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Geography, Not Gerrymandering: Why Democrats Struggle in the States

Throughout the latter half of the Obama era, many Democrats have pointed to GOP-led gerrymandering to explain their party’s weakness in state legislatures and the House of Representatives. And not without reason: Because Republicans won big in 2010, the decennial redistricting produced lines that favored Republican candidates in some states.

But the most important stumbling block to Democratic legislative power is geography, not gerrymandering. In Governing magazine, Alan Greenblatt takes a look at Iowa, a state where Democrats have been wiped out despite a “scrupulously nonpartisan” redistricting process:

A couple of decades ago, half the Democrats in the Iowa Senate represented rural areas. By the time the last session got underway, there were only two Democrats left from the mostly sparsely populated counties west of Interstate 35. Now, there are none. The inability of Iowa Democrats to compete throughout an entire half of the state is a big reason why the GOP took over the state Senate in November.

All over the country, Democrats have a similar geography problem. With an overwhelming share of their voters living within a limited number of metropolitan districts, it’s hard for them to compete in broad swaths of territory elsewhere. This handicap, which has made the U.S. House into something resembling a fortress for Republicans, is making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to win legislative chambers.

As Greenblatt notes, 1990s-era Democrats still had a strong presence in rural areas. But as the party moved to accommodate a more urban and liberal electoral base, its support outside of major metropolitan areas faded, especially during the Obama years.

Territorial representation penalizes parties for failing to build geographically broad political coalitions. So matter how lopsided a majority the Democrats can build in places like Des Moines, they will always be hamstrung if they can’t win compete less-densely populated areas as well.

While Democrats are right to demand fair redistricting procedures, the case of Iowa is a reminder that their problems go much deeper. The path out of the wilderness doesn’t just involve fighting gerrymandering; it also involves winning back voters who are not sold on the kind of liberal cosmopolitanism that is popular in big cities and university towns.

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  • Andrew Allison
    • Joey Junger

      Sounds like “Citizens United” or any double-edged sword. When it goes against dems, Obama would give a speech about how this or that needed to be abolished. As soon as it looks like it will benefit him, watch his position “evolve.”

      • Kim

        And the same can be said for the Republicans. So let’s not discuss solutions to the problems, let’s just keep finger pointing. It’s served us so well up till now.

        • Joey Junger

          No, the general tenor in difference is that Republicans are kind of comfortable in being openly evil, whereas democrats want to be praised for being good, in spite of being evil (think Warren Buffet or George Soros as opposed to the Koch Brothers).

    • Alexander Mitchell

      The issue is not whether or not gerrymandering has been exploited by both wings of the Incumbent Party. It indisputably has.

      The question is, which party has blamed such gerrymandering for its loss of Congressional control? We may have to go back to 1994 and see what the reaction was when Republicans gained a majority in Congress under Clinton, and review the reaction then as opposed to now.

  • RedWell

    Good point, but since the election, it is remarkable that conservatives keep writing off “liberal cosmopolitan” regions as some kind of alien menace: that is where most–or at least half–Americans live and where most of the US’s economic production resides. Even places in the red south, like Atlanta or Houston, favor Dems.

    Claiming only the cities is currently a losing strategy for Dems. Claiming only the burbs and rural areas is not a long term winning strategy for Republicans.

    • leoj

      Since a lot of those Dem cities have ballooning budget shortfalls and much of that productivity may be due to asset price inflation, the advantages of being the urban party may have peaked during the Obama years. What exactly are the Dem solutions for their cities going forward?

      • Fat_Man

        the Dem solution is what it has always been. Redistribution.

        • leoj

          Indeed. But that only works for so long. Take a look at California:

          The state’s current budget surplus is entirely due to a temporary tax and booming asset markets. The top 1 percent of earners generates almost half of California’s income tax revenue, and accounts for 41 percent of the state’s general fund budget. These affluent people have incomes that are much more closely correlated to asset prices than economic activity, and asset prices are more volatile than economic activity generally. Brown’s own Department of Finance predicts that a recession of “average magnitude” would cut revenue by $55 billion.

          More critically, the state continues to increase spending, particularly on pensions. Outlays have grown dramatically since the 2011-2012 fiscal year, averaging 7.8 percent growth per year through FY 2015-2016. Seeing the writing on the wall, the state’s labor leaders now want to extend the “temporary” income tax, imposed in 2012, until 2030. This might not do much to spark growth, particularly in a weaker economy.

          During this recovery, California has made minimal effort to eliminate the state’s budget fragility. To use a recently popular term, this is gross negligence. It is, thus, no surprise that credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service ranked California second from the bottom in being able to withstand the next recession. Someday the bills will come due.

          • Fat_Man

            Sure. Socialism always fails.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Check out the Pension Tsunami web site if you are unfamiliar with it.

          • Andrew Allison

            You overlooked the fact that, measured by actuarial standards, CA’s unfunded public pension liability is over $1 trillion.

          • leoj

            Even the most casual reader of TAI is familiar with the CalPERS debacle. Less known perhaps is this bit about asset inflation which strikes me as equally significant, especially when dealing with urban supremacists, Cali successionists, and other kooks.

          • Andrew Allison

            Of course even the most casual reader who is not ideologically blinded recognizes the public pension problem; the question is do people understand the implications of an unfunded public pension liability represent 20% of annual government’s revenue that is almost entirely dependent upon the richest 1%? The simple fact is that the State (in which I live) is not simply ideologically, but also financially bankrupt.

          • leoj

            Time to move…?

          • Andrew Allison

            I’ve thought about it. Fortunately, we’ve been able to pretty much isolate ourselves from the madness. The two things which worry me most are a collapse in public safety brought about by the pension crisis, and the (almost inevitable, I fear) repeal of Prop. 13, which is the only thing that makes living in our home affordable. If-and-when the latter occurs, we’re outta here.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Yes, long past that time for many of us Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana beckon. Or the Czech Republic for younger people.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            The former actuary for the State of California has been warning them about a lot of this for years, especially their dependence on the very wealthy whose incomes are more volatile. The pensions they have promised statewide, which Davis signed into law are unsustainable in the long term.

            The CHP for example retires at 90% of their top regular pay scale (they can’t add in overtime or pay for vacation time like some agencies can) if they work for thirty years and they can retire at 51, which means several decades of $80 – $120,000 annual pensions. The prison guards have the sweetest deal. Most other workers get 70% after 30 years.

            These are pensions on a level that has never been known in the history of mankind, to make as much or more than you made working for most of your career – because they are based ion your top salary. Eventually the pensions and making up for the shortfall will take over the state budget and because the leaders of the municipalities were equally stupid, the cities and counties as well. Logically, you just can’t pay that many employees so much in retirement.


          • John Stephens

            You can always make it work a bit longer, look at Venezuela.

          • New Commenter

            You are sadly mistaken. Governor Moonbeam has gotten the legislature to repeal the laws of economics (not to mention arithmetic!) so they don’t apply in California

      • RedWell

        I’m not sure, and that’s outside my point, here. But if pressed, I would say their first big step would be to make “conservative Democrat” a viable concept. Workable policy can then emerge from that larger tent.

        That seems unlikely, of course. Just as unlikely as Republicans reaching out to urban areas and making “liberal Republican” a viable concept.

        My big beef is with uncompromising partisanship, of either side.

        • leoj

          This sounds a bit like pablum to me. After all, there is a chance that nevertrumpers will make fine conservative democrats and Trump is already the definition of a liberal republican. Time will tell, though.

        • LarryD

          It’s hard to feel friendly towards people who’ve been treating you with contempt (at best) for generations. And the Progressives clearly do not regard us as fellow citizens.

          • Adam Bowers

            “It’s hard to feel friendly towards people who’ve been treating you with contempt (at best) for generations. And the Conservatives clearly do not regard us as fellow citizens.”

            I changed one word it now reflects my experience. This goes back to what RedWell was saying about uncompromising partisanship. The knife cuts both ways.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            In some ways it does. For me, it is indeed difficult to consider people on the far left as the same type of Americans as the rest of us because they do not like the United States and view it not as a good nation, perhaps the best nation, a nation that has provided the best home for the most people from the most places in world history, one that despite its difficult history was based on timeless ideals, one that has been in general a force for good in the world. The left sees the United States as an awful nation, an evil nation, one that has had a malign role in world history, a proctologist’s view of the country, or a Marxist view, as in Howard Zinn’s pathetic history books.

            The left believes in multiculturalism, where we import people, but don’t assimilate them, because of course, who would want them to assimilate Americanism, which is a pernicious evil, thus we have the fragmentation, the Balkanization, the disuniting of America, as the old time liberal Arthur Schlesinger wrote about 25 years ago.

            Most of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s knew that there was one major flaw with America – its treatment of blacks, from Slavery, to Jim Crow, to lynching, to red-lining and other noxious practices. I am of course old enough to know and remember that all of these practices thrived in areas where the Democrats ruled and old enough to remember when the Klu Klux Klan was the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party. But, once blacks were legally assured of their rights to vote and live where they wanted, in theory and practice, we felt America could finally realize its potential and live up to the ideals of the Declaration and the Constitution.

            So, yes, if you believe that America needed to be “fundamentally transformed,” eight years ago, I don’t think you loved America. Not a chance. No wife would buy the idea that a husband what wants to “fundamentally transform” her loves her. he may like her looks, like someone likes the national parks and the American landscape, but if one disagrees with the foundational principles of the United States and has no perspective on its relative merits – historically or geographically – than they are anti-American, just as a German who wants to destroy everything about Germany is anti-German or a Swede who wants to fundamentally change Sweden through mass migration is anti-Swedish. The same disease is found throughout the West. So, no, we don’t share much with the progressives, other than a zip code in the states or a postal code in Europe.

          • Adam Bowers

            There are too many things to point out in your reply, but I will try to summarize as best I can.

            You admit that you share the same vice as those on the opposite of the political spectrum. It is us against them. You create a narrative of a demon Left to make it easier to construct as us versus them paradigm. I want to be clear that I am not advocating for or against your interpretation. I’m merely driving home a point about hyper partisanship.

            “old enough to remember when the Klu Klux Klan was the terrorist wing of the Democratic Party”

            And nearly all those voters are now Republicans. What is your point?

            “So, no, we don’t share much with the progressives, other than a zip code in the states or a postal code in Europe.”

            Are you starting to see my point at all? The disease isn’t what you’ve described. The disease is illiberalism (as defined by a restricting of freedom of thought or behavior).

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Lets see where to start. As far as the myth that suddenly, in the blink of the eye, all the racists switched parties therefore absolving the Democrats of their manifold sins – slavery, lynching, racial massacres, the Klu Klux Klan, Jim Crow and all the rest – please stop, my sides are hurting, Anything but this hoary old canard about the “Southern Strategy,” where by the racist Democratic Party and all the nasty, dirty, low-down racists in it saw their sins expiated in a single election. A miracle I tell you, a miracle! In one fell swoop the party of the Klan and that wonderful progressive racist Woodrow Wilson, who segregated the federal government was magically transformed into a party of Progressive Utopians. Ha, ha, ha, ha ha.

            The truth is that the Democratic Party is still full-on Bull Conner-Lester Maddox, bull whipping, fire-hosing, dog-biting racist. Except now with a smiley face. One look at the cities the Democratic racists and racialists have run proved that they simply replaced one plantation with another for their captive constituency. Instead of the plow they have harnessed them up to those fine government programs and not coincidentally, delivering the vote each November. It is the same mindset, believing someone is inferior based on their race and thus needs the helping hand of progressivism. Look at Camden and Newark and you see just what the voting franchise bought the residents of the ghetto and Corey Booker is a Senator now. The Democrats have the same contempt for minorities that that they have always had, with the expectations still set near zero. There is no one in the world more racist than someone who expects less of someone based on their race or ethnic origin, who sneeringly offers them only hand-outs, never the honor of being treated as an equal, which is why I despise all the race pimps.

            Votes for government shackles, we understand. Fair trade to the progressives. Some of the places you racists have run for the better part of a hundred years look more like Berlin in 1945 than the rest of America. And, invariably, the places where everyone is full of hatred for each other, the places that run with blood each weekend have been run exclusively by Democrats for fifty years or more. But the, don’t mind the body count as long as the votes keep coming. If they did, they would do something about, at least say something, write something, but it’s all covered up. But, if someone else, a police officer for example, kills a black suspect resisting arrest or in some cases violates the law, then it’s front-page news and marches, above the fold even, while the poor ghetto residents who the miscreants terrorize get no relief at all. By design, its is all part of the Democrat’s master plan of keeping minorities poor, dependent and angry and the higher body count the better. The current President could not even move back to Chicago if he wanted to. Too dangerous on one hand, for even he or a member of his retinue could get hit by a stray bullet and then of course he would actually have to address black on black crime in a city where of 715 murders, 620 of the victims were black. So, in order to cover it all up, you have to pretend that all the racists suddenly.

            Then we have the myth of the big switch, where in one fell swoop the Party of Woody Wilson and Mad Maggie Sanger, Lester Maddox and Bull Conner became the Party of Lincoln and Douglass. What a “narrative” but then that’s all you have, false narratives. In this one, the big switch, presto-change-o, in 1968, all in a single leap, in one of those Star Trek mind melds, the GOP, the party that ended slavery and gave blacks the vote and helped elect them to office – not in the 1970s, but the 1870s – magically inherited the Democrats legacy of the Klu Klux Klan and that true champion of the black man, Robert C. Byrd (“I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side … Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.”) the racist monster and Exalted Cyclops of the Klan who was of course the longest serving Senator and still a (D) Democrat when he died. And Maddox was a Democrat for the rest of his life. And Fabus. Virtually none of your most valuable Democratic racists who were elected to office ever changed parties. No, they remained with the once and forever party of racism, the Democratic Party.

            And the marvelous, wonderful party of lynchings? That was the Democrats. The last recorded lynching occurred under Democratic Governor George Wallace in 1981. The Republicans led countless efforts to federalize the dirty, despicable Democrat Party crime of lynching, but time after time, the Southern Democrats stopped them. The great and courageous Rep. Leonidas C. Dyer of Missouri, the Civil Rights hero no one has heard of, wrote and introduced the Dyer Anti-Lynching bill first in 1918, it first passed overwhelmingly in the House but was filibustered by Democrats in 1922, 1923 and 1924. From 1882–1968 almost 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law. None was approved by the Senate because of the powerful opposition of the Southern DEMOCRATS. Dyer toured the country speaking out against lynching, but as the great internal migration occurred, the number of lynching’s dropped dramatically and so no federal law was ever passed. Evil thy name is Democrat.

            All the terrible history of the Democrats had to be swept under the rug, not recognized, not apologized for, just swept under the rug. Thus the magical myth of the Southern Strategy, so that the despicable history of the Democratic Party and its lynching’s, terrorism, murder, Jim Crow and segregation could be disappeared like a thousands of e-mails. Yes, in 1968 when the anti-American demonstrators were marching, rioting in the streets, when city after city, usually run by Democrats, has race riots, after LBJ withdrew, after RFK had been murdered, which left the Democrats in disarray, the GOP took the White House and the mighty “Southern Strategy” earned Nixon all of about 57 electoral votes in the old South. It was in fact George C. Wallace, a Democrat turned Independent who won 44 electoral votes on a Segregationist platform, with the indent and unpopular Democrat, Sen. Humphrey taking the prize of Texas. Then, as the New Left, the modern Progressive wing of the Democrats, the totalitarian wing, captured the Democratic Party and McGovern was selected as the New Left’s first candidate (whose legacy is the “Super Delegates”). Even though he was running against the paranoid Nixon, he was so out of touch that he lost in one of the great landslides in history. However, Jimmy Carter, an unknown Southerner won just four years later and another unknown Southerner twelve years later.

            In reality, the South went over to the GOP, the “stupid party” rather than evil party, as Segregation and Jim Crow were vanquished, destroyed by an alliance of the GOP and Northern Democrats and vociferously opposed by Southern Democrats, which is of course what gave the country Wallace’s quixotic independent campaign in 1968. The GOP actually won over the South quite gradually as racism, institutional, overt racism at the very least, disappeared in the rear view mirror and the change was gradual, very gradual. And in the South, people’s attitudes changed, which is why many black people actually prefer living there than the North, in one of the progressive heavens like Detroit, Baltimore or Chicago. No, the idea of the great shift, the Magical Realism of the Democrat’s most feverish dreams, the trade of their evil past for a fresh new party is a myth, invented so that the Democrats could fool people into thinking they were not the party of Segregation, Lynching, Murder, Terrorism, the Klu Klux Klan, the Tulsa Massacre, the Rosewood Massacre, Woodrow Wilson and the segregation of the federal government and now, the party of enforced dependency, noxious but expensive schools and bombed out ghettos. Evil, resolute, horned-headed Mephistopheles, thy name is Democrat!

          • Adam Bowers

            Wow. That’s….something. Carry on soldier.

            Edit: Double posted.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Don’t worry, I will because it is of course a battle and for years, it was largely only the Progressives fighting. It’s not any longer. If you live in one of the European cities that is undergoing fundamental cultural transformation, it may possibly become clearer, what overwhelming mass immigration of people whose values are overwhelmingly in opposition to those of the host nation does to that nation. In the end, politics is downstream from culture, change the culture, you change the politics.

          • RedWell

            Allow me to shed a tear for the many hurt feelings of conservatives.

            Now, if they want to secure lasting political success, they need to get over those hurt feelings and expand their tent before the boomers start dying in droves.

        • Johnathan Swift Jr.

          Unfortunately, while there are still some aging Democrats who could be described as “Yellow Dog Democrats,” or “Conservative Democrats,” who represent the old “Post-War Consensus,” (Pro-American, Anti-Communist, Internationally engaged), but they are just relics who remember their old party which is long gone.

          One of the effects of the Vietnam War was to make the college left much more politically active, many of them became professional activists, thousands of them, which is something that had never been seen before and many of them were not simply left of center, but Marxists, who hate everything about the United States, Western Civilization and the free market. Thousands of those opposed to the war remained in college and became educators, poisoning millions of young Americans with their proctologist’s view of the West. This “New Left,” as it was described when I was young gradually took over the Democratic Party.

          In his autobiographic books, David Horowitz, once a leader of the New Left, has written about this, the book he edited “Second Thoughts About the Sixties,” was also good. Shattered Consensus: The Rise and Decline of America’s Postwar Political Order Hardcover by James Piereson is also good and his book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution shows how things began to change, to unravel after Kennedy was killed and how he, a reluctant supporter of civil rights (who with LBJ gutted the Civil Rights bills of the 1950s under Eisenhower, which is buried history now) was turned into a martyr for them after his death and how the myth of Camelot was created from whole cloth.

          The Democrats went from a party of equal opportunity to one built around identity politics very quickly and so their entire coalition is now built on the edifice of “restorative justice,” meaning that you give special advantages to one group – blacks, women, Hispanics, the disabled – at the expense of other, whites and Asians for example. The idea is that because there is or was prejudice and discrimination against certain group, the government and the corporations must now discriminate against someone else, even when they may have not done anything to anyone themselves. The idea is that two wrongs make a right. This puts enormous power in the hands of the bureaucrats, in the hands of the state and on the private side to the H.R. departments.

          This whole regime is evil, a terrible evil because it presumes that minorities cannot compete on equal footing, which is the most racist or prejudicial thing imaginable. It creates a sense of victimhood, entitlement and bitterness among people who may not have faced any prejudice or racism themselves. Then of course, if you are an Asian who scored 300 points better than a black or Hispanic on your SATs and had a 4.0 and you see your spot at the University go to someone else, it creates a new class of embittered victims, real victims, because unlike economics, jobs and spots at colleges are zero-sum games.

          The Democrats have become a coalition of minority and victim groups and there is simply no going back now. It has also become the party of government, of the bureaucrat, of the “deep state.” So the bureaucrat of course will always vote and support the party of bigger, not smaller government. Gradually this whole apparatus has been weaponized as we saw in the continuing IRS scandal or as a small example the “True the Vote,” organization, where the founder was descended upon by countless federal agencies because she wanted to start an organization to combat voter fraud.

          The Democrats have also become an almost exclusively an urban and collegiate party. They represent the big cities, America’s hell-holes and in the red states, the university towns. Many of them seem to hate and look down on anyone that manufactures something (other than grievances), grows something, fixes or rebuilds something or delivers it to the air conditioned environment where the city people live. As they gradually alienated rural people and working people from their party, they simply decided to replace them with dependent foreigners, legal and illegal, which is why illegal immigration is now the bedrock of the Democrat’s future.

          The elite in every country hate their own people and cultures throughout the West and are seeking to simply replace them wholesale. This is the sorry truth from the U.K. to Belgium, to Sweden, to Germany. Western Civilization hangs in the balance, which is why populism is coming back. Mr. Trump and his cohort is the backlash. Thanks for the civil discussion here to all.

          As far as partisanship, there are reasons for it. Those on the left and right see the world in fundamentally different ways and everything flows from basic differences in philosophy and outlook. The History of the French Revolution, the urge to begin the world anew, is ground zero, but few Americans seem to study it at all. Cheers.

          • RedWell

            If an account of what’s wrong in a polity rests entirely on “them” and not at all on “us,” I question its empirical accuracy and grounding in moral honesty.

            Both, I might add, supreme conservative values.

    • Fat_Man

      Washington? New York? Urban California? These are areas that are parasites on the productive economy. They live off od tax money, finance, and media. They are trying to destroy production in the US by “environmentalism” and off shore production.

      They are trying to destroy, demoralize, and invalidate the rest of the country. Civil wars are the bloodiest and least forgiving. This one hasn’t gone to shooting yet.

      • RedWell

        Parasites that generate the most economic activity.
        Anyway, civil war? Left or right, that kind of heated language is more about mobilizing people against “the enemy” than actually solving problems or addressing issues. It is the mirror image of lefties talking about fascists and corporate war mongers on the right. It’s all dangerous and in most cases empirically wrong.

        • Fat_Man

          What I have written is not overheated. It is clinically accurate. Leftists have been waging cultural war against flyover country for 50 years. They may win. The heroin epidemic in the rural areas of flyover country is a sign of their impending victory. They may overplay their hand and start a shooting war. It may not happen. They may reduce the out-groups into demoralized, drug addicted lumpen-proletariat yet. However, that does not preclude a violent denouement. The Taiping Rebellion is a historical precedent.

          • RedWell

            Clinically accurate, eh? I’ll leave it to others on this site to determine the analytical coherence of connecting heroine abuse in the Midwest, “leftists,” Marxist theory, and the Taiping Rebellion.

          • Fat_Man

            No one is abusing heroines

          • RedWell

            Yes, typos are definitely the key to undermining the substance of my points.

          • SDN

            No, your typos simply show the lack of substance to your posts.

          • RedWell

            Yes, the two are logically related. Defynitlee.

          • Johnathan Swift Jr.

            Hey, speak for yourself. Some of us enjoy that sort of thing, though it today’s world of precious cupcakes, heroines are going to be in short supply.

        • Jim__L

          What happens to your numbers for “generating economic activity” if you apply Purchasing Power Parity adjustments? Creating two $25/hr jobs is a far greater service to humanity in suburban Nebraska than it is in staggeringly overpriced Santa Clara.

      • Andrew Allison

        Fortunately, we have something called the Electoral College, which was put in place to ensure that one or two of the States couldn’t choose the President. At the risk of being repetitive, 156% of Clinton’s plurality came from CA — a State which, as the leaders of its Assembly and Senate announced after the election, doesn’t share the values of the rest of the country!
        That the DC is metro area parasitical is obvious; equally obvious is the fact that we should relocate Congress to another one of the USA’s decaying Blue cities. I suggest Detroit, which has the highest crime rate in the country.

        • Fat_Man

          It has been proposed that various Federal government agencies should be broadcast across the Fruited Plains. Congress in Detroit. Let’s put the President in Kansas City. The Defense Department in Boise. The State Department in Buffalo, und so weiter.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Wait a minute…I own a home in Kansas City….why do you want to destroy property values?

          • Fat_Man

            You are right Kansas City is too nice. How about Flint.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Sounds good to me…

    • Andrew Allison

      You could hardly be more wrong about population ( Furthermore, you appear to be under the impression that the “liberal cosmo” States are self-sufficient. Dream on.

      • Tom

        Williams Jennings Bryan didn’t get a lot right, but he did understand this (though he was a tad hyperbolic, as he often was):

        “You come to us and tell us that the great cities are in favor of the gold standard. We reply that the great cities rest upon our broad and fertile prairies. Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic. But destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.”

        –Cross of Gold Speech

      • LarryD

        Cities used to be centers of industry, not so true anymore. NYC used to have a lot of light industry, but the bourgeois elite look down on the working class and their favored policies drive working class jobs away from cities. Granted, there are other reasons manufacturing has declined in cities, but the elite don’t care, at best, at worst, are glad to see them depart. And, as Schleicher notes, a city that loses private sector workforce become politically dominated by people dependent on government pay and benefits.

        But even a still-thriving city is not self-sufficient. Cities import power, food, fuel, fiber, water, and nowadays most manufactured goods. Actually enforce the anti-hydrocarbon policies the bourgeois greens want, and cities will quickly become unlivable. Williams Jennings Bryan’s hyperbole (quoted by Tom, below) is still true.

      • RedWell

        A more accurate representation of population distribution:

        As for self-sufficiency, that is not the point. It is not as if red states are any more self-sufficient. The “fruited plain” and the local factory rely on population centers.

        In addition, the notion that red states give more than they receive is a canard. They just have fewer people than cities. Indeed, agricultural subsidies mean that in many cases, rural areas receive disproportionately more redistributed income than urban areas.

        My point: this is not a civil war or a zero-sum competition. We all benefit from integration and cooperation.

      • the enforcer

        You posted that Wikipedia link in response to RedWell as if it’s meaningful to the discussion. It isn’t. His point is in regard to the relative distribution of population between cities and rural areas. Your link is only about state populations… useless. The fact is (as the link in RedWell’s second post illustrates), more than half the US population DOES live in cities, and about 75% lives in a metropolitan region. So, to use your own words, “you could hardly be more wrong.” And, to reiterate RedWell’s second post, NO state is self-sufficient (not that anything in his original post had suggested anything about economic self-sufficiency in the first place… you injected that yourself). I’m tempted to suggest that you try to stop being a clown, but from reading your other postings, I can see that the habit it too well-entrenched.

  • Disappeared4x

    Democrats gerrymander based on Identity Politics, and sometimes revenge. Brooklyn’s Borough Park neighborhood population of 152,696 is now represented by CD-7, CD-9, and CD-10; by four NYS Assembly districts, and by two NYS Senate districts. Borough Park’s residents are mostly orthodox Jews who may vote GOP for congress. Remember Bob Turner winning ResignedWeiner’s NYCD9 in 2011?. Borough Park’s votes were subsequently diluted by revenge gerrymandering into CD-7, 9, and 10.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    I’m enjoying all the Leftist Whining, the fact that they’re blaming everyone and everything for their losses, just demonstrates that their time in the wilderness will be extended. In 2008 the Leftists were talking about generations in power, but the almost spontaneous organizing of the TEA Party in early 2009 spiked that forecast. We will now see if the Leftists can make a similar comeback, I have serious doubts as I expect Trump will perform much better than the “Worst President in American History” Obama, he could hardly do worse.

    • Andrew Allison

      Temper your enjoyment. They’re doing everything they can to de-legitimize the election to the next President. As you suggest, it would be hard for Trump to perform any worse than the current narcissist-in-chief, but the fact that the left refuses to accept the outcome of the election is disturbing. As an aside, Lewis (like the soon-to-be former President) has violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and, despite his past achievements, should be impeached.

      • Boritz

        Unfortunately past service seem to be all that matters sometimes. John McCain is always thanked for his service but never really scorned for his disservice. Lewis will certainly benefit from the same immunity.

        • Johnathan Swift Jr.

          Well, because he is black and once participated in the Civil Rights movement, he is untouchable, an “icon.” a God in human form, even if it is the nastiest, most hateful human form possible. The amusing thing is that he has been just as nasty about Republicans who are no where near as sharp-elbowed as Mr. Trump is.

          Rep. Lewis hates the opposition, like most radicals he blames the terrible effects his party’s destructive rule on racism. It’s the flip side of the Democrat George Wallace. Instead of “Segregation Now, Segregation Forever,” it is claims of “Racism Now, Racism Forever.”

          The truth is that in the most violent neighborhoods in America’s worst cities, there is not a Republican in sight and few white people to even blame their problems on. The Democrats have ruled over almost every major city for fifty years, in some cases a century or more. The cycle of dependency, a lack of jobs, failing schools, out of wedlock birth, fatherlessness, substance abuse and gang-banging is the problem, not racism, but as long as the Democrats get their votes, they could not care less.

      • New Commenter

        As an aside, Lewis (like the soon-to-be former President) has violated his oath of office to defend the Constitution and, despite his past achievements, should be impeached


        Oh, no. As someone said a few days ago, Republicans today are supposed to give Lewis complete deference because a bunch of Democrats beat him up 50+ years ago

  • lukelea

    I don’t quite understand. Aren’t congressional districts apportioned according to population?

  • Comrade Pootie

    2018 will be a bad year for the Donks. 25 (D) Senate seats are up for grabs. 10 of them in states Trump won. So if the (D)’s escape with 40 seats in the Senate, it will be a victory for them.

    • Andrew Allison

      2018 is largely irrelevant. Thanks to Harry Reid, only Supreme Court nominees need 60 votes. That issue will be resolved long before then (if the Dems try and stop the nominee for the currently empty seat they will be nuked). The significant event is the redistricting following the 2020 census. Unfortunately for the Dems, it seems likely that roughly two-thirds of State governments will remain under Republican control. Unfortunately for the Republic, the GOP is likely to remain as devoted to the Gerrymander as the Dems. It’s unfortunate because, once a district has been Gerrymandered its reprehensative has no incentive to represent the people of the district as long as the majority of them mindlessly vote the party line instead of special interests. This may be the biggest political threat we face.

    • f1b0nacc1

      While 40 seats for the Dems would be nice to see (30 would be better….grin), don’t count your chickens and all that. I would be surprised to see them fall below 45, which in and of itself would be a nice enough result!.

  • LarryD

    Also related to this discussion:

    Why? First, lots of job-rich areas have erected barriers that keep job-seekers from other regions out. The two biggest barriers are land use and occupational licensing restrictions. Prior to the 1980s, strict zoning limitations were mostly confined to rich suburbs and did not appreciably check housing construction in most metropolitan areas. But now many prosperous areas in the United States require specific lot sizes, zone out manufactured and rental housing, perversely limit new rental housing construction by establishing rent control, or set up “historic districts” that limit the changes that owners can make to their houses. Land-use restrictions limit construction to boost housing and rental prices to the benefit current property owners who vote for local officials who support restrictive policies.

    “…By keeping workers out of high-productivity regions, local restrictions on housing have lowered U.S. GDP by 13.5 percent
    of what it would otherwise be, according to a 2015 study by the Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti and the University of Chicago economist Chang-Tai Hseih. In fact, they find that ‘most of the loss was likely caused by increased constraints to housing supply in high
    productivity cities like New York, San Francisco and San Jose. Lowering regulatory constraints in these cities to the level of the median city would expand their work force and increase U.S. GDP by 9.5%.’

    “…Schleicher identifies city ‘shrinkage’ as another restraint on labor mobility. How do you reduce the physical and governmental sizes of cities that are undergoing economic decline? Cities, especially those built around on manufacturing industries, developed chiefly as a way to minimize shipping costs—e.g., tire manufacturers wanted to be near auto assembly plants. Cities also offer the advantages of deep skilled-labor markets and information spillovers from neighboring enterprises. But mechanization, declining transportation costs, and trade competition have hollowed out many manufacturing cities, and so they need to shrink both their building stocks and the size of their governments.

    Cities like Detroit, argues Schleicher, get caught a negative fiscal spiral. Negative economic shocks lead to greater demand for government services rise, which leads to an increase in property and income tax rates, which motivates the remaining businesses and workers to leave. Another economically destructive dynamic frequently kicks in. ‘Difficulties in reducing government services worsen over time in shrinking cities,’ observes Schleicher. ‘As private-sector workers leave, particular populations—net recipients of public services, public sector workers, pensioners—become more powerful in local politics, giving them power to save benefits from declining.’

  • Joey Junger

    Man, people still don’t get it. The democrats are banking on a combination of demographic winter among their enemies, along with importing as many people as they can from the Third World, to make outreach or restructuring of the party to have working class whites “come home” an irrelevant strategy. If democrats (and abetting Republicans) can do in swaths of Iowa what they’ve done in Dearbornistan, Michigan, or in Minnesota, they don’t have to curry to the people currently living in Iowa to start winning. They can win by electing a new people.

    It’s obvious from the talk around Keith Ellison that the dems don’t plan on walking back from the “pivot” they made in the Obama years. And to be frank, time is on their side. They couldn’t afford naked contempt this election cycle and it cost them, but telling working-class whites to “f-off and die” won’t cost them if their coalition is large enough to include a majority that share the sentiment.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      Yes, as the Democratic Party was taken over by the New Left, the 1960s radicals and their noxious university indoctrinated spawn, as they put identity politics and “restorative justice” (mandated injustice) front and center, they alienated their old base, so the new plan was simply to replace them with immigrants, legal and illegal, as many poor and dependent as possible.

    • LarryD

      Luis Nolasco, a community engagement and policy advocate for the ACLU
      of Southern California, stood up to speak at the city council meeting
      and attacked many of the white people present, saying they are not
      actual residents of Rialto.

      Nolasco said, “This is my town.”

      He said that the important part of the sanctuary city discussion is “who are the people we are talking about.”

      The ACLU official said that “the people in this room are not
      representative of Rialto. Sorry to break it, but growing up here white
      people were the minority.”

      “The reality is that black and Latinos are the majority of the city,
      and that is representative of the city, and that’s going to continue to
      be the case for future generations,” Nolasco, 26, added.

      The city of Rialto is 72.4 percent Latino, according to a 2015 Census estimate.

      “It’s kind of mean for me to say it but these people have probably
      like five years left,” Nolasco said while gesturing to the white
      attendees at the meeting. A video of the meeting shows that several of
      them were elderly.

  • Beauceron

    No, the Democrats have trouble in the states because of the roiling mass of ignorant, racist, white supremacists. remember. It’s those bitter clingers who won’t let go of their Bible and guns and just can’t accept the fact that the people in New York and LA and Washington know what’s best for them.

    • Johnathan Swift Jr.

      You mean there are more than a basket of deplorables?

      • f1b0nacc1

        A bushel basket, perhaps…

      • New Commenter

        Irredeemable deplorable bitter clingers

  • LivingRock

    With all of the self-sorting that’s going on as far where people live in respect to their political leanings, even if you draw state congressional districts without partisanship in mind rarely would the districts actually be competitive.

  • ——————————

    “Why Democrats Struggle in the States”

    They are idiots….

  • jeburke

    Isn’t it ideology, not geography? Dems were competitive in more rural areas and states when they were more moderate, on balance. In 1996, Bill Clinton won in Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana, as well as across the “Blue Wall,” Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. And if you drill down to counties, he was very competitive in rural areas across the country. Amazing what a bit of pragmatic moderation will do.

    It was thought before November that the GOP had painted itself into a right-wing corner — and that’s true. What was missed is that the Dems have painted themselves into a left-wing corner. Big dividends go to which party makes a serious appeal to the center again.

  • FriendlyGoat

    This is the adverse effect of a malfunction of religion in white protestant churches. Where are those malfunctioning churches which are capable of making counties politically red? Uh,…..they are in the counties which can be seen as red on election maps. The political effect is not correctly described only by the geography in which people live. It is correctly described as the result of what they are being taught in the places they gather. There is nothing about living in the wider open spaces which causes a person to vote for being governed by the ultimate privileged New Yorker. It was “something else”. That something is the influence of church gone awry.

  • Douglas Esker

    “many Democrats have pointed to GOP-led gerrymandering to explain their party’s weakness in state legislatures and the House of

    The simple fact that Democrats have also lost big in the US Senate and in governorships under Obama, both of which cannot be gerrymandered, exposes how ridiculous their argument is.

  • Bandit

    Maybe it’s the message? I don’t think ‘If you weren’t stupid racists you’d vote for us’ isa big winner.

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