The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

March 23, 2013

GOP gerrymandering aolidifies control of House

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's 14th congressional district looks like a jagged letter "S" laying on its side.

From Detroit, one of the nation's most Democratic cities, it meanders to the west, north and east, scooping up the black- majority cities of Southfield and Pontiac while bending sharply to avoid Bloomfield Hills, the affluent suburb where 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was raised.

Its unusual shape is intentional. Michigan Republicans, seeking to maximize their political strength, drew the district lines — and the residential patterns of Democratic voters made their job easier.

Michigan's 14th district underscores how Democrats nationwide are bunched in big metropolitan areas, resulting in the party's House candidates often winning by wide margins on Election Day while Republicans capture more seats because their voters are spread out.

It's a prime reason Democrats fell 17 seats short of winning a House majority in 2012, even as their congressional candidates drew about 1.4 million more votes than Republicans nationwide, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. And it will hinder the Democrats from regaining control of the chamber in 2014. The House now has 232 Republicans and 200 Democrats, with three vacancies.

"A big part of why Republicans are able to win a majority of congressional seats, even in swing states, is because of very inefficient geographic concentration of Democratic voters, particularly in urban areas," said Jowei Chen, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The election results mean House Republicans will have the power to block or demand amendments to President Barack Obama's agenda.

That tension between a White House controlled by one party and a House run by another will be on display during the deficit reduction talks in coming months as Obama advocates a combination of spending cuts and new revenues. That position was favored by 67 percent of Americans in a CNN/Orc International poll conducted Nov. 16, two weeks after voters re-elected Obama. Republican House members this month unveiled a budget that would eliminate the deficit in 10 years by cutting $4.6 trillion and using no new tax revenue.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video