Sunday, June 5, 2016

Neumann, UW's Canon give update on redistricting suit

Most Sunday talk shows are lame insider BS where you don't learn anything and go away dumber for having watched it. But WKOW's Greg Neumann seems to be bucking that trend, as he often gets guests beyond political hacks, and often gets real answers from those guests. Funny how former sports guys like Neumann are often the best political reporters- likely because you can't BS your way through doing sports reporting without losing your credibility.

Last Sunday is a good example, where Neumann had UW PolisCi Professor David Canon on, and the interview went into good informational detail on the redistricting case that wrapped up right before Memorial Day.

WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Around 1:15, Canon explains the “efficiency gap” argument, which explains who would have the advantage in a 50-50 year. Canon mentions that the Supreme Court has generally around gerrymanders to stay because there is no precise measure that can show when something is over the line. This measure seems to explain it well, and that’s why the Appeals Court may well say the GOP maps are illegal and pass it ahead to SCOTUS.

Canon also mentions that SCOTUS would be forced to hear such a case if this 3-judge panel makes a ruling and it is appealed to them, and that the case goes directly to SCOTUS (not through federal district courts and appeals courts). In addition, Neumann and Canon point out that the Wisconsin case could well be combined with Dem gerrymanders in states like Illinois or Rhode Island to allow for a “bipartisan” appearance on the issue, which may make a decision more definitive nationwide.

Around 3:20, Canon destroys a GOP myth that Wisconsin’s natural “vote packing”, where there are naturally more districts that will be overwhelmingly Dem than GOP (mostly due to big cities like Milwaukee and Madison), and therefore the GOPs would be favored in a majority of districts for that reason alone. Canon mentions that studies cited from the Washington Post and the UW show that any “natural” efficiency gap is only about 2 or 3 points in Wisconsin, while the current district maps favor Republicans by up to 7 points.

Lastly, Canon sees no chance for Wisconsin’s district lines to be redrawn for the November 2016 elections. This makes sense, as nomination papers for all elected offices were due in to the Government Accountability Board last week, and the number of valid signatures are based on the district of residence for the person signing. Obviously, redrawing lines would blow this up and send things into chaos, so the earliest you will see new lines drawn would be for the 2018 elections.

If that happens, it would put an extra bit of spice into what already looks to be a heavily contested year with elections for both Governor and U.S. Senator, and possibly lead to major changes in state government if there's a Dem wave that sweeps through. Which may well be something that would encourage the average Wisconsinite to vote Dem, given how wrecked the state may be by then, and how much Walkerism will likely to be blamed for it.

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