I’m preparing to commit political science. The political scientists won’t do it so I’m leaping into the fray. I’m doing an analysis of Illinois’s highly gerrymandered Congressional districts, providing measurements of just how gerrymandered they are, and examining the objectives of gerrymandering for each district.

Those of my readers who are Illinois residents or who otherwise have knowledge of Illinois’s Congressional districts, please contribute your observations in the comments of this post so I can incorporate them in my final results.

6 comments… add one
  • Guarneri

    One word: “earmuffs.”

  • PD Shaw

    The previous Republican drawn map has 11-8 R advantage, which when the Democrats the map following the 2010 census was supposed to create a 12-6 D to 13-5 D advantage (note one lost district). It’s currently an 11-7 D advantage, so the question that pops out to me is why moving from a Republican map to a Democratic map ultimately resulted in 3 seats for the Democrats (though a loss of 4 R seats). IOW, the seat lost Illinois was charged to the Republicans, but otherwise the difference in a Republican and Democratic map for 18 seats in 3.

    One of the reasons has to be that by making sure the Republicans lost the seat, more Republicans by the lost Illinois seat, so this posed an additional problem for Democratic map-makers. Something to think about as Illinois looks to lose 1-2 seats next census.

    To be continued . . .

  • PD Shaw

    One reason might be majority-minority districts, and there are four in Illinois (three African-American and one Latino). But looking at how long the seats have been safe, this is a bi-partisan value:

    Bobby Rush, first elected in 1992 (D+27)
    Jesse Jackson, Jr. and successor, first elected in 1995 (D+29) (*)
    Danny Davis, first elected in 1996 (D+38)
    Luis Gutierrez, first elected in 1992 (D+33)

    These are the sources of the most “wasted” Democratic votes, though the turnout for minorities is usually lower and I think someone from the Chicago tribune noted that there are more “wasted” Republican votes as that concept is being used with respect to the Wisconsin map challenge.

    The Republicans actually challenged the map for failing to carve out an additional Latino district. I’m not sure how that would work, the current one (73% Latino) is quite visibly gerrymandered. Perhaps you could make a couple 50% plus one Latino districts, but they might be quite vulnerable.

    Lipinski’s Polish seat is interesting in that I don’t think that many Polish-Americans necessarily live in it anymore, but I’ve read that the dispersed population is influential in city politics, so city pols have guaranteed the family a seat (dad served from 1983-2005 before the crown was passed).

    So while minority groups are very relevant to outcomes, these are ones which Republicans approve. Jackson complained about his seat being used to absorb French farm country, which didn’t make his seat any less safe, it just revealed that Jackson wanted to maximize his influence within the City.

    (*) Robin Kelly took over Jackson’s seat in 2013, but I think the point stands that the four majority-minority seats can be traced back to at least the 1990 map, and the seat is safe regardless of which party draws it.

  • this is a bi-partisan value

    That’s my belief. If you let them, it’s what parties in power do.

  • PD Shaw

    Beyond the five seats mentioned, the map mixes city and suburb to create five Democratic seats, three of the current reps were elected after the 2010 remap. Also, a Republican sink was created for Roskam of DuPage County, but note that the Cook PVI has it at R+2. The suburbs have less representation than their population, but is probably not comfortable with aspects of the Republican national party.

    Downstate was given at least two sinks, LaHood in the Peoria area (son of LaHood who held the seat 1995-2009, but the seat was interrupted by Schock 2009-2015, currently indicted), and Shimkus who won the seat from the departing Dick Durbin in 1996 with the promise to serve no more than six terms. These were supposed to create 3 potential Democratic seats (12th; 13th; and 17th), but only one is held today. Bustos won 2016 without a credible Republican challenger in a district won by Trump.

    So basically the map performed well in the Chicago suburbs, but failed to get any upside downstate. The downstate losses are the result of the national party IMHO.

  • Andy

    Unfortunately I have nothing to add and no time to research. I wish you good luck in our project.

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