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#4527 Jan 11 2018 at 10:35 AM Rating: Excellent
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Gbaji has a funny habit of insisting that no one has ever proposed fixes to an issue therefore no potential fixes must exist or advocates are being disingenuous. Then, the next time the issue comes up, he conveniently forgets anything told to him from the last time and again insists that no one ever proposed anything, hence he must be correct.

In reality, non-partisan redistricting commissions and use of analytic software to create evenly distributed districts are two commonly proposed solutions.
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#4528 Jan 11 2018 at 7:47 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Who gets to decide what is "fair"?
Federal judges.


Federal judges are remarkably inconsistent and unfair in not just their rulings, but in the selections of what rulings come before them in the first place (that's not necessarily the judges fault directly though, but I think it's valid to point out the whole process). A "fair" system would ensure that rejecting a redistricting in say North Carolina would be consistent with the decision to *not* reject a previous redistricting in say Maryland. That is clearly not the case though.

Federal judges rule on the case in front of them. The process by which cases may or may not arrive before them in the first place, and the basic fact that you can't unsqueeze the toothpaste out of the tube means that unfairness is inherent in this sort of case. While some rulings are general enough to affect laws nationwide, a case like this is specific to this one effort and doesn't affect previous non-rejected, but possibly far far more egregious case. While this one federal judges ruling may have an effect on future determinations regarding redistricting, it has no power to go back in time and prevent previous redistricting efforts.

Which, given that the pendulum for this sort of thing was swung in favor of the Dems for quite a number of decades and is only in the last decade or so swinging to favor the GOP means such a ruling is inherently unfair and partisan. It allows previously gerrymandered district maps to remain, while preventing the GOP from doing the same exact thing, and may even make it harder for them to simply undo the previous gerrymandering. I could totally see a judge ruling that removing an existing gerrymandered district map to one that isn't would remove the advantage that was there for decades for the Democrats, which would also count as "redrawing districts to gain a political advantage for your party".

Silly? Yeah. I've seen sillier rulings by federal judges though.
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#4529 Jan 11 2018 at 8:04 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
If there's a better and more "fair" way of doing this, then propose it.
Proportional Representation.


I've addressed proportional representation in the past (think we had a huge discussion about stuff like this after the election). The problem is that you lose actual direct representation when you do this. Well, to do it in a way that actually ensures proportionality. Also, I don't know if proportional is actually a thing to strive for. How do you measure this? Not everyone who vote "for a party" votes "for that party's representative". You might love the overall political positions of a party, but hate a specific candidate running, for example.

IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.

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In lieu of that something that approximates it. If we're stuck with districts the distribution of representatives should be roughly proportional. So if your state has 10 districts and about 60% of the people voting for representatives in the last election voted Republican, you should end up with about 6 Republican representatives and 4 Democrats.


If everyone voted lockstep with political parties. If each person running was a generic cookie cutter copy of their political party norm. If everyone voted in every election. Probably a half dozen other reasons exist which can affect the relative ratio of representation in congress by political party, and creative district maps is only one of them.

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Or there's that metric that's in front of the Supreme Court. (Remembering back to the discussion elsewhere here) It looks at the distribution of wasted votes and tries to keep them under a certain threshold to ensure more parity and competitive districts (which makes the moderate part of me happy).


The problem with measuring "wasted votes" is that no votes are ever actually "wasted". All votes count because we operate in a system where we don't know the outcome until the votes are counted. I think I brought this up in that same previous discussion. You can't know which votes for a winning candidate past the number needed were "used" versus "wasted". You also can't know how artificially affecting the voter count might affect the result. For example, if I know my party is in the minority in my district (due to gerrymandering even!), I might decide not to bother voting because I think my vote wont sway the result. We can reasonably assume that many potential voters might decide to do this. Which in turn may exaggerate the actual ratio of voters in that district in favor of the majority party.

If we're determining whether a district is gerrymandered based on past voter turnout and party voting, we're not really getting an accurate number. Adjusting that number, even a small amount may tip things much more than we think. At the end of the day, we can lament political parties doing what they can within the context of the power they have that was given to them by the voters (which includes redistricting power), but to decide that's unfair and replace it with some arbitrary system that may be just as unfair, but over which the voters have *zero* influence is worse.


Perception is rarely exactly the same as reality. And I think this goes double for politics. Best to let political processes handle this than trying to create "fair" rules. You're probably just going to make things worse.
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#4530 Jan 11 2018 at 8:59 PM Rating: Good
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Gbaji wrote:
It's always going to happen. It's pretty much unavoidable.

It's entirely avoidable.

We already have methodologies that can impartially divide districts within the current system. We just choose not to use them.

There's also the fact the the electoral college is a terrible system that arose out of a historical and compromise to a temporary problem and has no utility in beyond that.
Gbaji wrote:
If there's a better and more "fair" way of doing this, then propose it.

I have. Other people have. The proposals are rejected, and not based on merit, but because the current system favors the GOP and so any move toward fairness would reduce their advantage.
Gbaji wrote:
but that's because over the last couple decades, the GOP has made huge gains in state legislatures, giving them more power to do this. Go back 50--60 years, and it was the Dems who Gerrymandered, and didn't seem to mind at all that it was "unfair".

A couple of decades ago I was 10. 50-60 years ago the Democrats were the conservative party. What bearing does any of this have on the current issue?

If it was wrong for Democrats to do so a half century ago, then you are admitting the system is flawed, and the only reason you could support it now is because you want to reap the gains of what you acknowledge is a broken system.
#4531 Jan 11 2018 at 9:10 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
Gbaji has a funny habit of insisting that no one has ever proposed fixes to an issue therefore no potential fixes must exist or advocates are being disingenuous.


I didn't say no one has "ever" proposed fixes to the issue. I said that the person posting right now in this thread, this time, did not.

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Then, the next time the issue comes up, he conveniently forgets anything told to him from the last time and again insists that no one ever proposed anything, hence he must be correct.


Or... The person posting that some status quo thing is "bad" is conveniently forgetting that we've already discussed alternatives and at the very least, not everyone agrees on what form an alternative should take, or even if there is a better alternative. Thus, just declaring something "bad" over and over isn't a useful thing to do.

It's like the kid at school who comments about how bad the meatloaf is every single time it's meatloaf day at the cafeteria, seemingly unaware that he says this every single time, and every single time there's some discussion of how his opinion of the meatloaf isn't shared by everyone, how other people think other items on the menu (or alternative foods that he really loves) are as bad or worse than meatloaf, how he isn't a unique snowflake in terms of food likes and dislikes, and thus why it keeps coming back regularly.

Yeah. Pretty much like that.

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In reality, non-partisan redistricting commissions and use of analytic software to create evenly distributed districts are two commonly proposed solutions.


I'd replace "reality" with "fantasy" though. I get that liberals are obsessed with the idea that if we just put the right really smart people in a room, they can come up with perfect solutions to all problems, but the real world generally doesn't work that way. Amusingly, you guys are often completely shocked when your "brilliant" solutions perform worse than the super messy, ugly, unfair, and usually quite adversarial processes you think need to be replaced.

There's no such thing as "non-partisan". That's problem number one. We've seen this in California, where the "non-partisan commission" in charge of redistricting, just happened to redistrict things in such a way as to give the Democrats even more seats and a bigger majority in representation than they already had.

Analytic software, while it sounds great, is massively subject to the GIGO effect. And, as I pointed out earlier, relying on past election numbers is not necessarily going to give you "evenly distributed districts". I'll also point out that evenly distributed districts isn't a goal, much less a "fair" goal. If you have a state where historically 60% of the voters vote Democrat and 40% vote Republican, if you actually evenly distributed those voters, instead of 40% of the districts going GOP and 60% going Dem, you'd get 100% of the districts going Dem becuase they'd win 60% of the votes in all districts.

The actual claimed objective is to create more "competitive" districts. Um... But that's misleading as well, and it's unclear how you accomplish that without basically picking and choosing which districts are going to be "safe", and which are not. And since that's baked in, there's certainly going to be a whole lot of very subjective, and not at all computer generated influence over which districts are which.

IMO, we're faced with a choice of ugly messy partisan system we know, versus ugly messy partisan system we don't. I'm not seeing anything that would convince me any alternative would be better. It's not a choice between "bad system" and "not-bad system". It's a choice between "non-perfect system number 1", and "non-perfect systems 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...".
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#4532 Jan 11 2018 at 9:26 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
I've addressed proportional representation in the past (think we had a huge discussion about stuff like this after the election). The problem is that you lose actual direct representation when you do this. Well, to do it in a way that actually ensures proportionality. Also, I don't know if proportional is actually a thing to strive for. How do you measure this? Not everyone who vote "for a party" votes "for that party's representative". You might love the overall political positions of a party, but hate a specific candidate running, for example.

IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.

We have discussed this before, and I was quite frustrated for the same reason I am now.

The problems you bring up are not problems for proportionality. They aren't my concerns, but if we wanted to retain a system that mimics the geographical representation we have now while being more proportional, that's entirely doable.

The current system awards a state (p/P)*N+2=n votes where:
p is the population of a state
P is the population of the U.S.
n is the number of electoral votes or federal representatives a state has
N is the number of electoral votes or federal representatives the U.S. has

We can fix by removing the entire arbitrary +2 at the end so that states are awarded (p/P)*N=n representatives and electoral votes.

Nothing changes about the geographic nature of representation, but now someone in Wyoming doesn't have 4 times as many votes as you or I.

There are other solutions that may be more preferable to you, but I wanted to demonstrate one exists which solves the proportionality problem while meeting your constraints.
gbaji wrote:
The problem with measuring "wasted votes" is that no votes are ever actually "wasted".

I don't believe you were present during the thread or at least the entirety of the discussion, but Demea and I discussed this to some length.

There are wasted votes in a first past the post system. This is a thing. A wasted vote isn't about probability, it's about how many votes can be removed from each party where, independent of the decision to vote of other parties, results are necessarily unaffected.

Votes cast in excess of the number needed to win are wasted because those votes do not affect the result (certainty of result is not what wasted votes as a term is addressing). If you win with 51% of the votes your candidate it's the as if your candidate wins with 100% of the votes. They don't functionally have any more power than before. They might have an implicit mandate, but they do not have an explicit mandate. Likewise, votes for losing candidates in a first past the post system are wasted because there is no difference between voting for a loser and not voting.
#4533 Jan 11 2018 at 9:34 PM Rating: Decent
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Allegory wrote:
We already have methodologies that can impartially divide districts within the current system. We just choose not to use them.


No we don't. Or, more correctly, there are no truly impartial methods that don't actually make things worse. And even the most impartial methods still require someone (or a group of someone's) to decide what criteria are used for the "impartial" calculation. What do we strive for? What data do we use to do this? How do we weight the data to achieve the desired result? Heck. Is the desired result itself "impartial"?

Do we strive for balanced districts, each containing a ratio of party voters equal to the state ratio? That's not going to be "fair" at all, right? Or do we strive for a balance of districts won by party voter ratio? How do we do this? It's easy to say "there are impartial methodologies which can do this". It's a lot harder to present one and defend it.

Every solution has flaws. Every solution is vulnerable to partisan manipulation. Pick your poison.

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There's also the fact the the electoral college is a terrible system that arose out of a historical and compromise to a temporary problem and has no utility in beyond that.


yadda yadda... whatever. So you hate meatloaf. Got it.

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Gbaji wrote:
If there's a better and more "fair" way of doing this, then propose it.

I have. Other people have.


And I , and "other people" have discussed the flaws in those proposals.

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The proposals are rejected, and not based on merit, but because the current system favors the GOP and so any move toward fairness would reduce their advantage.


You're kidding, right? My opposition to the proposals has nothing at all to do with which party benefits under the current system. It's based on an observation that any replacement will be just as subject to majority party manipulation/influence as the current system is. The difference is that the current system is pretty above board. You can see the district map, see that it's shaped to benefit a given party, and everyone knows what's going on and knows that the "solution" is to fight to win votes, change voters minds, shift party power, and move the pendulum in the other direction someday.

The alternatives claim to be non-partisan, but really just hide the partisan influence. And often make it harder to reverse in the future. We can beat ourselves up over this, but the reality is that when a party wins a majority they gain power to influence things. That's part of the process. As long as their are pendulum shifts over time, demographic changes, opinion changes, etc, then it's not really a problem. The potential for long term unfairness is adopting a system that is claimed to be "fair", but has some innate bias in it, that isn't easily seen, and can't easily be corrected. IMO, that's a far far bigger problem.

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A couple of decades ago I was 10. 50-60 years ago the Democrats were the conservative party. What bearing does any of this have on the current issue?


I'm reasonably certain that a good portion of your opposition to "unfair" district maps has been influenced by statements made by people who are much older than you, and who were in turn influenced by the generation before them. You don't exist in a vacuum. None of us do. If the pendulum were not swinging in the other direction, you would likely not be opposed to gerrymandering, because all of the people you respect in politics would be downplaying it as a negative.

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If it was wrong for Democrats to do so a half century ago, then you are admitting the system is flawed, and the only reason you could support it now is because you want to reap the gains of what you acknowledge is a broken system.


How convenient for you that you weren't around back then, right? If you were, do you think you'd have the same opinion that you do now? That's how this has bearing.

Admitting something is flawed is not the same as believing something else is better. That was somewhat the point I was trying to make earlier. Just declaring something to be flawed isn't enough. And no, you saying "lots of alternatives have been presented" isn't sufficient. Pick one and argue for it. I have examined and discussed this issue for much longer than I've been posting on this forum, and even back when my party was nationally at a disadvantage because of it and right now when my party is at a disadvantage in my home state, I have consistently concluded that while giving the majority party in a state the power to draw the district lines is innately partisan and gives them an additional advantage towards holding their power in the state and increasing their representation in congress, no alternative I've examined is better. They are "different", but not better.

You're free to disagree, but your disagreement isn't worth much if you're unwilling to actually pick a single "best" solution and argue for it, and defend it against counter argument. And no, this didn't happen the last time we had this discussion, or the time before that, or the time before that. Plenty of people mention an alternative and declare it "better" or "more fair" or whatever, but rarely ever go past a basic surface evaluation of those alternatives, much less actually address any counters to them. What they do, however, is insist the next time that "there are tons of better alternatives", while, once again, refusing to discuss them much beyond just rattling off a name, or pointing to a pro-<alternative> web site somewhere.
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#4534 Jan 11 2018 at 9:39 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Analytic software, while it sounds great, is massively subject to the GIGO effect. And, as I pointed out earlier, relying on past election numbers is not necessarily going to give you "evenly distributed districts". I'll also point out that evenly distributed districts isn't a goal, much less a "fair" goal. If you have a state where historically 60% of the voters vote Democrat and 40% vote Republican, if you actually evenly distributed those voters, instead of 40% of the districts going GOP and 60% going Dem, you'd get 100% of the districts going Dem becuase they'd win 60% of the votes in all districts.

That's not really how it works, but whatever. You don't design it to create districts based on partisan outcomes, you design it to create compact blocks based on simple populations. If you have a state of six million people then you create ten districts based on the people from the N/S edges being approximately as far from the district seat as the people from the E/W edges. If you want to create several potential maps and then pick the one with the best proportional representation then cool but the goal is to neatly block out the state rather than drawing puzzle pieces based on partisan desires. Here's an example. I'm not actually interested in defending the details in this example since it's for illustration rather than saying "This is the definitive answer" and you can easily find other websites offering different solutions using the same general intent.
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You're free to disagree, but your disagreement isn't worth much if you're unwilling to actually pick a single "best" solution and argue for it, and defend it against counter argument.

Asylum-Muppets-Serious.jpg

Edited, Jan 11th 2018 9:41pm by Jophiel
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#4535 Jan 11 2018 at 9:46 PM Rating: Decent
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Quote:
Allegory wrote:
IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.

We have discussed this before, and I was quite frustrated for the same reason I am now.


Yeah. Me to. Cause it's like you're not reading what I write or something.

Quote:
The problems you bring up are not problems for proportionality. They aren't my concerns, but if we wanted to retain a system that mimics the geographical representation we have now while being more proportional, that's entirely doable.


But they are my concerns. The fact that any truly proportional system actually reduces the amount of power voters have to choose the exact person who represents them is massively signifciant to me. And it should be to you. The fact that this doesn't concern you might just be an indication that you aren't examining all parts of the issue, or are just ignoring things that are quite important to others.

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The current system awards a state (p/P)*N+2=n votes where:
p is the population of a state
P is the population of the U.S.
n is the number of electoral votes or federal representatives a state has
N is the number of electoral votes or federal representatives the U.S. has

We can fix by removing the entire arbitrary +2 at the end so that states are awarded (p/P)*N=n representatives and electoral votes.


First off, this is about EC, not congress (unless you actually plan to eliminate the US Senate). It's not relevant to gerrymandering at all, since EC votes (except in two states, where it has very very little effect) are not afffected by gerrymandering. The EC delegation is based on a winner takes all of all the voters in a state.

To create proportional representation in this case would objectively make things worse, and would increase the value of gerrymandering. Again though, if we were actually discussing the Electoral College, and not House representation.

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Nothing changes about the geographic nature of representation, but now someone in Wyoming doesn't have 4 times as many votes as you or I.


They don't. You're talking about the wrong thing, but again the point is that each state has representation in congress (and in the EC) as a state. The voters don't have more votes. You're free to disagree with this, but simply stating the facts over and over doesn't make them a problem. I don't think that giving each state the +2 is bad. i happen go think it's a good thing. So saying we can fix the "problem" by eliminating it is a failed argument because I don't agree that it's a problem at all

Again. If we were talking about the EC. Which we are not (or at least, I'm not).


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There are wasted votes in a first past the post system. This is a thing. A wasted vote isn't about probability, it's about how many votes can be removed from each party where, independent of the decision to vote of other parties, results are necessarily unaffected.


Which is an example of hypothetical math that doesn't exists in the real world. Since we don't know how many votes are "past the post" until after the votes are counted, we can't retroactively go back in time and remove them (except in a theoretical discussion). They aren't wasted, in exactly the same way that a team scoring one more touchdown than was needed to win didn't wast their time and effort. When that running back made that great scramble to score, he didn't know that the points would not be needed. He didn't know that the other team wouldn't rally and come back in the last minutes of the game. And in fact, the fact that he scored that extra touchdown might actually have influenced the actions of the other team, forcing them to take riskier actions which actually decreased their chances of scoring, such that if they were just down by 3 points they might have tied, or even won, but being down by 10, they risked it all and scored nothing.

You're assuming a case of perfect data knowledge. But that doesn't exist for the voters when they are voting.

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Votes cast in excess of the number needed to win are wasted because those votes do not affect the result (certainty of result is not what wasted votes as a term is addressing). If you win with 51% of the votes your candidate it's the as if your candidate wins with 100% of the votes. They don't functionally have any more power than before. They might have an implicit mandate, but they do not have an explicit mandate. Likewise, votes for losing candidates in a first past the post system are wasted because there is no difference between voting for a loser and not voting.


Again. We don't know that until after the fact. That's super significant.

Edited, Jan 11th 2018 7:47pm by gbaji
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#4536 Jan 12 2018 at 12:37 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
just declaring something "bad" over and over isn't a useful thing to do.
Knowing full well something is "bad" and doing nothing to change it is at least as bad, and arguably worse.


"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing" - John F Kennedy, et al
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#4537 Jan 12 2018 at 6:51 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
You might love the overall political positions of a party, but hate a specific candidate running, for example.
The last Presidential Election being the greatest example ever as it was represented by both candidates.
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#4538 Jan 12 2018 at 8:22 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Federal judges are remarkably inconsistent and unfair in not just their rulings, but in the selections of what rulings come before them in the first place (that's not necessarily the judges fault directly though, but I think it's valid to point out the whole process).
Weird how they seem to only be inconsistent and unfair when they rule against your political party.
gbaji wrote:
Thus, just declaring something "bad" over and over isn't a useful thing to do.
Yet you believe declaring things that don't go your way "unfair" over and over again is useful. Mysteries of the universe, that.
gbaji wrote:
It's like the kid at school who comments about how bad the meatloaf is every single time it's meatloaf day at the cafeteria, seemingly unaware that he says this every single time, and every single time there's some discussion of how his opinion of the meatloaf isn't shared by everyone, how other people think other items on the menu (or alternative foods that he really loves) are as bad or worse than meatloaf, how he isn't a unique snowflake in terms of food likes and dislikes, and thus why it keeps coming back regularly.
We keep pointing it out to you "the kid", yet you "the kid" keeps doing it. You "The kid" sure does like beating on that dead one trick pony.

Is that the part of your clockwork cycle that you lose all self-awareness and just repeat things you've heard before?
gbaji wrote:
I'd replace "reality" with "fantasy" though.
Heh. Infinite monkeys at infinite typewriters.
Uglysasquatch wrote:
The last Presidential Election being the greatest example ever as it was represented by both candidates.
You have to admit it is kind of fun watching all the people that went out of their way to tell us how much they personally hated a specific candidate are now going out of their way to pretend he's now, and has always been, the best thing since liquefied bread.

Edited, Jan 12th 2018 9:37am by lolgaxe
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#4539 Jan 12 2018 at 10:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Also, I don't know if proportional is actually a thing to strive for. How do you measure this? Not everyone who vote "for a party" votes "for that party's representative". You might love the overall political positions of a party, but hate a specific candidate running, for example.
You vote directly for a party instead of for an individual. Diversity of ideas is preserved by making it easier for alternate political parties to meet the threshold of representation, as getting 5%-10% of the vote would be enough to get you a seat at the table.

gbaji wrote:
IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.
I think this would be a stronger point if there were stricter requirements on residency. Once you get people like the Clintons hopping from Arkansas to New York the idea of someone who understands the area and the people representing their will in congress is seriously weakened.

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For example, if I know my party is in the minority in my district (due to gerrymandering even!), I might decide not to bother voting because I think my vote wont sway the result. We can reasonably assume that many potential voters might decide to do this. Which in turn may exaggerate the actual ratio of voters in that district in favor of the majority party.
Well you could always make voting mandatory like they done in places like Australia, Brazil, etc. The fact that the maps would also get redrawn "to be more fair" would be a factor too. A disenfranchised voter could ensured that their vote was meaningful because it would be a piece of information used to rewrite the maps to better represent them in the next election.

gbaji wrote:
some arbitrary system that may be just as unfair, but over which the voters have *zero* influence is worse.
I'd argue that redistricting on an algorithm would be giving the voters more influence, as you could likely predict the influence of the vote on the district boundary, whereas there's less ability to directly effect the process through representation.

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Best to let political processes handle this than trying to create "fair" rules. You're probably just going to make things worse.
I'd imagine George III would have appreciated your insight.

Edited, Jan 12th 2018 9:06am by someproteinguy
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#4540 Jan 12 2018 at 1:32 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
Once you get people like the Clintons hopping from Arkansas to New York the idea of someone who understands the area and the people representing their will in congress is seriously weakened.
You'll never know the amusement of the look on their faces when they're asked which baseball team they like most.
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#4541 Jan 12 2018 at 2:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
the best thing since liquefied bread.


Can't you just call it beer, like the rest of us? You Elite New York Intellectual liberal harpy!
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#4542 Jan 12 2018 at 5:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
just declaring something "bad" over and over isn't a useful thing to do.
Knowing full well something is "bad" and doing nothing to change it is at least as bad, and arguably worse.


I never said "do nothing". I said "do something, but only if that something is better than the status quo". My issue is with people merely declaring something "bad", and using that as an argument to do "anything" else, which often result in something that is worse than the initial bad thing we started with. Leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.

Quote:
"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing" - John F Kennedy, et al


made up but historically relevant quote wrote:
The easiest way for Evil to triumph is to convince good men of the desperate need to do "something" without checking the fine print. - Adolph Hitler, et al.


Too much?
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King Nobby wrote:
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#4543 Jan 12 2018 at 7:55 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
Weird how they seem to only be inconsistent and unfair when they rule against your political party.


You call that weird. I call it a pattern. At the end of the day though, the best evidence that the federal judicial system is not a fair and consistent means to deal with gerrymandering is to examine the difference in rulings in MD versus NC on what is presumably the same issue. Well, except that the MD redistricting is much much more blatantly gerrymandering, while the NC redistricting is far less so, which only makes the variation in the rulings that much more "interesting".

If we accept even the possibility that a judge might be influenced by their own personal political ideology when ruling, then it's not hard to see why liberal judges, whose ideology includes (and even actively promotes) the concept of actively using government power to push forward with various social, economic, and political agendas will tend to rule in "unfair" ways far more often than conservative judges, whose ideology rejects that use of federal power. If a liberal and a conservative judge both hear a case involving unfair redistricting which benefits the Democrats, both will likely rule that the power to redistrict belongs at the state, and the state sets the rules for how it's done, and if those rules say that the party power draws the map, then it's no business of the federal government to say no. But if those same two judges were to hear a case where the redistricting benefits the GOP, the conservative judge will rule the same way, but there's a decent chance that the liberal judge will rule that the redistricting is unfair and/or unconstitutional. Because in his mind, it's part of his job to help push forward the liberal political agenda and district lines which disenfranchise liberal voters makes that harder and must be stopped.

But that's just tin foil hat stuff, right? Funny how often "activist judges" are liberal aligned though.

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#4544 Jan 12 2018 at 8:15 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Funny how often "activist judges" are liberal aligned though.

Um, what's funny about it? It's a boogeyman term made up by conservatives to demonize judges making decisions they don't like. Of course everyone you slap the term on is going to be "liberal" or else you wouldn't be rushing to discredit them with catch-phrases.
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#4545 Jan 12 2018 at 8:42 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
You vote directly for a party instead of for an individual. Diversity of ideas is preserved by making it easier for alternate political parties to meet the threshold of representation, as getting 5%-10% of the vote would be enough to get you a seat at the table.


Huh? Remember, we're talking about gerrymandering, which only affects the makeup of the House of Representatives. If I understand you correctly, you're arguing that people should simply vote for a party nationwide, and then all the votes for each party are counted up, and then seats divvied up in proportion to the percentage of total votes each party got? Is that it?

This falls directly into the points I was making though. I no longer have any power to choose the person who represents me. Each party simply wins a number of seats. Presumably the party then decides who fills which of the seats they won. Worse, we can't map those seats to any single geographical region. Presumably, in your example of some minor party winning 5%-10% of the total votes nationwide, that same party probably didn't win anything remotely close to a plurality in any single congressional district. So where do they sit? Who do they represent? They just get assigned a seat somehow? Who makes that decision? And how is that fair to the district who gets to be represented by the guy from a political party that garnered .8% of the total nationwide votes, and that's just enough for one seat, and your district got "chosen" to be represented by said tool.

You'd effectively disconnect the concept of each seat representing a single specific geographical area, in favor of just handing political power to political parties in proportion to their total national votes. That's a massive power grab by the political parties and loss of representation by the people. It's a terrible terrible idea. As I said in the previous conversation we had on this subject. Even if my district rep isn't in my party, he still represents me. I can write to him, ask him to do things, petition him, etc. And since I'm part of a smallish number of people who get to vote for his re-election (and no one else in the nation does), he's going to listen to me far far more than a guy who was selected to fill one of the X number of seats his party won in the last election. His ability to retain power has no relevance to how happy he's making any specific voters, but how happy he's making the party leaders. Presumably, if a party loses some number of seats, they're going to pick who no longer gets to vote in the House, right? Guess who they're going to pick? The folks who don't "play ball" sufficiently for them.

That's about as horrible a "solution" to a problem that isn't much of a problem that I could think of. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, in which case you should really clarify things. Because I simply don't see how your idea can possible work. Well, it'll "work", but not do what I think you think it'll do.

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gbaji wrote:
IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.
I think this would be a stronger point if there were stricter requirements on residency. Once you get people like the Clintons hopping from Arkansas to New York the idea of someone who understands the area and the people representing their will in congress is seriously weakened.


But your solution is worse. Even if the representative was air lifted into the district in order to run, he's still tied politically to that district. His re-election is based purely on people voting in that district. So he's got to do well representing the people of that district. If you do proportional party based voting, I have no power to vote someone out who I think is doing a poor job, and really don't have anyone representing me at all. My representative's political future isn't based on how well he represents my district, but how well the party does at getting votes nationwide, and how well the national party likes him. That's it.

It's like you're pointing out flaws in the current system and actively trying to come up with alternatives that make things worse. I don't see the virtue in what you're trying to do here. Perfect proportional representation by party nationwide isn't that important. Ensuring that each voter has direct representation is. It's specifically what the House of Representatives is supposed to do. Your "solution" breaks that. Badly.


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Well you could always make voting mandatory like they done in places like Australia, Brazil, etc. The fact that the maps would also get redrawn "to be more fair" would be a factor too. A disenfranchised voter could ensured that their vote was meaningful because it would be a piece of information used to rewrite the maps to better represent them in the next election.


You can force people to physically vote. You can't force them to educate themselves on the issues, or do any more than just randomly fill in the fields until they are done. You're not really fixing anything here, just adding a lot more static into the process. Ironically, mandatory voting would likely make any sort of "fair" redistricting more difficult, since the ability to predict how any given ratio of voters in any given geographical area will vote becomes less accurate, not more. So now you're replacing "wasted votes" with "meaningless votes".

And, assuming we already have a percentage of voters who are under informed and thus likely to vote based on who they "feel" about an issue, you've just increased that number significantly. Which means voting becomes less about good ideas and policies, and more about political advertising. Interestingly, this has a similar effect to your proportional voting idea above. It gives more power to the parties and less to the people. Because now, the educated voters votes are washed out by a wave of uneducated voters who are likely just being manipulated by the latest flash in the pan that attracted their attention. It becomes about branding, not policies. Language not results. Image and not practicality.

If you think a system that occasionally elects a populist like Trump to office is "bad", you're effectively advocating for one that will significantly increase the odds of such outcomes. It's "worse". Again, I don't see the virtue of what you are arguing for. Voter turnout is less important than whether the result of an election is political representation that accurately reflects what the voters want within the confines of "good governing". Having a right to vote doesn't mean you must vote. That's not how rights work.

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I'd argue that redistricting on an algorithm would be giving the voters more influence, as you could likely predict the influence of the vote on the district boundary, whereas there's less ability to directly effect the process through representation.


How? Saying it will have that effect doesn't mean it will. Why do you think this would be the case? It's a circular argument IMO. Accurately drawing maps to do what you're trying to do first requires accurately predicting how the population in a given area will vote in future elections. If you could accurately do that, then why bother with voting at all? If you actually succeed, then you don't need to hold elections anymore. Just apply the algorithm, predict how the population in a given area will vote, and just assume they did vote that way, right?

The mere fact of bothering to go through the time and trouble of having people vote is based on the assumption that we can't always accurately predict this. I'd argue that we can almost never accurately predict this. Certainly not for more than a small percentage of things being voted on, and not within the granularity restrictions of a single district map redrawn once every 10 years. Population mobility alone ensures we can't do this. Unless your next proposal is to mandate that people can't move districts? Or maybe that people are represented by the same person within the same pool of voters regardless of where they live? I can think of a lot of ways to do what you want to do, but all of them are far far worse than the effects of even the worse examples of gerrymandering.

Bath water and babies, right?

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Best to let political processes handle this than trying to create "fair" rules. You're probably just going to make things worse.
I'd imagine George III would have appreciated your insight.


And yet, ironically, your proposed proportional representation is a heck of a lot like the form of representation that the colonists had back then, which they hated, and which they rose up in rebellion over (and some other things as well, of course). The issue with "taxation without representation" wasn't that they didn't have representation at all, but that their representation in Parliament was made up of politicians in England who "represented" various colonies, but didn't live there, and were often granted that power in return for political quid pro quo (which often actively disadvantaged the actual colonists they were supposedly representing).

Just like we'd have if we just voted nationally and the parties got to seat people in the House based on percentage of votes won. You'd be "represented" by someone who had absolutely no need to ensure that your needs were addressed at all. More or less exactly like the folks in London who "represented" the colonies.

Edited, Jan 12th 2018 6:46pm by gbaji
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#4546 Jan 12 2018 at 9:18 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Funny how often "activist judges" are liberal aligned though.

Um, what's funny about it? It's a boogeyman term made up by conservatives to demonize judges making decisions they don't like. Of course everyone you slap the term on is going to be "liberal" or else you wouldn't be rushing to discredit them with catch-phrases.


In a scenario where there's one side arguing that the government should mandate that everyone wear green hats, and the other side arguing that they should mandate that everyone wear purple hats then which side "wins" is about one getting what they wanted and the other not. But that's not the same as one side arguing that the government should mandate that everyone must wear green hats and the other side arguing that the government should not be mandating the color hats people should wear. In that case, it's not about my side "winning or losing". We all lose when the first side "wins". Because it's not really about what color hats we all wear, but whether we have the freedom to make that choice ourselves. That's the real difference between left and right in this country, no mater how much you guys keep arguing that it's about the color of the hats (well, the analog to that, of course).

Activist judges put the objective of which color hats people wear ahead of the right to choose that for yourself, and pat themselves on the back for having chosen "the right color hat". Consistently. And yes, this is consistently done by the left exactly because it's the left's political ideology that allows for such government mandates. Heck, even going so far as to argue that the absence of such mandates is a violation of rights.

it's not a boogieman Joph. It happens consistently when the Left has enough numbers in the court system to do so. And it's not about whether the outcome of the case is what I want or don't want, but whether the process of arriving at that decision is consistent with constitutional requirements. Amusingly enough, liberals tend to be so obsessed with the "green vs purple" side of things, that they do label things as judicial activism purely based on whether it benefits "their side" or not. We on the Right do not do this. We're perfectly ok with criticizing rulings that benefit us if they are also arrived at via the wrong reasons. Um... Except this very very rarely happens, for the reasons I've argued above. Liberals tend towards this because they believe that implementing a progressive agenda is a proper use of government power. Conservatives don't just believe the opposite and therefore support government power when used to implement a conservative agenda though. That would be "green vs purple" thinking. We oppose that government power regardless of which "side" it benefits.

Your very concept of what judicial activism is is biased by the very thing that creates judicial activism. Which is why its so hard for you to see it. You seem to actually think that the objective here is to stack the courts with judges that will rule in favor of "your side". On the right, we want the courts to be stacked with judges that don't rule for any side and don't take the political alignment into account at all. The only thing the Left loses when the Right controls the courts is the ability to use government power to push their agenda. Absence of abusive power isn't a bad thing IMO. But then, I'm a silly conservative who believes in things like limited government power.
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#4547 Jan 12 2018 at 9:54 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
it's not a boogieman Joph.

Nah, it is. Even if you say "You can't see it because you're so liberal OMGOHNOES!!!!"

What's funny is that you honestly thought you had a good point by saying "How come this scary term we made up for people we don't like is only applied to people we don't like? Hhhmmmm?"
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#4548 Jan 13 2018 at 1:12 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
We're perfectly ok with criticizing rulings that benefit us if they are also arrived at via the wrong reasons.
Give 3 examples. I'll wait.
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#4549 Jan 13 2018 at 1:39 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
You call it weird. I call it a pattern.
Okay, it's a pattern how they seem to only be inconsistent and unfair when they rule against your political party?
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#4550 Jan 15 2018 at 8:16 PM Rating: Excellent
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Friar Bijou wrote:



"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing" - John F Kennedy, et al


John Stuart Mill, though often attributed to Edmund Burke.
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In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

#4551 Jan 15 2018 at 8:17 PM Rating: Excellent
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Also, happy holidays and stuff! How's 2018 treating everyone?
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