Another Look At The 'Mandate' New Yorker
In Thursdays Times, a front-page news analysis argued that "it is impossible to read President Bushs reëlection with larger Republican majorities in both houses of Congress as anything other than the clearest confirmation yet that this is a center-right countrydivided 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 Democratsalmost exactly Bushs 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 DeLays 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: