may be entitled to that you never
      knew existed”. Funny huh? Obama spoke at Rev Al’s tax dodger meeting, and he
      said “Asking an African American to show a PHOTO ID when voting is RACIST.
      See the problem? Obama has us paying for a PHOTO ID’s for Africans in KENYA,
      but not here in the country that elected him twice as their President. Why not?
      And did you miss Oprah when she said “I will spend my last dime to see Obama
      seated in the Oval office”. Obama agreed and Signed with McCain, to abide by
      the Campaign Finance reform limits, to take the money from the National election
      committee equally with McCain. For about two weeks, then ran off with Oprah,
      Soros and Hollywood money, who were determined to buy that election.
      So from Obama’s early years, through this past weekend, we were faced with
      who he really is, Obama ben lying.

  • Kevin Lee Austin

    Republicans just won 52.3% of the national vote for house of representatives. In the 2015 House the republicans will have 56% of the members of congress. The democrats got 44% of the votes for house of representatives nationally. They will have 42% of the 2015 house of representatives.

    That sounds pretty close to what it should be.

    In California 14 out of 53 seats went to the republicans (26%). I would wager that the republican voting percentage was much higher, yet no complaints about purposeful or accidental gerrymandering there.

    There is no such thing as an independent commission when it comes to setting boundary lines – just look at California’s results as proof of that.

    • Rich Callaway

      Wishful thinking. They have an open primary system now!

    • ID-2

      It is selective outrage, ie. when the opposing side does it we hate it but when we do it it is because “we won the election.”

  • BeetleB

    In 1992 democrat had controlled congress for sixty years. That year democrats got 50.1% of the congressional votes, yet they controlled 61% of the seats. AND now it is not fair?

  • David Levitsky

    Please explain how gerrymandering caused the Democrats to lose the Senate? Or how voter repression caused 200,000 people (all Democrats) not to vote in Georgia giving Perdue a victory, or 95,000 voters in Iowa giving Ernst a victory, or 45,000 in North Carolina…I can go on and on

    • Kevj1

      They can’t explain JACK CRAP! The Democrats lost because the American people tired of the shiny object, smooth talking, hope & change bull shitter Obama bin lying. When the Democrats gerrymandered the Ohio districts, you never heard them complain.
      Odrama said after the last smashing defeat that ” We didn’t explain our message correctly to the voters”, No Odrama, it isn’t the messenger that failed, it’s the MESSAGE STUPID”! Odrama will be the first President in history to leave office dumber than when he went in.

      • Rich Callaway

        So you mean gerrymandering doesn’t exist or that the Dems got more votes and fewer seats?

      • Frank Libbon

        To Kevit. and all others,
        Study, not just read, the Declaration of Independence & the Constitution., then the following: “We are standing for elementary decency inpolitics. We are fighting for honesty against naked robbery. It is not a partisan issue; it is more than a political issue; it is a great moral issue. If we condone political theft, if we do not resent the kinds of wrong and injustice that injuriously affect the whole nation, not merely our democratic form of government but our civilization itself cannot endure.” Teddy Roosevelt, 1912
        The People must get off their butts and VOTE and Gerrymandering, conducted by both parties, MUST be stopped, along with the phony filthy tactics to prevent an
        American citizen from voting.

        • Kevj1

          The hard working TAXpayers are forced to pay $53,000,000.00 for a PHOTO ID program called MY ID, MY LIFE in KENYA. But in a country that elected a mixed race President twice, Obama say’s “Asking an African American to show a PHOTO ID when voting is RACIST!
          Ex doj Holder took a PHOTO ID case to the Supreme court, and when they gave him two weeks to gather up registered voters that could not vote because they don’t have a PHOTO ID, he returned to the court with NOT ONE PERSON WHO COULD NOT VOTE.

  • Kevj1

    In Ohio when the Democrats “Gerrymandered ” the districts in 2000, you said nothing.
    When Acorn – Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now, admitted and
    showed the FBI how they cheated with phony ID registration cards, card readers and
    ballots, you said nothing.
    When Obama gave KENYA $53 Million tax payer Dollars for a National PHOTO ID
    program called MY ID, MY LIFE. But he said “Asking an African citizen for a PHOTO
    ID while voting is RACIST! Again, you said nothing.
    When Obama said, after another pounding Nov. 4th, 2014, that his party didn’t
    explain his message correctly, but never Admitting it wasn’t the messenger, but the
    message, the LIES, Bribes and total disrespect for our Constitution, is what the
    voters found to be appalling, and gave the Republicans stunning victories across
    the country. Of course, why start now, you said nothing.

    • PoliticsWatcher

      ACORN never did that, or anything remotely resembling that. They discovered and reported the violations. They did NOTHING wrong.

      Turn off Faux News.

      • Kevj1

        PW, if you need more, just type ACORN VOTER FRAUD and hit ENTER!
        can not find Faux News

        • allgoo19

          Kevj1 says:
          “just type ACORN VOTER FRAUD and hit ENTER!”
          Thank you for the suggestion and I did that.
          Here’s what I found.

          “ACORN 2009 undercover videos controversy”
          then scroll down to “Investigations of ACORN and the videos”

          “They edited the tape to meet their agenda.” (investigation by New York attorney general)
          “The Attorney General Office criticized O’Keefe for not acting as a
          journalist trying to objectively report a story from the facts, noting
          instead that O’Keefe stated he “was out to make a point and to damage
          (Investigation by California attorney general)

          In short, “hoax” wasn’t what ACORN did but the people(Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe) recorded the video and edited it was.

          • Kevj1

            Try again. 18 Acorn workers are still in prison, as of 10/2014 Obama wanted them freed for informing the FBI. A Circuit judge said NO, that their reduced sentences were reward for their cooperation.

          • allgoo19

            Kevj1 says:
            “18 Acorn workers are still in prison,..”
            They were not charged for the voter fraud.
            They were charged for the personal gain(money)

            “Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now”
            “According to the prosecutor, the misconduct was done “as an easy way to
            get paid [by ACORN], not as an attempt to influence the outcome of

          • Kevj1

            They were charged with voter fraud

          • allgoo19

            Kevj1 says:
            “They were charged with voter fraud
            That’s not the link to the article but home page of daily caller..
            Try again.

            Try Google this and pick one, “thedailycaller ACORN chaged with voter fraud”

            “Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now”
            “According to the prosecutor, the misconduct was done “as an easy way to
            get paid [by ACORN], not as an attempt to influence the outcome of

          • Kevj1

            I bet your a handful at the dinner table.
            20/20 and Dateline ran the stories with the ACORN members
            explaining to the FBI in details what they did to Influence the 2008 Election and how they did it. They showed how they made up fraudulent registration cards, they then filled out ballots relating to those fraudulent cards. It then got more sophisticated, and they manipulated the ballots and the readers, to reject the ballots that did not vote for “Their choice” and set a default to vote for Obama. A simple fold of a corner of the ballot did the job.
            The workers were charged with Voter Fraud and many pled guilty to VOTER FRAUD. Hundreds were charged, and most were fined, and given various sentence’s.

          • allgoo19

            Kevj1 says:
            Post a link to the article instead of the home page.

            Kevj1 says:
            “20/20 and Dateline ran the stories with the ACORN members
            explaining to the FBI …”
            If it was on TV it should be available on the net.
            Try Google your own words above.
            I tried it but no legitimate hits.

            Don’t lie.

    • GOMER Pyle

      Kevj1 penned a bushel of Republican lies.

      First off, your opinions are not facts, dude. ACORN was a community-based organization founded to help Americans register to vote, in addition to working on neighborhood safety, healthcare, etc. The whole problem with ACORN was that the Republicans were scared this group would sign-up millions of poor and senior voters, who would probably vote Democrat.

      This had to stop —- thought, the GOP. So, how to do that? Answer: Smear them, and accuse them of fraud. How? Let’s put out a video.

      Ironically, after BREITBART had two folks do a hidden video, they then ALTERED and EDITED that video. Yup. These folks FALSIFIED THE VIDEO. The final investigation by the FBI and Attorneys General cleared ACORN of any voter registration wrongdoing.

      But by then, the organization had been withering a blistering attack from FOXNEWS, the general media, and all sorts of state and federal investigations, that it went into bankruptcy (spending money to fight in court).


      Ironically, the final verdict was, that ACORN did not cheat, or lie, or try to sign-up illegal voters. They were doing their job correctly and legally. But it was the “effective smear campaign, and fraud-video” put together by the Republicans (via BREITBART), that did the damage. Much like Nixon’s dirty tricks got rid of Edmund Muskie, the Democratic Presidential candidate (via Donald Segretti).

      So, BRAVO —- Teaheads. BRAVO —– Republican Party. You truly are the experts at subverting the Constitution of the United States, the Voting Rights Act, and disenfranchising millions of American citizens! You truly are the NIXON of today’s politics.

      Please, take a bow!!!

      As for wanting to stop aid to African nations, that GWBush and GHWBush are working with Bill Clinton on… well, so be it. Racists like you never did like black, human beings. We get it. You’re White. Only whites need get the benefit of any aid from this nation. Ha.

      As for disrespecting the Constitution. We have the last 8 years of the Republican rule, from torturing illegally…. birthing treasonous wars on lies that murdered 5,000 of our best, and over 1,000,000 innocent Iraqi and Afghani women and children… and lastly, the utter hatred of over half of the population of this nation, based on income. Man, that is truly the worst stain on the GOP ever. Then, it was… the reading of the GOAT BOOK instead of the PDB, that caused 3,000 Americans to incinerate alive. Sounds to me a lot like ISIS. Except instead of murdering 1 person in a cage, the GOP did it for 3,000 at once.

      And you wonder why America thinks ill of the Conservative Party? HAHAHA!!

      • Kevj1
        It’s narrow minded far left fringe Liberals, like yourself, with their subjective racist views that are becoming a lame, thoughtless, useless
        party that Americans are tiring of. The smooth talking “Hope & Change” bull shitter is becoming a Worldwide joke, one who’s word means nothing and he can’t be trusted. Ask the families of the 182,000 dead Syrians that Obama said he would protect from Saddam’s leftover WMD’s with his red crayon. He LIED, 182,000 died. ACORN practiced for years, method after method, election after election until they were ready and faced the big dance. Hundreds are still in prison, after they pled guilty to voter fraud charges. – Obama lets the TAX payers, pay $53,000,000.00 for a PHOTO ID program called MY ID, MY LIFE in KENYA! Yet here in the Country that elected a mixed race President twice, at Rev. Al’s get the black out gathering last summer Obama said “Asking an African for a PHOTO ID when voting, is racist.” A failed history experiment, a LYING FRAUD, flip flopping political opportunist will say and do anything to fit his political agenda, a President who is the first to take credit, but is the last to take responsibility. Our friends don’t trust us, and our enemies don’t fear us. But I doubt that MSnbc showed any of that, Sharpton and Maher kept people like you, low info voters, dumbed down. Obama has bombed 7 countries. His drone strikes kill 80% more by-standers than targets. Along with the Fast & the Furious, the IRS, TSA, NSA, VA, the Marriage act, campaign finance reform, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Russia, Putin, Ukraine, 128% increase in food stamps,
        and the best fail? The O-care nightmare. Obama took it upon himself to re-write the bill 39 times to fit his political agenda and moved the last 90% of the O-care nightmare, the Employer MANDATE, to his last year in office. Seven years after the bill was urgently ram passed by Harry Reid manipulating existing procedures on Christmas eve, 2009 after the GOP left for the Holiday break. Obama knows that when more than 145 Million workers finally face the O-care nightmare, the doubled rates, tripled deductibles, massive co-pays, a new service charge and a new tax on premiums, they will revolt. And this should coincide with the Presidential debates. People like you will be schooled in reality.
        And you wonder why America thinks ill of the Democratic party?

  • Jack Meov

    Democrats did it for a generation. Now that the GOP has control…. Waaaahhhhhh!!! I fukkin hate you leftifukks.

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