Thursday Open Thread

“When all else fails there’s always delusion.”

–Conan O’Brien

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from "What if you gerrymandered to optimize competitive districts?"

    The five thirty eight Redistricting Atlas is great fun, and illustrates how gerrymandering algorithms make it so easy to radically shift control of the US House. It also lays waste to the SCOTUS argument that you can't come up with a measure of partisan gerrymandering.

    I think even the Supreme Court will come around to restricting partisan redistricting because it makes no sense for the party in power to have the ability to solidify their power. 

    One way to encourage that to happen, would be for a gerrymandering nuclear arms race: If all the Democratic controlled states gerrymandered in the same way the North Carolina and Pennsylvania were skewed (or screwed) by the Republicans then the partisan divide would be taken to absurd lengths. 

    The SCOTUS is pretty good at finding some constitutional arguments to settle the issue. 

    • ParkHill says:

      The political dynamic in the country would really change if you gerrymandered for competitive districts, and then built the electoral college out of the winner in each district.

    • ParkHill says:

      I just came up with my own Partisan Gerrymander Measure:

      Compare present districts with maximal Democratic vs maximal Republican. This shows the degree of Partisanship in the Gerrymander. A good example would be the Texas map, where you notice that the present districts maximally favor the Republicans, i.e. they would have a hard time getting any more seats..

    • Does a maximal number of competitive districts more accurately reflect the population than the robust standards in place in Colorado combined with a prohibition against partisan gerrymandering?

      Heck – would proportional representation (if allowed by Congress) actaully be more fair when the parties get to designate which block of candidates make the proportional statewide cut?


    • RepealAndReplace says:

      P.H., thanks for posting…..

      538 has really outdone itself with this. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning playing with the new toy.

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    The Dead Enders: Candidates Who Signed Up to Battle Donald Trump Must Get Past the Democratic Party First

    That emphasis on fundraising can lead the party to make the kinds of decisions that leave ground-level activists furious. Take, for example, the case of Angie Craig, a medical device executive who ran for Congress in Minnesota’s second district in 2016 and has thrown her hat in the ring again.

    The medical device industry is huge in Minnesota, and its outsized lobbying power is felt acutely in Washington. Despite spending $4.8 million, Craig lost by 2 points. That narrow defeat, though, belied the true failure of her campaign. She was, objectively, the least inspiring candidate up and down the ballot: Craig underperformed Clinton by 4,000 votes and even underperformed Democratic state Senate and House candidates by 13,000 and 2,000 votes, respectively. In 2012, the previous presidential cycle, congressional candidate Mike Obermueller spent $710,000 for a nearly identical level of support.

    Jeff Erdmann thinks he knows why Craig lost. He was a volunteer for her in 2016, phone banking and going door to door. That spring, a voter asked him a question about Craig’s position on an issue that he couldn’t answer, so when Craig held a Q&A with the volunteers, he asked her if it was OK to direct voters to the website for an answer. “No, not really,” Erdmann recalled her saying, “because we haven’t developed our website yet because we don’t want the Republicans to know where we stand, and we haven’t seen end-of-summer polling yet.”

    Later, he said, he was phone banking and asked a supervisor what message he should tailor to the rural part of the district, since the script seemed aimed at city dwellers. “Just tell them the trailer-court story, they’re not big thinkers out there,” he said he was told, referring to Craig’s childhood in a trailer home.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      It's called "complacency," which seems to be a major hurdle for Dem candidates to overcome.

      • Duke Cox says:

        I, too, come from the trailer park socioeconomic stratum and I think, while your complacency suggestion is right on, there is more to it.

        Both comments indicate a prejudice. No less a prejudice than the one those comments decry. It indicates ignorance and bias. That's why they lost…mouth open…ears closed.

        While many people in "trailer parks" are under educated, they still can tell when they are being talked down to…and they resent it.


      • Diogenesdemar says:

        It’s de rigueur to complain, especially here, about the poor quality of inspirational, thoughtful candidates the Democrats field . . . 

        . . . but it seems to me, that one of the inherencies of this system is that, like it or not, the fact remains that an obscene amount of money is required to run, and win. 

        Yeah, the true-believers and activists can always do their chuckling (or screaming, whining — take your choice) post-mortems over the corpses of the Craigs (and, yes, Thurstons too), but, as long as we’ve got the fucked-up system of campaign finance we permit, and until the chucklers-screamers-whiners begin to be as vocal about changing that as they are about our zombie candidates/legislators, then I don’t think it’s all that smart to expect different outcomes from the same old, same old, system?

  3. Davie says:

    Hooray for Burger King!  The corporation is taking a stance in favor of Net Neutrality in a clever customer experiment illustrating how the stupid Trump policy works.

    <iframe width="705" height="397" src="; frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  4. Pseudonymous says:

    Pols has posted a Mueller diary, so enjoy this Sebastian Gorka impersonation from Chapo Trap House

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    I can’t think of anything that needs to be added to this story . . .

    Museum Told White House: No Van Gogh, but Here’s a Gold Toilet

  6. mamajama55 says:

    At least he's not your wannabe US Senator:

    Courtland Sykes, Senator Claire McCaskill's likely opponent in November, is  no fan of feminism or feminists.

    He expects  “a home-cooked dinner every night at 6” and opposes “nail-biting manophobic hell-bent feminist she-devils.”

    Rumor has it that his fundraising dinners are catered by KFC, and include an optional witch-burning.

    It's worth noting that Sykes apparently believes that these rantings will help him to defeat McCaskill – he voluntarily posted them on his facebook page.

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