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While you were away, a mockery was made of democracy

by: Eric B.

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at 11:26:03 AM EDT

Actually it was while I was away, and I heard about it via e-mail. Thanks for ruining part of my vacation, jerk (you know who you are), and thanks for sapping my phone of precious battery juice that might have otherwise allowed me to snap a photo of the toilet at the trailhead.

Anyway, this happened.

Has the will of the people been usurped by the Legislature so that we no longer have a voice? This happened recently with the minimum wage petition, which prompted the Legislature to raise the minimum wage in a ploy to thwart Democrats from coming to the polls to vote on raising minimum wage. The Legislature’s pending vote on hunting wolves will thwart Public Act 21, rendering the voice of the people, on the separate ballot issue to protect Michigan’s wolves, pointless.

We need transparency, not further deception. A rushed vote is reminiscent of how Michigan’s right-to-work legislation was passed. This Legislature seems to forget that it works for the people, not the other way around. I am hoping that the initiative submitted by the Citizens for Wildlife Management will be voted down, restoring confidence to the voters that this state is still a democracy.

It's a letter ot the editor written by Linda Samelson of West Bloomfield, not an actual unsigned editorial.

Where are the state's editorial boards on this? This wasn't just about allowing people to kill animals for fun, which it is. This is also about a concerted campaign to prevent people from making use of a democratic process specifically built into the state constitution to redress grievances with shit done by our ongoing experiment in the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Eric B. :: While you were away, a mockery was made of democracy
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The will of
the people? Our current rulers have no time for that, and their supporters are just fine with what they've done so far, democracy be damned. They have convinced themselves that all this socialism is so unAmerican that they're justified in doing anything they can to put an end to it, and return us to the days of the robber barons, who as every teabagger knows were endorsed by the Founders.  

"Where are the state's editorial boards on this?"
MLive had this editorial on August 3rd: MLive Media Group: Michigan lawmakers should allow citizens to vote on wolf hunting measures.
MLive Media Group is calling on elected officials to resist hijacking the public process a second time and allow voters in November to decide whether wolf hunting should be controlled by the Legislature or by a commission appointed by the governor.
That was about the only one I saw.  I don't recall anything by the Free Press and I wouldn't expect anything like this from the Detroit News.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

2012 U.S. House Vote Totals in MI:
2,327,985 for Dems vs. 2,086,084 for Repubs.  I wanted to find summaries of the MI state representative totals with Goggle, but had trouble, and I didn't want to add up 100+ data points using SOS elections data.  Presuming the numbers were similar in state house races in 2012, the evidence is that Reps are outvoted in the aggregate, and maybe they know that too?  That would explain the use of every trick available to insure that their minority prevails.  As a kid in elementary school in the early '70s, we used to have a provision in our various playground games called "1,2,3-no changes!"  I would never have guessed it would one day become a routine tool for middle-aged legislators.  It seems to me a constitutional amendment is sorely needed to remedy the twin abuses of adding appropriations to short-circuit future repeal by initiative, and passing initiatives on hot-button issues for which only about 100-200,000 petition signers alone have the final say.

Well, I HAVE added up the state House vote
and analyzed each seat from 2004 through 2012. And I wrote about that in comments to another recent diary here.

The more meaningful way of looking at this is to take the statewide vote for all 110 House seats, and subtract the Republican from the Democratic vote, and express that as a percentage of the two-party vote. in 2004, this was 2.5% -- that was the Democratic vote advantage. In that election, Republicans won 58 seats, and Democrats 52 -- a - 5.5% Republican advantage. Looking at the difference, that is (  - 5.5%) - 2.5% = - 8.0% An 8% Republican gerrymander effect.

In 2006, this effect was - 4.6%. In 2008, as the Democratic tsunami overtopped the Republican gerrymander seawall, the effect switched to + 6.3% Democratic advantage. In the disastrous year of 2010, - 7.1%.

But in 2012 with a new map, the effect rose to - 15.5%. We actually won the statewide vote for the state House by a full 8.3%, and are in the minority in the House by - 7.3%.

Unless this is a statistical outlier, it indicates that the new map is a much more effective Republican gerrymander than the last decade's map.

It means that to have a 50-50 shot at controlling the state House, we need to win the statewide vote by at least 11% or 12%.

Think about that.

[ Parent ]
Do you have the D vs. R number of votes for 2012?
Even if less useful than your statistical measure, I am quite curious.

[ Parent ]
for Michigan House, 2012:
Democratic votes 2,384,789
Republican votes 2,020,864

[ Parent ]
Gerrymanders are always best when fresh.
While the ink is still fresh on the maps, the people who controlled the drawing generally have reason to feel good about their work.  Each successive election tends to undermine that sense of accomplishment, as the partisan baselines in various districts shift in unexpected ways.  By the end of the decade, it's fairly common for a redistricting to look pretty shabby.  It may still work, but the shine is off.

I guess the life cycle of a gerrymander is about the same as that of a new car.

[ Parent ]
Republicans have had all or most of the say for, what?  The last two decades of maps, right?  In a state with our lean, there is only so much blood you can squeeze out of the redistricting turnip; it progressively produces fewer and fewer advantages.  I honestly don't think this redistricting was significantly tighter, it's simply the GOP trying to hold onto what they can.  These things beging to loosen progressively faster with each gerrymander in a state with a base Democratic advantage.

It may hold for another cycle, like you said.  But, this gerrymander isn't particularly special or tight for the GOP.  Dems have won on Dems maps and they have won on successive Republican ones.

[ Parent ]
You can assert that, but here is the evidence I have:
MI House gerrymander effect (D%-R% House members) - (D%-R% statewide vote) (negative means successful Republican gerrymander.)

2004 - 8.0%
2006 - 4.6%
2008 + 6.3%
2010 - 7.1%

2012 - 15.5%

I should do 2002 as well. And I take your point that 'random' (with respect to the model, not truly random) demographic changes, ought, in theory, to lead to a degradation of the gerrymander efficiency. But the four 2000s elections I have done don't seem to show a decay or relaxation with respect to time; rather, they show a strong correlation (R^2 = 0.93) between the partisan margin and the result, with a regression line slope of 1.5, such that above a certain Dem margin, the effect flips, as it did in 2008.

Then the 2012 effect is almost double ANY effect from the previous four.

That's my evidence. What's yours?

Now, this means that the slope of this new regression line, once we know what it is (after Nov.), will certainly be steeper than last decade's. That speaks to MiddleGrand's point about squeezing blood from a turnip. They have shaved some of their margins to give them a bigger majority in a typical year, which means we will rack up bigger gains in a big Democratic year.

But that ain't this year.

[ Parent ]

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