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Unformatted text preview: 2/5/2007 Important influences in Congressional Elections: Each partys vote distribution is unevenly distributed across the nation. o Democratic concentration in our nations city o Democratic Victory in African American neighborhoods is 10 to 1 o Republican vote is distributed more evenly across the country Many Democratic Congressmen (esp. in cities) receive votes they dont need, and can get about 80% of the votes. It only adds to the majority won by Democrats. The Republican vote is distributed more evenly across the country. In 2004, G.W. Bush won the popular vote by 2.4%; however, he won majorities in 240 compared to Kerrys about 190 Congressional votes. More efficiently distributed, allowed more Republicans to pull on Bushs coat tails. States won by Presidential Candidates: o Bush carried 30 o Kerry 20 It is utterly by chance that the Republican vote wins more. Its the case that House districts are drawn very much in light of their representation to work to the disadvantage of their party control. This influences who gets to vote between who is running. Parties have the incentive to draw the lines to benefit their candidates and make it hard for the opposite party to win the election. State legislature make the decision of where to put different towns in a district. They want to do their party the most good. Referred to as Partisan Gerrymandering. Named after an important politician (shortly after 1800), Gerry. The lines of his district were drawn in such a way to increase his chances of winning. State legislation of Massachusetts was controlled by Jeffersonians, who were contesting with Federalists for Congress. The Jeffersonians wanted Gerry to defeat the Federalist candidate and go to Congress, so they included towns that were strongly Jeffersonian. Notorious example: state of Texas, 2004, plan engineered by Tom DeLay (at time Majority Leader of House). o Normal to redistrict after Census. In the aftermath of the Census, the states must redraw their districts because of change in number of representatives to the state and the change in demographics of the state. o In 2004, Republicans won the state elections. They re-gerrymandered the state to add four extra seats for Republicans, in order to increase the odds that Republicans keep their seats/number in Congress. Democrats in the state legislature objected. All the Democrats dont show up on the vote day, successfully depriving the legislation of quorum. o The governor of Texas, Republican, announced his intention of having legislators who did not show up to vote arrested. The Democrats fled to bordering states to prevent arrest. o Each side pulled publicity stunts to try and discredit the other side Generally speaking, Gerrymandering can only be successfully carried out if a party has control of the three branches of state government....
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- Spring '07
- SHEFTER, M