Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Gerrymandering Myth that "Both Sides Do It" Busted in Wisconsin.

GOP myth busting continues. It nice to see the lie about Democratic gerrymandering in Wisconsin finally come to an end.

Urban Milwaukee's Bruce Murphy brought all the pieces together. Remember one detail not mentioned; when Republicans gerrymandered in 2012, they had to take an oath of secrecy to keep their scheme from getting out into the public. Who does that? In summary...
MURPHY’S LAW: The Myth of Democratic Gerrymandering: When the Republicans need someone to spin the electorate, there is never anyone better for the job than Christian Schneider ... an August 2013 column peddling the theory that this was no different or more partisan than past efforts when Democrats held power. To buttress his claim, he pointed to the an action taken by Democratic Gov. Tony Earl, elected in 1982 ... “As was the case just last year, one party got to set legislative boundaries to their political advantage, to ensure partisan majorities,” Schnieder wrote.

This defense — the Nixonian “they all do it” — has now become Republican dogma … The Public Policy Institute of Chicago devised an “efficiency gap,” which measures the ratio of each party’s wasted votes to all votes cast. Prof. Simon Jackman of Stanford University then did a historic analysis which measured the efficiency gap for each party in 786 state legislative elections in 41 states from 1972-2014.
Here's the amazing truth:
And looking at Wisconsin’s Republican efficiency gap advantage of 13 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2014, he concluded that in “the entire set of 786 state legislative elections” no other two-election sequence after redistricting achieved this big an advantage for either party. The gerrymandering in Wisconsin is “virtually without historical precedent,” he concluded.

As for the idea that Wisconsin’s Republicans are only doing what Democrats before them did, that couldn’t be more untrue. The state’s highest Democratic efficiency gap since 1972 was just 2 percent in 1994, Jackman found. The current Republican advantage is at least five times larger. 

But what about that egregious redistricting by Gov. Earl? Stephanopolous reviewed the data for me and found that ... after the relatively minor changes made by Earl and the Democrats, that changed to a 2.4 percent GOP advantage in 1984. Throughout the 1980s, the Democrats never had an efficiency gap advantage.

But Schneider’s claim becomes all the more hollow when you consider a initial ruling by a three-judge federal court, of which two judges were appointed by Republican presidents, in response to a suit against the Republicans’ redistricting in Wisconsin. The ruling noted that historical data suggests “there is close to a zero percent chance that the current (Wisconsin) plan’s efficiency gap will ever favor the Democrats during the remainder of the decade.” That stands in start contrast to advantages realized in the past
Expert Partisan Republican Help:
The ruling noted that Republicans hired Ronald Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma, to help with the redistricting: “Gaddie’s model forecast that the Assembly plan would have a pro-Republican ‘efficiency gap’ of 12 percent.” Gaddie, it appears, used the efficiency gap analysis ... to instead assure a massive partisan advantage. All of which may be taken into account in the federal court’s ultimate ruling ... Republican insiders had to know about Gaddie’s role; he has done work for the conservative American Enterprise Institute and his involvement here was reported by Wispolitics.com

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