The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) has an agenda. It has been costly but its goal is simple: Get more congressional seats without actually winning them. This wildly undemocratic goal has been successfully pursued in seven states: Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida, and Ohio.
As stated on the homepage for the RSLC, redistricting is an important process after a census, should the distribution of the population within a state change dramatically over the ten-year period between surveys. In this way it is ensured that people are well represented and the political playing field is leveled.
Unfortunately (or fortunately if you're a Republican House member elected in 2012) districts can be so creatively redrawn that one party is placed on the losing side of every election. This is what the RSLC had in mind with its two-step REDMAP plan. Step 1: Take over state legislatures before the decennial census. Step 2: Revamp state and Congressional districts to maintain the newly gained numerical advantage.
Let's take a look at the top seven GOP gerrymandered states of 2012:
1. North Carolina:
In North Carolina, the vote was split almost in half with 51% voting Democrat and 49% voting Republican. Assuming that the districts were representative (and not convoluted to protect a particular political party) the 13 seats would be split with six seats going to the Republicans and seven to the Democrats. Instead, there are four Democratic seats and nine Republican seats.
In Michigan the popular vote went blue: 52% voted Democrat, while 47% voted Republican. Unfortunately, the districts were so gerrymandered out of representation, that despite being on the losing side of the numbers, the Republicans took nine of the 14 seats, leaving the Democrats with five.
In Wisconsin again the numbers went Democratic: 51% to 49%, and so of course, the Republicans received five seats, and the Democrats received three.
Pennsylvania was split nearly 50-50 with the Democrats receiving 50.65% and the Republicans receiving 49.34% of the vote. So of course that balance had to be more thoroughly tilted. The Republicans took 13 seats to the Democrats five seats
In Florida the Republicans actually won the majority in the numbers game, 48% to 52%. Thus, they merited receiving nearly double the seats given to the Democrats: 17 to the Democrats ten.
Oh Ohio, how sucker-punched art thou? 53% of Ohioans voted Republican but the RLSC really won with this map: the Republicans received 12 seats to the Democrats four. That's three times the number of seats given to the Republicans for a 5% margin in voters.
Last, but not least Virginia, where the Republicans also won the numbers, 51% to 49%, but where their seats were again split with a blunt blade. The Republicans took 8 seats while the Democrats took 3.
Those are your top 7 GOP gerrymandered states of 2012: in each state districts were drawn to purposefully jam pack Democrats into certain districts that were "throw-aways" for Republicans and create Republican strongholds in areas where the race would be close. If you look at the numbers for each state, you can see those "throw-away" districts. These are areas where the Democrats had landslide wins — Democratic numbers in the hundreds of thousands and Republican numbers in the tens of thousands — versus the extra Republican-won districts where the race was often extremely close.
Both parties have gerrymandered before, but there's one party doing more, and doing it shamelessly out in the open through organizations like the RLSC. Here's hoping when the time comes to redistrict again, the Democrats will have pushed for election reforms that require the counsel of an independent commission for each state to make sure the process is kosher.