Another Look At The 'Mandate' New Yorkerexcerpt: In Thursday’s Times, a front-page news analysis argued that "it is impossible to read President
November 13, 2004

Another Look At The 'Mandate' New Yorker

excerpt:

In Thursday’s Times, a front-page news analysis argued that "it is impossible to read President Bush’s reëlection with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right country—divided yes, but with an undisputed majority united behind his leadership." That is certainly true in institutional terms. But it is not true in terms of people, of actual human beings. Though the Republicans won nineteen of the thirty-four Senate seats that were up for grabs last Tuesday, for a gain of four, the number of voters who cast their ballots for Republican Senate candidates was 37.9 million, while 41.3 million voted for Democrats—almost exactly Bush’s popular-vote margin over Kerry. When the new Congress convenes in January, its fifty-five Republicans will be there on account of the votes of 57.6 million people, while the forty-four Democrats and one independent will be there on account of the votes of 59.6 million people. As for the House, it is much harder to aggregate vote totals meaningfully, because so many seats are uncontested. But the Republicans’ gain of four seats was due entirely to Tom DeLay’s precedent-breaking re-gerrymandering of the Texas district lines.

Also more on gerrymandering from the WSJ's Gerry-Rigged

By JOHN STEELE GORDON

Gerrymandering is a pervasive and peculiarly American perversion of democracy where legislative district lines are drawn to ensure the victory of one party's candidate.

It effectively disenfranchises millions of voters by dumping them in districts where the results are foregone conclusions. It makes incumbents arrogant and unresponsive because they do not need to fear the voters. And it polarizes American politics because the important elections tend to be primaries, where the party bases rule rather than the less politically motivated middle.

When the Democratic Party was the majority party, gerrymandering tended to work in its favor. But now it works against them, as Tom DeLay demonstrated all too clearly this year in Texas, when a gerrymander allowed the Republicans to pick up six seats in the House.

This report from CNN on MAPS(yes more maps), bears the New Yorker out:

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