Daily Bread for 1.6.23: What Extreme Gerrymandering Wrought

Good morning.

Friday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 30. Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:36 PM for 9h 11m 38s of daytime. The moon is full with 99.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 2021, violent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attack the United States Capitol to disrupt certification of the 2020 presidential election, resulting in five deaths and evacuation of the U.S. Congress.

Dennis Aftergut writes The Chaotic House That SCOTUS Built (‘The Supreme Court enabled Republicans’ addiction to extreme gerrymandering. Now they’re reaping what they’ve sown’): 

Momentously, in 2019, a radical Supreme Court majority composed of Republican nominees issued a 5–4 decision in Rucho v. Common Cause. It gave radical partisan gerrymandering the court’s blessing as constitutional. The fifth vote in that ruling came from ultraconservative justice Neil Gorsuch, who was only seated after Senate Republicans unscrupulously refusedto hold a confirmation hearing for Merrick Garland. He would have almost certainly cast the fifth vote the other way.

If you doubt Rucho’s effect in creating today’s Republican House majority, look to Florida as a case study. In 2022, its governor, Ron DeSantis, “strong-armed” through the state legislature an extreme, gerrymandered map that eliminated half of Florida’s Black-dominated districts. In November’s election, the state flipped red three blue congressional seats.

Similarly, North Carolina’s gerrymandering added three Republican seats that, based on the state’s Democratic vote-share, should have gone Democratic. (Incidentally, North Carolina is the state whose gerrymandered map the Supreme Court upheld in Rucho, and it is also the state whose map the court will judge in this term’s much-discussed case of Moore v. Harper.)

Similar results seem to have occurred in Texas and Kentucky, where partisan voter registrations are evenly divided. Yet in Texas, 25 of the 38 congressional representatives are Republican, a 2-to-1 ratio. In Kentucky, five of the six representatives are Republican.

Democrats, too, have gerrymandered in states whose legislatures they control, but their efforts have been far surpassed by Republicans’, and without the destructive effects for the country’s institutions.

And so, the debacle we’ve been witnessing in Congress. From gerrymandered Republican seats come noncompetitive districts that elect hardliners with little to no incentive to compromise on choosing a speaker—or anything else. They gain attention via television and social media and raise money from their MAGA base by standing firm and dropping pipe bombs on the system of governing, and rarely face consequences for the fallout.


The Wisconsin Legislature, too. 

The Milwaukee County Zoo’s Gentoo penguin chick, born Dec. 17, 2022, gets examined:

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