Anyway, there’s a pattern here: Coakley carries districts where Obama got 65% or more of the vote and runs essentially even in the district where he got 64%, and Scott Brown runs ahead in districts where Obama got less than 64% of the vote.
Let’s extrapolate those numbers to the nation as a whole and assume that a district that voted 64% or more for Obama is safe for Democrats even under the most dire of circumstances. How many such districts are there? Answer, according to this source: 103. The other 332 districts voted 63% or less for Obama. Interestingly, there are more 64%+ Obama districts in the West (36) than in the East (27) and more in the South (21) than in the Midwest (19). --Michael Barone
Hooboy. Look at the vote percentages at this site (scroll a bit) and you find Obey and Kagen are at least theoretically in trouble.
Can you say "gerrymandering"?
The reason there are so many districts in the South is that we can't draw our district lines without approval from the Federal courts. If we drew lines with a color-blind eye to population, there'd be a lot fewer Obama-supermajority districts here. If, for example, we established a point in the center of Atlanta, and drew lines outward from it to the state lines, arranging those lines in such a way that (a) we had a final number of districts appropriate to the number of Representatives, and (b) each one was of equal population, probably none of them would produce Democrats reliably.
However, the government requires us to draw them a certain way. So, there are a number of places that are what one might call Yellow-Dog districts because they are required to be drawn in an explicitly non-colorblind way.
Oh, we have that here, too.
Except it only affects one District, that in Milwaukee.
My little ol' county here in NC (pretty rural, lots of poor, only 20% minority) went to court to protest the gerrymandering. We went to the Supreme Court and won. They had to re-draw the districts again ;-)
It CAN be done!
Kagen's defeat is by no means assured, but I would say his trouble is more than theoretical at this point.
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