As the Supreme Court makes ready to rule on the blatant gerrymandering in Wisconsin, the AP has conducted a study using "a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage" to analyze "the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year" and report "four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones."
Both parties have engaged in gerrymandering, but in many Republican strongholds, the GOP attains majorities and supermajorities despite capturing a minority of the vote, in a way that is unmatched by Democrats in states where they dominate.
As the party pivots away from its post-Romney strategy of finding ways to appeal to Americans from all walks of life, and into an entho-nationalist party that uses white identity politics to secure massive wealth transfers to an aging, tiny block of super-rich financiers, it can only realize electoral power through fraud, because neither of those groups are, on their own, sufficiently large to take and hold political power.
Republicans held several advantages heading into the 2016 election. They had more incumbents, which carried weight even in a year of "outsider" candidates. Republicans also had a geographical advantage because their voters were spread more widely across suburban and rural America instead of being highly concentrated, as Democrats generally are, in big cities.
Yet the data suggest that even if Democrats had turned out in larger numbers, their chances of substantial legislative gains were limited by gerrymandering.
"The outcome was already cooked in, if you will, because of the way the districts were drawn," said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in the 1980s.
A separate statistical analysis conducted for AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found that the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke. The Republican edge in Michigan's state House districts had only a 1-in-16,000 probability of occurring by chance; in Wisconsin's Assembly districts, there was a mere 1-in-60,000 likelihood of it happening randomly, the analysis found.
[David A Lieb/AP]