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  • American Government and OrganizationPS1301Friday, 20 February

  • ReviewDescriptive vs. Policy (or Political) RepresentationRedistricting and Gerrymandering

  • GerrymanderingEqual populationsPartisanIncumbencyRacial

  • Supreme Court DecisionsBaker vs. Carr (1962) launched the reapportionment revolution. The suit was brought by urban plaintiffs in Tennessee who challenged their state legislatures failure to reapportion despite widespread population shiftsMalapportionment refers to inequalities in district populations. Court ruled that it violates the 14th Amendments guarantee of equal protection of the laws. One person one vote.Wesberry v. Sanders (1964) Decision was extended to U.S. House of Representatives

  • ConsequencesMassive RedistrictingFurther LitigationDemocratic advantage (control of state legislatures and the courts)Incumbency advantage

  • Racial GerrymanderingVoting Rights Act of 1965 restrained states from diluting (cracking) minority votes.Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Mississippi had a majority district (66%) continued to elect white congressman because blacks were denied the right to vote. 1982 Amendment to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 fostered the creation of majority-minority districts.

  • Majority Minority DistrictsThornburg v Gingles (1986) The decision by the Supreme Court enunciated tests to determine whether a minoritys representation had been compromisedIs the group large enough and located in a compact enough area to elect a representative if grouped into a single district?Is the group politically cohesive?Is there evidence of racially polarized voting by the majority against candidates of that group?

  • Majority Minority DistrictsIn 1990--creation of 15 new African American districts (total of 32)Creation of 9 new Latino districts (total of 20).All but one of these districts elected a minorityNorth Carolinas 12th linked black neighborhoods along 160 miles of I85 from Durham to Charlotte.

  • Racial Gerrmandering

  • Supreme Court IntervenesShaw v. Reno (1993)Under a 5-4 ruling, two North Carolina districts were declared--the 1st and the 12th in violation of the equal protection under the law by diluting white votes the districts were criticized for being too irregular--looked like segregation by race.

  • How the Electoral System Can Reduce CompetitionRedistricting creates safe districts Senate races are more competitive in part because states are more diverse, more balanced party competition

  • Donovan/Bowler Reforming the Republic Table 3.1 p49 Congressional ElectionsExample of votes to seats bias from First past the post elections

  • Texas DistrictsThe Debate: Democrats have a 17-15 majority in the current Texas congressional delegation. State lawmakers failed to redraw the congressional district in 2001. Proposals were submitted to state and federal courts and a decision was made in November 2001 to adopt the districts for the 2002 election.The GOP is pushing plans that would give them as many as 21 seats. Link to Save Texas RepsCurrent and proposed districts: On September 24 both houses of the Texas Legislature voted to adopt the plan.Consequences

  • Texas Redistricting (2000-2004)Link to interactive map

  • The 17th DistrictCharlie Stenholm (Democrat) representing the district west of Dallas since 1979 (and a graduate of Texas Tech).Votes reflect conservative values of the cattle, cotton, and oil industry. He opposes abortion, fights for balanced budgets, and voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton.They did everything they could to bust my political base. They drew my farm and where I grew up in the Amarillo district, and they drew Abilene, where I live now, into the Lubbock districtWhen we Democrats controlled the legislature, sure we protected Democrats. But we didnt do harm to the Republicans who were in office. This thing today is a whole different order of magnitude. (Toobin, The Great Election Grab New Yorker Magazine, Dec. 8, 2003).

  • Incumbency Advantage

  • Decline in Competition

  • Incumbent Victory Margins

  • Explanations for Incumbency AdvantageElectoral Rules (which we have discussed)Name RecognitionGreater resources for staff, travel, local offices, and communicationIn 2001, these allowances ranged from $980,699 to $1,469,930 per legislator in the House; $1,926,296 to $3,301,071 in the Senate CaseworkCampaign contributionsHard work


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