Dems fail to gerrymander

To the editor:

Democrats regained control of the U.S. House on November 7. Since then, conservative and right-libertarian national pundits have worked hard promoting their revisionist views on government and politics. Closer to home, Lowman S. Henry, of Harrisburg’s Lincoln Institute, published an opinion piece on gerrymandering and redistricting reform in Pennsylvania that gives the more widely read columnists a run for their money for distortion and selective omissions of inconvenient facts.

Critically, given the target of his concerns, Mr. Lohman does not know the meaning of gerrymander. He describes the 2018 decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and the subsequent re-drawing of the Republican-created Congressional district map, as a Democratic re-gerrymandering of Pennsylvania’s House seats.

Gerrymandering is the manipulation of electoral boundaries to favor one party over another. In 2016, Democratic registrations represented more than 49 percent of Pennsylvania voters, Republicans 38 percent, and third parties and Independents 13 percent.

The Republican map gave their party 72 percent of Pennsylvania’s Congressional seats, or 13 wins out of 18 races. Trump won the state with only 48 percent of the 2016 vote. This equates to nine seats. What did the supposed Democratic re-gerrymandering produce? Based on registrations, Democrats would have won 10 seats. They won nine. A child with a tablet and mapping software could have created a gerrymandered map giving Democrats at least 14.

If what Democrats did was gerrymandering, they did it poorly.

Mark Lafer

State College