The Richmond Observer – OPINION: Democrats’ expert disputes narrative of “fair” electoral cards

You’ve heard the argument from Democratic politicians and their ideological allies:

North Carolina is a purple state, almost equally divided between supporters of the two main parties. The new congressional map of the state should reflect this fact.

The argument suggests that a fair card – free from partisan mischief – should be likely to elect as many Democrats as Republicans under normal electoral conditions. With the state adding a 14th seat to its delegation to the US House this year, that means a 7-7 split.

Any deviation from a 7-7 result should trigger red flags. If the map appears likely to produce a Republican advantage, it must mean that GOP cartographers have engaged in unconstitutional “extreme” partisan gerrymandering.

This is the Democrats’ argument. But it seems they forgot to talk to one of their top outside experts about it.

Jowei Chen is a political scientist at the University of Michigan. He compiled reports and testified on behalf of the Democrats of the NC and their allies. He spent hours on the witness stand in 2019 during a trial in Raleigh. He backed the Democrats’ attack on Republican-drawn electoral maps.

Now Chen is helping the political left again. As critics dispute North Carolina’s new electoral maps, Chen submitted 75 pages of tables, charts and written analysis. All of them relate to 1,000 computer simulations that he produced using standard redistribution criteria. Chen argues that Republican cartographers have strayed from maps most likely to result from a fair and impartial electoral redistribution process.

But there is at least one element of Chen’s work that could prove troubling to the Democrats’ narrative.

While Republicans ignored previous election results when crafting and debating North Carolina’s new congressional map, Chen judged his simulations against several recent North Carolina elections. North.

Perhaps the most relevant was the 2020 presidential race. North Carolinians cast 5,524,804 ballots in this contest. Some 99.6% of the people who voted in this election voted for the president. In comparison, 5,502,778 people (99.2% of all voters) voted for the governor, while 5.47 million voters (98.7%) voted in a race for the US Senate. hotly contested.

As Republican Donald Trump won the state’s presidential election votes for the second time in 2020, the result was near. Trump got 49.9% of the overall vote, while Democrat Joe Biden won 48.6%. Few would dispute that the result offers proof of a tightly divided state.

One of Chen’s graphics, on the penultimate page of his court submission, shows the impact to the United States House delegation from North Carolina if the choices of Congressional voters reflected their presidential choices .

In over 73% of Chen’s simulations, the new card would likely produce a 9-5 Republican majority. In 9% of the additional simulations, the GOP advantage would increase to 10-4. Some 16% of the sims would give Republicans an 8-6 advantage.

Here’s the kicker: Only 1.3% of sims produce a 7-7 card. Moreover, Chen shows no evidence that a simulation would produce a card favoring Democrats.

In other words, there’s a nearly three-in-four chance that a card based on fair and universally accepted redistribution criteria would give Republicans a good chance of having a 9-5 advantage in the congressional delegation. There is almost a 1 in 10 chance that the card will produce a 10-4 split.

There’s barely a one in 100 chance that a card is likely to give Democrats as many seats as Republicans in the congressional delegation.

Neither Chen, nor the Democrats who tout his work, are likely to draw attention to this conclusion.

But the result caught the attention of State Senator Ralph Hise, R-Mitchell, one of the architects of North Carolina’s latest electoral maps.

“The Democratic Party has been complaining for months about ‘gerrymandered’ Congress cards,” Hise said in a December 16 press release. “But their own redistribution expert quietly told a court that fair cards had a high probability of electing nine or 10 Republicans.”

Bottom line: Democrats claim in their redistribution lawsuit that North Carolina congressional cards are an ‘extreme partisan gerrymander’, even though their own court documents admit fair cards have an 83% chance to elect nine or 10 Republicans, ”according to The Liberation of Hise.

It’s true that Hise focused on just one graphic in Chen’s long submission. Another graph, using the results of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s 2020 re-election, shows a much higher probability of a Congress card at 7-7.

But even when Chen focuses on the 2020 state attorney general race, in which incumbent Democrat Josh Stein was re-elected against a Republican who is running for the first time statewide, 88% of the cards fake produce a Republican majority, with 44% giving the GOP at least a 9-5 edge. Only 12% of those cards produce a probable 7-7 distribution.

As the courts deal with the future of NC electoral maps, judges must consider the low probability of a 7-7 split, even under the best electoral circumstances for Democrats.

Failure to consider pro-Republican evidence from a Democrat handpicked expert would result in flagrant injustice.

Mitch Kokai is Senior Policy Analyst for the John Locke Foundation.

About Therese Williams

Check Also

Big-name Democrats stop in Erie for the party’s annual spring dinner

(WJET) – Pennsylvania’s primary election is less than a week away. On Wednesday, some high-profile …