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The elephant in the room

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* House Speaker Chris Welch was interviewed by Capitol News Illinois

When asked whether gerrymandering played a role in those results, Welch said it did not.

“What I would say is that the maps reflect the diversity of our state,” he said. “And one of the things that I said as the leader of our caucus and the speaker of the House last year when we were going through that process, that any fair map would reflect the diversity of our state. And if you look at the election results, the election results show that.”

He said the results in the House were an example of that.

“We elected our first Vietnamese American to the House,” he said. “We elected our first Korean American to the House. We elected our first Arab American Muslim to the House. We elected our first Indian American Muslim to the House. We elected our first South Asian, Pacific Islander American to the House. Diversity is well represented in the Illinois House, and we look like Illinois, and we look like America. And we should be proud of that.”

The House is significantly more diverse. No argument there.

But the East St. Louis-based House district has been represented by a Black person for what seems like forever, but it lost about a fifth of its Black population in the remap and was then lost on election day to a white Republican named Kevin Schmidt, who was backed by Eastern Bloc members, campaigned against the SAFE-T Act, blamed Rep. LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis) for those refugees being bused to Chicago, blasted the Climate Equity and Jobs Act as “radical” legislation and opposes abortion rights.

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58 Comments »
  1. - Jim - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:20 am:

    When looking at the National map of gerrymandering by political parties any rational person should deduce that Republicans beat Dems 2 to 1. No rational person should feel any need to justify it in Illinois because we should be doing it here and elsewhere just to defend democracy.


  2. - Big Tent - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:24 am:

    And can someone please explain how Keith Wheeler, one of the most well-respected members in the House on both sides of the aisle, gets beat by a guy who can’t carry Wheeler’s briefcase?
    No gerrymandering there Speaker…


  3. - DuPage Moderate - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:25 am:

    “Defend Democracy”

    Always my favorite battle cry. Especially as Prtizker dumps $40,000,000 into the campaign of his pre-selected opponent who is a “threat to Democracy.”

    If we only had a functioning press to call out this madness.


  4. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:25 am:

    The line between 113 and 114 was poorly drawn. Jay Hoffman won by 6500 votes and LaToya Greenwood lost by 2300. Christopher Belt won the Senate district by 10,000.

    That loss is on whoever gave Hoffman a district with a lot more Dems than he needed.


  5. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:25 am:

    @Jim - I have no problem gerrymandering for the US House if other states are doing it (just be warned you are going to get radical Republicans when you put them all in the same district). But I disagree with gerrymandering at the state level and if it didn’t impact the elections, Chris Welch and the powers that be wouldn’t have spent all that time cordoned off in a secret room in Springfield.


  6. - Bruce( no not him) - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:26 am:

    Gerrymandering is only bad if it’s done to you, not by you.


  7. - Blue Dog - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:36 am:

    just curious. the last paragraph seems a bit toxic. was that a quote attributes to speaker Welch?


  8. - JB13 - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:40 am:

    Illinois Dems: Gerrymandering isn’t why we have a supermajority.

    The public: OK, we’d prefer you not have control of the map making process then. Can we vote on an amendment to change things?

    IL Dems: No. We must defend democracy.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:41 am:

    ===seems a bit toxic===

    Diversity is toxic?

    How would you describe the GOP GA caucuses… monolithically mundane, not to “trigger” anyone not white?

    To the post,

    The loss of diversity on E. St. Louis to the Eastern Bloc is truly tragic because of the toxic hate that the Eastern Bloc peddles you the old, angry, white, rural… which now has a foothold (legislatively) it never… enjoyed.


  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    ===If we only had a functioning press to call out this madness===

    LOL

    You must’ve missed all the stories, columns and editorials about it.

    Irvin spent a whole lot of Ken Griffin’s money warning that Bailey was being backed by Pritzker. Countless news stories were written about it that you now conveniently forget.

    Yet, Bailey still received 57.5 percent of the vote.

    Whining ain’t gonna change any of that.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:45 am:

    To gerrymandering,

    To continually ask toxic questions to be “obliging” to not gerrymander, while ignoring the diversity the map now shows…

    … until there’s a national uniformity and the courts recognize gerrymandering as not something they courts will embrace… the toxic idea that “ignoring to divide” diversity… amateur type questioning towards negative spin


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:48 am:

    Think on this, the aggrieved so upset about so many not calling out so much and “hypocrisy”…

    … how many social policy positions does the ILGOP align with the public in majority polling?

    2A? Abortion? SSM?

    “No, but, we know what’s right”

    Keep losing. It’s the policies…


  13. - Rogo - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:48 am:

    ===Gerrymandering is only bad if it’s done to you, not by you.===

    There are far too many people who believe this, mainly under the justification of countering GOP gerrymandering in other states. When they go low, we go just as low, I suppose.


  14. - vern - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:49 am:

    === can someone please explain how Keith Wheeler===

    That’s an easy one. All Wheeler had to do was tell his constituents that he would protect their reproductive rights. If he had said it loudly and often enough, he would’ve won. He decided that opposing abortion was more important than winning, and do he didn’t win.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    ===Keith Wheeler===

    Areas around “The Hamlet” ain’t old, angry, white, pro-life, and pro-2A as much as folks think.

    Ask… Linda Holmes, Stephanie Kifowit…


  16. - Anon 9:51 - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    Gerrymandering is like pornagraphy: “I know it when I see it.”

    It reminds me of an old country (and western) song: “There ain’t no right way to do the wrong thing”.

    If the map wasn’t gerrymandered, why not let an independent mapmaking process draw them?


  17. - Homebody - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:52 am:

    @ Rogo: == mainly under the justification of countering GOP gerrymandering in other states. ==

    I believe this. I support changes to the electoral college. I support ranked choice voting. I support neutrally drawn house districts.

    I do NOT support unilateral disarmament by blue states. That’s insane.


  18. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:53 am:

    I get the “no unilateral surrender” argument, but it’s wrong. If you believe SCOTUS is wrong that partisan gerrymandering doesn’t violate the republic form of government clause or equal protection clause (which should be a no-brainer after Bush v. Gore), can you name another constitutional right you would deny your state’s citizens to because other states were denying it to theirs? Also, gerrymandering isn’t just limited to which party wins the general election, it also affects who wins the primaries. Arguably politics would be a lot less toxic but for the extremes that gerrymandering produces.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:56 am:

    ===why not let===

    Winners. Make. Policy.


  20. - Rogo - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    ===I do NOT support unilateral disarmament by blue states.===

    I can see your point. And yet, while no one backs down, continuing to play the game, our political dysfunction only hardens.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 9:57 am:

    ===Arguably politics would be a lot less toxic but for the extremes that gerrymandering produces.===

    The courts disagree.

    National uniformity.

    Otherwise… winners make policy.


  22. - Tominchicago - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:00 am:

    Lake County Democrat. I agree with you that gerrymandering is a constitutional violation, but unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn’t, hence it is not. Why should the Dems unilaterally disarm, given the current state of the law?


  23. - low level - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    When the FL and Texas GOP decide to pass fair maps, then get. back to me.

    DeSantis in particular jammed through boundaries so partisan that Chicago machine bosses would admire his mapmaking skills.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:01 am:

    ===And yet, while no one backs down, continuing to play the game===

    … will either bring disarmament or keep both parties in check by trying to equal the other.

    No disarmament. National equality


  25. - Vote Quimby - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:03 am:

    ==That loss is on whoever gave Hoffman a district with a lot more Dems than he needed.==

    Agreed. It will be interesting to watch Rep-Elect Schmidt represent his entire district.


  26. - Norseman - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:06 am:

    Welch is spouting a typical politician fib. Of course, gerrymandering helped. Frankly, thanks to right-wing politicians and the judges they support this is the world we live in and will continue to live in for a long time. IMHO, IL has been better served by the Dems than the GOP, now MAGA GOP.

    When you get tired of the baloney from the MAGA GOP House, remember that it was gerrymandering reform in New York that helped bring you that disaster.


  27. - twowaystreet - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:08 am:

    ==The courts disagree.==

    You should go back and read Kagan’s dissent on Rucho. Or is no one allowed to disagree with a court’s ruling?

    If that’s the case, I am guessing you were staunch defender of the SC’s decision on abortion regardless of what you personally believe.


  28. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:09 am:

    Actually the Courts didn’t disagree on the effects of partisan gerrymandering but the constitutionality of it. I don’t presume everyone who thought abortion is protected by the Constitution suddenly thinks they’re wrong post-Dobbs. Hence, I wrote *if* you believe SCOTUS got it wrong and partisan gerrymandering is a violation of either of the clauses I mentioned, what other rights would you deny your citizens because citizens of other states are denied.


  29. - supplied_demand - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:09 am:

    ==And yet, while no one backs down, continuing to play the game, our political dysfunction only hardens.==

    You must acknowledge that Democrats have introduced national legislation to fix this. Zero Republicans supported that legislation. This problem requires a Federal solution.

    One side is offering a cease-fire, the other is refusing to back down.

    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/freedom-vote-act


  30. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:11 am:

    ===And yet, while no one backs down, continuing to play the game===

    It probably doesn’t help that one of the most prominent supporters of redistricting reform in Illinois used to work for Ken Griffin’s spouse.

    It also doesn’t help that the reformers have jumped on the bandwagon of using municipal boundaries to nearly dictate how legislative maps should be drawn, which would have the effect of reducing Black and Latino political strength by packing districts into the city.

    But, it’s all academic anyway. Legislatures rarely impose remap reform on themselves. Others have to step in.

    And that’s why it was maddening when the reformers screwed up their constitutional amendment proposal by going outside Article IV. What they did was a massive self-own.

    And why Bailey didn’t use Pritzker’s remap flip-flop against him is just beyond me. Yeah, it wouldn’t have worked, but at least we could’ve had a debate about it.


  31. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:11 am:

    Tomincho - sorry, I didn’t address one of your points. I don’t think we’re born with party fealty - thus we shouldn’t give up a constitutional right because “our party” suffers nationally. There’s also the moderating effect in the primaries. Finally, the priniciple that our votes can be minimized to hold as little actual power as possible is anathema to me.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:13 am:

    ===what other rights would you deny your citizens because citizens of other states are denied.===

    It’s the Tuesday before thanksgiving, here I thought all the dorm rooms would be empty.

    Focusing on the court’s ruling to gerrymandering and not wandering into some dorm speak… other states like a Florida or a New York… a national way to address gerrymandering is the line solution as each state sees their own gerrymandering different, including both sides to their maps.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:16 am:

    “Mike Madigan beat the GOP map 4 of 5 times”

    Why?

    The demographics and diversity of candidates mirroring these new districts better than LAD did, and Daniels couldn’t get candidates to mirror what those new districts evolved into being.

    But… the voters, amirite?


  34. - low level - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    If gerrymandering always produced the intended results, Lee Daniels would have been speaker for 10 years.


  35. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    Ask a D if redistricting played a roll in NY. Welch could at least attempt honesty


  36. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:25 am:

    When grandpa starts yelling one word things at the table, we know it’s time for his meds.

    New York or Florida isn’t the effect of Illinois making it’s map, it’s the cause to why Illinois made a map to offset… Florida, North Carolina…

    The courts said the Illinois maps were VRA friendly and comply…


  37. - Federal Legislation Note - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    ===Gerrymandering is only bad if it’s done to you, not by you.===
    The For the People Act (H.R. 1), which passed on the U.S. House with exclusively Democratic support, including the support of every Illinois Democrat, would have prohibited partisan gerrymandering. Republicans support gerrymandering in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Utah, etc.


  38. - twowaystreet - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:28 am:

    ==why Illinois made a map to offset… Florida, North Carolina…==

    NC map resulted in a 7-7 split. Their State Supreme Court ruled that partisan gerrymandering violated the free and fair election cause.

    Maybe try Texas…


  39. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:32 am:

    Democrats gerrymandered moderate Democrats alike Adam Kinzinger (who voted for impeachment and served on January 6th committee) and Rodney Davis and then complain about extreme MAGA Republicans being a threat to democracy.

    They are not for diversity on the Republican side of the aisle.

    Speaker Welch admitted people don’t trust Springfield in his first interview. He pledged to restore that trust.

    By denying the obvious, he is digging the trust deficit hole deeper.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:33 am:

    ===partisan gerrymandering violated the free and fair election cause.===

    Yeah.

    Prolly why I specifically had Florida AND North Carolina paired as both are at ends of the spectrum… and the courts in NC see it different than, say, any other state I mentioned.

    Glad you caught what I was dropping.


  41. - The Opinions Bureau - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:35 am:

    As other have said, I’m for fair maps when there’s a consistent national standard. But I don’t see why Illinois Democrats should undertake reforms their Republican counterparts in so many other states refuse to do.

    At any rate, the map is good for a safe majority. The supermajority is thanks to the Republicans self-inflicted toxicity in the suburbs.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:37 am:

    ===They are not for diversity on the Republican side of the aisle.===

    Now you want Democrats to make the GOP more diverse?

    Kinzinger retired as he stated; his own party was bent on beating him. Getting through a primary was his challenge

    As a Trump supporter as you are, - LP -, who stated Trump shouldn’t be impeached, you seemed ok with folks like Mary Miller not voting to impeach and upset that some Republicans did vote to impeach.

    Your bot-ness is on haywire again.


  43. - Amalia - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:39 am:

    I love how loud the anti Dems are here. they have created ridiculous districts in so many states that they expect they should have it all everywhere, no matter what. land over people, theocracy, anti women’s agency. nope.


  44. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:41 am:

    ===Democrats gerrymandered moderate Democrats alike Adam Kinzinger (who voted for impeachment and served on January 6th committee) and Rodney Davis and then complain about extreme MAGA Republicans being a threat to democracy.===

    Not that long ago, you were complaining about Kinzinger:

    ===In the past year have you ever heard Adam Kinzinger criticize any Democratic politicians or policies during his countless media appearances?

    Me neither===

    https://capitolfax.com/2021/11/01/what-will-rodney-davis-and-mary-miller-do-now/

    Pick a lane and spare us the crocodile tears.


  45. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    =They are not for diversity on the Republican side of the aisle.=

    That is hall of fame self own there LP. Well done.

    You see, the parties try to get more candidates elected than one another not engineer the demographics of their competitor.

    If the ILGOP appealed to more people, especially people of color, they could add to their own diversity and win more elections.

    Your (and much of the gop) inability or flat out refusal to understand your failure to find a platform that appeals to more voters, not maps, or gerrymandering, or the alignment of the stars is the sole reason the ilgop has reached a new apex of irrelevance in Illinois.

    But blame it on the democrats, you cannot give them a higher compliment.

    Mega self-own.


  46. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 10:52 am:

    As long as you have both Republicans and Democrats around the country engaging in gerrymandering nothing is ever going to change. Why in the world would you ever give up your advantage if everyone else isn’t going to do the same and agree to “fair” maps (whatever that is).


  47. - Homebody - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 11:16 am:

    == I can see your point. And yet, while no one backs down, continuing to play the game, our political dysfunction only hardens. ==

    As others have said, this is another boTh SiDeS argument. Democrats have been pushing for national solutions that cover everyone. It is the GOP that is resisting it at a national level.

    You can work toward a solution while also not unilaterally disarming. We can walk and chew gum at the same time.

    The problem is that the GOP doesn’t want to solve this problem. Talk to them, not to me.


  48. - Geezus - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 11:23 am:

    Again, this is not rocket science.

    The metro-east has enough population for about 2.5 safe Democratic seats. A conscious decision was made by mapmakers to not move Democrats from Hoffman’s district into the East St. Louis district. Or to move Democrats from Katie Stuarts district into the East St. Louis district. So, a district COULD have been drawn to keep a Democrat leader, maybe even an East St. Louis-based Democrat leader, in the 114. But mapmakers chose to keep Hoffman’s district solid and Stuart’s district solid.

    Maybe someone should ask why priority was given to Hoffman over Greenwood?


  49. - Roman - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 11:50 am:

    If I’m not mistaken, Dems have won 27 of the 29 statewide elections since 2014 (Rauner and JBT in ‘14 are the only exceptions) and Dems are 22 of 22 since ‘16. Based on that run alone, one would expect them to hold a supermajority of seats in both legislative chambers — even on a “fair” map.
    You can make a pretty good argument that gerrymandering has only padded those supermajorities, not created them.

    College educated suburban voters have relegated the GOP to legislative irrelevance much more than partisan Democratic map-making has.


  50. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 11:55 am:

    East Saint Louis proper is down to 18,469 people from 82,000 in 1950 (81,000 1960). It was nearly evenly split between white and African-American residents and now it’s about 98 percent African-American


  51. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 12:31 pm:

    =They are not for diversity on the Republican side of the aisle.=

    Not the democrats job. But the candidates and platforms the gop puts up are responsible for the lack of success.Someday, a smart gop strategist is going to realize this and maybe help them win a few elections.

    =Especially as Prtizker dumps $40,000,000 into the campaign of his pre-selected opponent=

    Please identify the vote bailey ads that Pritzker paid for. You can’t because they don’t exist. You don’t give gop voters much credit for their intelligence.


  52. - Proud Sucker - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 12:45 pm:

    “No disarmament. National equality.”

    Possible change to the State motto. I like it.


  53. - MG85 - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 12:52 pm:

    Gerrymandering cannot be solved by individual states because neither party can allow for an advantage to the other.

    That is why the Democratic Party should have passed a law for a federal ban of gerrymandering (although I suspect a certain Court would have struck it down).

    Speaker Welch cannot say this and, frankly, he shouldn’t be required to. The Democratic Party followed the law. Winners draw the maps. You want that to change? Run for office and fix it.


  54. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 1:05 pm:

    ===That is why the Democratic Party should have passed a law for a federal ban of gerrymandering (although I suspect a certain Court would have struck it down).

    They did in the House, and the filibuster killed it in the Senate.You can eliminate gerrymandering at the state level while allowing it for US House seats until there is a national solution. I have no expectation of that being passed in Illinois, but it’s fair to point it out.


  55. - Holy make your own rules Batman - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 1:13 pm:

    My Congressional District has gone from a +47 R district as part of 33 counties (Danville was the largest community in the District) where my Congressman could see the St. Louis Arch, to:

    A +37 D District that touches Lake Michigan with Vermilion County as a far south outpost.

    An 84 point swing in one remap has to be some kind of gerrymandering record.

    This issue amplifies the hypocrisy on both sides of this matter. D’s abhor gerrymandering nationwide that generally hurts them, yet, they routinely agree to absurdity in Illinois because they can.

    Different clowns, same Circus. The need for two or three more major parties like most mature Democracies is overdue.


  56. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 1:44 pm:

    ===My Congressional District===

    That’s your first mistake.


  57. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 1:47 pm:

    ===33 counties===

    Counties don’t vote.

    It doesn’t matter the number of counties


  58. - fraidcat - Tuesday, Nov 22, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    Peoria county had an Advisory Vote on this question
    Should the State of Illinois Adopt an
    Independent Citizens Commission for the
    Federal and State Redistricting Process, that
    Would Be Guided by Principles Established in
    Fair Maps Initiatives?

    74.17%–Yes, 25.83%–no. I think there is feeling out that there that we need fairer maps


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