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Saturday, May 29, 2021

The Scottish National Parliamentary Elections of 2026?

You read that right, folks.  It's 2021 and we've got a map from the future.  I'm very excited to share the blog's first speculative map, as well as its first non-USA map.  This one comes to us from Twitter user @bdn0369, who proposes a brand new electoral system for Scotland after its independence in 2023.  I recommend reading their breakdown of the political parties later in this Twitter thread:

A proportional regional list system is a system where the country is divided into a number of electoral regions.  Within those regions, each party has a list of candidates, and in a nationwide vote, everyone chooses a party, rather than an individual candidate.  Within each electoral region candidates are elected from the tops of their parties' lists in proportion to the percentage of the vote earned by that party in that region.

This is quite different from Scotland's current Parliament, which is elected via a mixed-member proportional system, or Scotland's representation in the UK Parliament, which is based on a first-past-the-post system traditional to British-style governments.  @bdn0369 has maintained the current electoral regions, although seats are allocated by population rather than each getting seven members.

Will we see an independent Scotland in the near future?  What kind of electoral system would be best for the again-independent nation?  What do you think?

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Partisan Control of State Governments: 1938 v. 1939

Today's maps are on a very interesting topic: control of state governments.  And not only that, but it's another set of historical maps!  This pair from @Mill226 on Twitter show the fascinating political time period of the late 1930s USA.  The threat of war in Europe and Asia was growing, while the US continued to suffer from depressed economic conditions.  As the first map shows, the Democratic Party was still riding high on FDR's re-election in 1938.

A point of interest on both maps is Nebraska, which has used a "non-partisan" unicameral state legislature since 1936.

However, after the 1938 midterm elections, Republicans had gained in New England, the Midwest, and the Great Plains.

One thing I really appreciate about these maps is the calculations of what percentage of the US population was governed by each party.  To me, that is a fascinating metric of the parties' relative strengths.  I'm not sure, but I'd guess that the 1938 map shows one of the highest concentrations of state and population control in the hands of single party in the nation's history, perhaps only rivaled by the early-1800s Era of Good Feelings when the Democratic-Republicans were ascendant.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Three Redistricting Possibilities in North Carolina 2021

co-authored by Chris Kirkwood

North Carolina has been subject to extreme partisan gerrymandering by the Republican Party since 2010, resulting in a great deal of litigation.  In 2019, two particularly important court decisions regarding North Carolina were published.

One, from the US Supreme Court, ruled that federal courts could not overturn a gerrymander on the basis of partisanship.  Not only would the federal Congressional districts in North Carolina stay in place, but this was also a major setback to those fighting for fairer maps across the entire country.

The other, from the Superior Court of Wake County, struck down North Carolina’s state Senate and state House districts based on the state constitution, and mandated that they be redrawn under supervision of the court.  This was a reversal; in 2018, Democrats won the majority of the statewide vote but Republicans kept control of both chambers.  Despite the new maps, the state-level results were mixed in 2020, and Republicans retained control of the legislature, and therefore the redistricting process.

Thus the most likely result on the federal House level is some kind of Republican gerrymander.  @bluearrowMaps shows us what that might look like here:

The North Carolina House delegation is currently 8 Republicans and 5 Democrats.  However, North Carolina’s population growth as measured by the 2020 Census led the state to gain an additional seat in the US House.  The result is a 9-5 map, a net Republican gain of +1 seat.

Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper cannot veto the maps drawn by the legislature, so the Democrats have little leverage, but a remote possibility is a more balanced map.  This 7-3-4 map may better represent the state, which has had a 4% or less margin of victory for the past four presidential cycles:

In a hypothetical world where Democrats controlled the legislature and were gunning for the maximum number of seats, they could pursue a setup like this 5-4-5 map (with all of the 4 competitive seats tilted toward them!):

California Democratic Primary 2020: Top 4 Candidates

 @AveryTheComrade on Twitter brings us this gorgeous map with the following comment:

The Democratic primary is interesting because of its arcane semi-proportional delegate system.  You earn delegates per House district as well as statewide, but you only win delegates from a place if you get at least 15% of the vote within those geographical boundaries.  This makes a candidate's distribution of votes very important.

This one is worth zooming in on to see some of the nitty-gritty details and fine map-making.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Loudoun County, Virginia: 2012 to 2020

Loudoun County, Virginia encompasses the northernmost portion of the state, on the outskirts of the Washington, DC metro area.  This pair of maps from José Manrique (@JoseManrique93) shows President Joe Biden improving on President Barack Obama's re-election numbers by ten points, and President Donald Trump under-performing now-Senator Mitt Romney by even more than that.  They say:

This populous county swinging toward Democrats is one of a few reasons why Virginia is trending blue.  I personally find it interesting how Republican support has noticeably collapsed near the geographical center of the county.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Most Recent Year Each State Elected a Democrat or a Republican to the Senate

Twitter user @realFrosst shows us that Kansas hasn't elected a Democrat to the US Senate since 1932(!), while Hawai'i has the longest streak of not electing any Republican senators, going back to 1970.

If you compare the same state across the two maps, you can get a sense of how competitive the state is in recent history.

Maine is notable as a technicality, due to independent Senator Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats.

Most Recent Year Each State Elected a Democrat to the Senate

Most Recent Year Each State Elected a Republican to the Senate

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Building Locations in the USA Compared to 2020 Presidential Margins

This beautiful set of maps from Twitter user @Akko2021 shows how population density correlates with political outcomes.  Here's what they had to say:

  And here are the maps (definitely click open the full-size versions, they're awesome!):