I think your optimism may be upended by counting on "the GOP" to do anything. There is no "the GOP." At present, it's a coalition of Evangelicals, Tea Party, xenophobes, misogynists, corporatists, anti-government Libertarians, and white supremacists.

The right-moderate, governing GOP is gone, in favor of inflammatory, special-interest factions and obstructionists.
The same GOP reauthorized it in the Senate in 2006? 98-1 right.

Your breadth of Ignorance is impressive.

The Senate is a very poor reflector of what Americans think.
The 26 smallest states could elect a majority of the Senate even though their population was only one/sixth of the nation.


The House is much more representative of the overall population.


The Supreme Court is correct in that the data are old and should be updated. They are also correct that it is the responsibility of Congress to deal with this.

Unfortunately, Congress won't do anything because the democrats are cowardly weaklings and the republicans are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobes who will stop at nothing to lie, cheat, and steal their way into power.
"Perhaps I'm too optimistic about a future Congress's ability to rethread the VRA."

I think you probably are at least a little too optimistic here.

Further, I think the only way to minimize the bleeding is to jump on this immediately.

Every time a Dem is in the room with any sort of minority who doesn't know in their bones that the Republicans are out to harm them, specifically, both individually and as a group, the Dems need to be bringing this and the rest up.

You better like the Republicans a whole lot, because they're coming for your ability to vote them out.
he says naively: Why can't we just make the whole country "the map"? Rather than selectively enforcing in the South, or waiting for data, how about we ram a compromise through Congress that acknowledges a modern truth: wacky disenfranchising laws can come from any county elections board in the nation. Every jurisdiction needs "pre-clearance". Ta da! VRA saved, no messy math, everyone is equal. You're welcome.
@3 3rd Grade Civics coupled with a below grade average reading comprehension...

The House is skewed by gerrymandering. That's the whole point of that exercise, getting an unrepresentative sample.

"If there's one thing conservative America has done well these last decades, it's manipulate political boundaries to secure a white, Republican majority in the House of Representatives."

As the state lines don't move, you can't play the same games. Now, your argument against the Senate would hold more water, if Democratic Senators were overwhelmingly from low population states. Now, you could cite Hawaii and Rhode Island and pretend you win, but most people think of the huge blue states like California and New York first.

So, good job.
Too bad you stopped paying attention after 3rd grade, @3, since gerrymandering was covered in 5th grade history.

Yes, the Senate horribly over-represents small states, to a degree made even more extreme by the widening proportional gap between the biggest and smallest states. And yet, as Dom points put, even of those rural states lean Democratic enough to send a reliably blue majority to Washington.

But then you have the district-based representative bodies, where the boundaries were gradually redrawn over decades by GOP appointees playing the long game while Dems had their heads in the sand. The direct result of which is the dilution of Democratic and urban representation proportional to actual voting patterns, both in the U.S. House and in a majority of state legislatures. States like Ohio see more raw votes for Democratic congresspeople, yet send 9/13 Republicans to Washington.

In many states, the GOP feels so comfortable that they have gerrymandered away the possibility of getting voted out of state power that they are now working to rig the Electoral College along the same gerrymandered lines. This concept tends to offend laymen across the political spectrum, but again, those state GOPs have artificially cemented their majorities through careful district manipulation.

Sorry if that was too complicated for your 3rd grade civics class. Life is easier when you stop learning stuff at the age of eight.

I just deleted a really fucking snarky comment about why there hasn't been any report on the slog about the decision that compromised the integrity of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Instead, I'll just point it out and hope it's coming later in the day.
Just another

Brick in the Gerrymandered Wall
Agree with Dom that it's not the end of the world. But @1: if the GOP is an assortment of "vangelicals, Tea Party, xenophobes, misogynists, corporatists, anti-government Libertarians, and white supremacists," then the left needs to be more cohesive as well. Stop being reflexively anti-business and anti-development, for starters, rather than a scary, amorphous coalition of abortion rights, bicycle rights, gay rights, homeless Occupy spendthrifts. Progressives need to speak up with coherence and not "mic check" irrelevance.
See, my dad agrees with me!
This was done by the Republican justices in preparation for the 2016 elections. Every percentage point that can be wrung out will be wrung out, the votes of non-white non-Republicans be damned. If they lose the White House in 2016 they may lose the nation outright.
@12 Thanks, Dom!

gerrymandering! whaaaaa.
low turnout. apathy. etc.

those always exist, and always have.

Dum and the lemmings see the House as skewed because it does not vote the way they do.
deep thinking, girls.

the House is representative.
in fact, they call it the House of Representatives. neat
Elected every two years so it is more reflective to changes in the mood of the nation.
Elected from districts, proportional to the states population.
Just a little microcosm of the nation. warts and all.

The Senate, alternating six year terms so it is more immune to shifts in opinion. Two per state, regardless of population. originally its members weren't even elected by the voters.
It is designed not to be representative.

The founding fathers were clever. Subtly brilliant.
Dum and the clueless don't get it.
we are not surprised.

I can't even begin to grasp the depth of self loathing Justice Thomas must feel for himself.
@15: In the 2012 House of Representatives elections, the Republican candidates got 47.6% of the votes and 234 seats, while the Democratic candidates got 48.7% of the votes but only 201 seats. If the House is so representative of the wishes of America, why did this happen?
The re-election of Bush--the gift that keeps on giving, e.g., Roberts and Alito appts. Most voters are too stupid and intellectually lazy to pay attention to politics beyond the personalities. Too many don't realize that when you elect a President, you pretty much appoint their judges as well.

@1, "The right-moderate, governing GOP is gone". It's not gone, it's now the Democratic Party.
It's a little hard to believe that the modern GOP, the lucky recipients of past gerrymandering, are cohesive and smart enough of a party any more to actually work in their own long-term self-interests. It seems to me the repubs have moved to a "react now, worry about consequences later" model, a la Enron. I think it's naive to believe they will act in any kind of unified fashion to protect the long-term political prospects of the party by trying to stop alienating voters. Remember "47%" Romney? The inability to stop talking about Rape? Anyone with any kind of political savvy gets eaten by the Tea Party or Grover Norquist.
Dom's post is only partly dumbass, and Mr. "3rd Grade Civics" is a comprehensive dumbass.

In the national aggregate House vote last fall, D's took more votes than R's - but the R's got 33 more seats.

But majority-minority districts are the foremost of several factors that produce this result. Given free rein, Neoconfederate redistricting strategists would construct a House with even more minority Members, and an even more dominant Neocon majority.

Today's ruling is horrible, but the baddies have painted themselves into corners that will get tighter cycle after cycle.
Actually, @15, gerrymandering wasn't invented until 1812, by Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, and was designed precisely to undermine the proportional representation you learned about in the 3rd grade.

The statistical representation-subverting effects of gerrymandering's increasingly aggressive application have been more than adequately documented, and should not be confusing to you: A state with 13 congressional representatives in which millions more vote for Democrats than Republicans should not be sending 9 Republicans and only 4 Democrats to Congress. Nor would it, if district boundaries were drawn in a way that grouped adjacent populations rather than drawing hundred-mile zig-zags in order to hyper-concentrate Democratic-leaning groups in only a handful of districts.

We can safely ignore your "apathy" and "turnout" canards. The House of Representatives is plainly no longer representative of even the votes actually cast.
You are just way to optimistic - now the burden is on challengers, not the states, to prove that laws are discriminatory. That means generally permitting the behavior first, then bringing suit...who's going to pay for that? And even if someone does, it's closing the barn door after the horse is out.

The only part of this now-gutted major piece of legislation which might ever so slightly remain is the use of Section 2 to block voter ID laws as preventing access to the ballot box, rather than district map drawing.

Your point about gerrymandering is valid, but only goes to show that perhaps they've already figured out how to gut the VRA meaningfully and created (like Shelby county itself) white-flight districts, so perhaps we won't lose so much.

@3 - you're the most dis-ingenuous fabulist I've seen in a while - or you've never actually seen a house district map, particularly in the former confederate states. A prima facie proof of the idiocy of your comment is California: as soon as the gerrymander was eliminated and the districting guided by anything other than the protection of partisans and incumbents (by a non-partisan redistricting commission) then their delegation went from 50/50 to lopsidedly Democratic - to match the way they vote in state-wide elections (Senate, Governor and President).
@21: Nate Silver calls bullshit on the vast majority of the gerrymandering effect in Congress, with MATH:…
Umm... You read the whole thing, right? Because that's not really what he said.

To the extent that there would be any effects from abandoning certain requirements, would they help Democrats or Republicans on balance? The safest answer is that it will tend to help whichever party is in control of the redistricting process in a given state: the fewer legal constraints that party has, the freer it will be to draw Congressional districts as it sees fit.... Thus, legal rulings that weaken the effect of the Voting Rights Act will tend to increase the importance of the 2020 elections, when control of the redistricting process will be at stake.

Since the GOP has already gerrymandered itself a significant lead in numerous state houses -- which Silver did not quantify, the way that he quantified the probable 7-congressperson national gerrymandering swing -- the bar is for control of VRA-free redistricting is set higher for Democrats, regardless of where Democratic-leaning concentrations of people happen to reside.

And Silver absolutely allows that unconstrained redistricting could yield a greater swing than we have experienced to date.
@23 - He seems to be talking about minority-majority districts rather than gerrymandering specifically. In fact he says:

"To the extent that there would be any effects from abandoning certain requirements, would they help Democrats or Republicans on balance?

The safest answer is that it will tend to help whichever party is in control of the redistricting process in a given state: the fewer legal constraints that party has, the freer it will be to draw Congressional districts as it sees fit."
Also @23 - You can't even understand a Nate Silver article (with MATH!) and yet we're supposed to believe you understand how to interpret the Second Amendment on the gun nut related threads you post on? LOL
@24, 25: If you read the WaPo link within the Silver article it actually addresses the points both of you make, you're both incorrect.…

tl/dr - Democrats cluster into heavily liberal areas, and many of their votes are 'wasted' in that they're going to candidates who would win anyway.

@26: I'm a data guy by trade, what you believe is up to you.
Yes, @27, Silver makes the point that such clustering would yield an over-concentration of Democratic votes even if the districts were drawn in a geographically neutral way.

Gerrymandering, however, exacerbates the concentration beyond the neutral. That's what it's designed to do: And Silver quantifies the effect of that in the last election as a 7-seat congressional swing. He also explicitly predicts a wider swing in circumstances of more freedom to gerrymander, and predicts that those who hold power in 2020 will be able to derive significant advantage from their ability to redistrict.

And as I said above, he only quantifies this phenomenon on the national-district map. Smaller state districts offer far more opportunity to micromanage your "packing and cracking", again, with the intent of magnifying the natural clustering which you wrongly insist is the only phenomenon at play here (contrary to Silver's actual argument).

As someone pointed out above, California's switch from incumbent-oriented partisan gerrymandering to an independent board that redrew the map from scratch yielded a state legislature and a congressional caucus far more in line with the actual voting habits of the state at large.

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