Jul 3, 201307:00 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Crossing the lines: Redistricting is not the real reason for state Republicans’ staggering success
(page 1 of 2)
If Republicans are “actually a party driven by WMC, the Club for Growth, the Koch brothers, and ... social-issue extremists,” as the editor of The Capital Times postulated on May 6, how is it that they keep winning elections? For, says the progressive editor, “their success is staggering.”
The staggered editor forgot ALEC, Fox News, and talk radio. Creating hobgoblins is one way the political left delegitimizes elections it loses. Another tactic is to complain about being outspent (except when Tammy Baldwin and Barack Obama are doing the outspending). The third is to pretend Republicans win elections thanks to gerrymandering.
It’s become a Democratic meme, one that perfumes the bad odor left by Jim Doyle’s Democrats and their $3.6 billion deficit, illegal fund raids, lost jobs, and accounting tricks.
Republicans “gamed the system with a power grab on redistricting to take over the Senate and retain the Assembly, even though Democrats received significantly more votes in the Assembly statewide,” write State Reps. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, and JoCasta Zamarippa, D-Milwaukee.
It’s important to remember that Democratic Assembly candidates received some 193,000 more votes than Republicans in the 2012 elections. Republicans hold a 60-39 lead in that chamber only because they made gerrymandering into an exact science when they redistricted Wisconsin.
Sarah Manski’s vandalism-prone Madison protest group, Wisconsin Wave, posits that “redistricting is entirely responsible for the GOP’s ‘success’ [their snotty quote marks] in congressional and legislative races.”
This is leftist agitprop, and here’s why. Democrats appeared on the ballot in 95 of 99 Assembly districts last fall, Republicans in only 76 — a difference of 19 seats. Put another way, only four Republicans ran unopposed compared to 19 Democrats — not counting third-party or independent opposition.
If those 19 races had featured a Republican and if each of them had received the 16,452 votes that the average Republican assembly candidate tallied, you could add 312,000 votes to the Republican side — easily enough to flip the vote advantage to the GOP. (Or, to be conservative, let’s assume those 19 uncontested seats were hopeless; we’ll assign the 11,762 votes that losing candidate Tom Lamberson [who?] got against Democrat Sondy Pope-Roberts in western Dane County. That’s still an extra 223,000 votes.)
In Dane County, Democrats Diane Hesselbein, Melissa Sargent, and Chris Taylor were elected to their first terms in the State Assembly on Nov. 6 without Republican opposition.
Republicans tend to put on the green eyeshades and run their spreadsheets; most won’t make the race unless they perceive an even chance of winning. Democrats, whose raison d’être is government, are more willing to run to throw themselves on the sword — even in heavily Republican Waukesha County.
Then there is the power of incumbency. “We know that incumbency is a powerful factor,” two George Washington University researchers report, “bringing candidates greater visibility, adding to their campaign coffers, and deterring quality challengers from running.” (Their study is posted at The Washington Post’s Wonkblog.)