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Nothing is that simple

Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016

* This is a common notion, and it’s not incorrect

In other words, the gerrymandering power gives the party drawing the map an overwhelming advantage in putting itself permanently in charge.

* As is this

When politicians manipulate district maps, they skew results in their favor, no matter the consequences to fair representation.

* But if you click here, you’ll see Scott Kennedy’s 2014 gubernatorial election results by Illinois House district. Those districts were drawn, of course, by Speaker Madigan.

As you’ll recall, Bruce Rauner won 50.8 percent of the popular vote in 2014. Yet, by my count, Rauner won 69 of 118 House districts that same year, or 58.5 percent.

So, the Republican candidate for governor won 22 more House seats than the Republicans currently hold.

That’s why Gov. Rauner thinks he has a real shot at picking up some House seats this year. His operation is focusing like a laser on the districts he won.

* Now, it’s not as simple as this, of course. Once somebody is elected, it’s difficult to pry them loose. The House Democrats picked up seats after the 2011 remap, but besides drawing a map that certainly favored their candidates, the wins were also due to 2012 being a hugely favorable (to them) presidential election year.

By the time the national GOP wave swept through two years later, it ran smack dab into Democratic incumbents who’d been working their new districts hard for two years. And not all of those newbies had credible (or any) challengers.

But it didn’t work out that way for Congressional Democrats, who lost some seats here in 2014.

This year, the trend will likely be the Democrats’ friend yet again. If Rauner doesn’t net some gains, he’ll likely blame the map, but that won’t be totally true.

* If you go back to 1991, the last time the Republicans drew the map, Madigan’s Democrats held on to control in 1992, when Bill Clinton and Carol Moseley Braun swept the state. The Democrats lost the majority two years later in a big national GOP landslide, but gained it back in 1996, when Clinton ran again, and managed to hold onto their majority until they drew the map in 2001.

Yet, during that same time period, the Senate Republicans held the majority throughout, even with the heavy African-American migration into the south suburbs which helped upend the House GOP’s hold. Senators, however, don’t run every two years, so some lucked out and missed unfavorable wave elections.

Lots of things play into why stuff happens in politics, which is why I love it so much. It’s not a black and white, either-or game, except on election day itself, when it’s winner take all.

* And, again, let me say I think that a non-partisan map would be a good thing here. But so would California’s open primary system, where the top two vote-getters battle it out in November even if they’re from the same party. I’d love to see that brought to Illinois.

There are lots of things we can do to reform the process. But a single reform probably won’t solve all our problems. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, because they’re living in an overly simplistic cartoon world. I prefer the real world.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A Modest Proposal - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:05 pm:

    —-As you’ll recall, Bruce Rauner won 50.8 percent of the popular vote in 2014. Yet, by my count, Rauner won 69 of 118 House districts that same year, or 58.5 percent.—

    I wonder what the Cross/Frerich results look like

  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    Good post Rich.

  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:11 pm:

    –So, the Republican candidate for governor won 22 more House seats than the Republicans currently hold.

    That’s why Gov. Rauner thinks he has a real shot at picking up some House seats this year. His operation is focusing like a laser on the districts he won. –

    Is Quinn the Dem candidate in all 22 of those House districts? Is it a non-presidential year?

    If so, then I think the Rauner crew logic is impeccable.

  4. - walker - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:29 pm:

    A lot of seats in that “laser beam focus” for which no GOP candidates were found. Going to be a multiyear process, I guess.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:30 pm:

    For me?

    I will work “tirelessly” for the following…

    Fair Maps that will coincide with 59 Districts, electing 1 member of that district to the IL Senate and 3 total members from that district to the IL House, with no more than TWO from one party included in those three.

    Don’t believe me? Try me.


  6. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:32 pm:

    I say this over and over again.

    I believe that Rauner won *every* contested House election in 2014. And it isn’t JUST because its hard to unseat an incumbent. Its also because, despite some/many flaws in its program, the HDEM political operation does one thing better than any other political organization that I’ve seen.

    They knock on doors. And they knock on doors some more. And when they’re done, they knock on more doors.

    Quite simply, they significantly and consistently outwork their GOP opponents on the doors.

    And if the HGOP couldn’t win those districts in 2014, they sure as hell won’t have an easy time winning them in 2016 with a presidential race driving turnout.

  7. - The Captain - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:34 pm:

    == I wonder what the Cross/Frerich results look like ==

    I counted 64 for Cross.

  8. - Rational Dem - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:50 pm:

    The problem with the Governor’s plan is he did not run on any issues. Now that he has spelled out what he wants to do he is not quite so popular in many of those districts. Assuming the Cross / Frerichs number above is correct that pretty much confirms the Governors win was anti Quinn not a pro Rauner mandate.

  9. - titan - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 4:58 pm:

    Gerrymandering works by packing “their voters” into highly concentrated districts so that they overwhelming carry their districts and spreading “your voters” such that they carry each of your districts by modest margins - if you get a backlash year, you can get trounced when your expected margins don’t hold

  10. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:07 pm:


    That’s like the cumulative voting system in Arizona, and like Illinois was prior to Quinn successfully ending it in the constitution. It’s a much better and fairer system than the current mess. Each party’s constituents can have SOME representation that way, and empowers the voters.

  11. - Macbeth - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:33 pm:

    The only thing Rauner can run on is his impotence: “I’m weak. I just got here. Blame Madigan.”

    That’s it. There’s nothing else he can tout.

    What? This? “I’m not anti-union. I just want to get rid of them.”

  12. - sal-says - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 5:40 pm:

    == …they’re living in an overly simplistic cartoon world. I prefer the real world. ==

    Can’t decide if IL is living in a ‘cartoon world’ or a ‘real world’ right now.

    In either case, we need something different, hopefully better.

  13. - illini - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 8:35 pm:

    Willy @4:30 has a great point. I can remember when things used to be that way and would probably be a significant improvement over our current system.

    Yet, I am just starting to read about the California system and from what I can tell, at least initially, has an appeal to me that needs to be reviewed.

    Now, I can understand that neither party would want this kind of Primary, and for obvious reasons. Yet worth a closer look!

  14. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 8:40 pm:

    OW and Illinois Bob, I am a strong believer in 3 member districts with cumulative voting. No need to limit each party to only 2 members. Just allow the parties to limit the number of candidates. Very hard to win all 3 seats if the other party only runs one candidate.

  15. - Annonin' - Wednesday, Jun 22, 16 @ 10:11 pm:

    How about someone. Happens here after the change?
    Taxes lower…kids smarter…roads smoother…share that vision and folks can decide
    That is simple

  16. - Still Waters - Thursday, Jun 23, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    Rauner is following the Republican Congressional gerrymandering plan that has worked so well for the Republican nationwide. It’s not new. The voting public refuses to see what’s going on until it hits them in the pocket. Everyone would like to see our country ran more efficiently but for Republicans to continue to balance their agenda on the backs of the poor will not get us better infrastructure, schools, and other reforms that will lift our society.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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