PA Republicans Win Redistricting Game
The GOP won a lopsided majority of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats despite the fact that Democrats won more votes for Congress here.
2,701,820 Pennsylvanians voted for a Democrat for Congress compared to 2,626,995 who voted for a Republican, according to a tally from the Philadelphia Weekly.
Despite that, Republicans now hold an impressive 13 of Pa.’s 18 congressional seats. The pièce de résistance was the 12th district, where the GOP picked up the seat of Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria). Meanwhile, all 4 semi-serious Democratic challenges to Pa. Republican incumbents fizzled.
“Elections have consequences,” President Obama said. The map is a consequence of the 2010 elections, when the GOP swept into both Pa. legislative chambers.
The congressional map was drawn by Republican staffers based almost entirely on input from GOP members of the delegation.
But the map passed the state House with ease, 136 to 61. 36 Democrats joined the GOP to pass the new lines. Why? In part because Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Allegheny), Bob Brady (D-Phila), and Mike Doyle (D-Allegheny) lobbied them to. The map shored up those incumbents against potential primary challenges (at least Altmire thought).
The Pa. Senate passed the map mostly on party lines, with a few Republicans defecting.
Republicans made similar moves in Ohio; Democrats did the exact same thing in Illinois and
The real problem posed by gerrymandering is not that it helps or hurts Democrats or Republicans, it’s that it foments ideological extremism. If a district is uncompetitive in the general, members must instead look over their shoulders and vote so as to avoid a primary challenge.