Political junkies similar to myself will enjoy an outstanding new redistricting application which was updated yesterday. A link to this free program appears below, and users will be impressed with the wide variety of current data which is already available. I have spent many hours playing with this application and I highly recommend it.
It is a lot of fun, but the serious point is that the GOP could gain anywhere from 10 to 25 Congressional seats in 2012. The gains would come through reapportionment and redistricting alone, and this would not involve defeating a single Democratic incumbent.
Texas will be gaining four Congressional seats, and additional districts are going to Utah, Arizona, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Blue America will also be losing seats in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Republicans have complete control over the redistricting process in all of those states.
The new Census data has still not been released but the application has been updated to include the 2008 Census estimates. There is more than enough data to allow you to imagine all the possibilities. This application means you do not have to wait for state redistricting commissions, and you can start to draw new maps right now.
Some people will be surprised to see the gerrymandering which occurred because of the last census. A map link to the 30 most heavily gerrymandered districts in the nation is included below. The new application works for Congressional Districts, State Senate and State House districts.
The primary author is liberal software developer Dave Bradlee of Seattle. He is a hard core leftist who has received invaluable assistance from hundreds of liberal software developers. When they began collecting all of the data for this massive project they thought 2012 would be another Obama landslide.
The bottom line is that they have done a big favor for the conservative movement. The application uses tremendous bandwidth and it is all paid for by the liberals! The application has been featured on the front page of Daily Kos and the Huffington Post. It allows you to see how the new districts you create voted in statewide and national elections. They have given conservatives the ability to combine precincts and merge their demographic data.
It was easy for me to draw new districts in New York and Texas, but California was more of a challenge because some of the precinct data is missing and it does not yet have the new Brown/Whitman or Boxer/Fiorina numbers. Seven states are not yet included in the application because their data is still being uploaded.
There were numerous bugs in this application six months ago, but most of them have been corrected. This is an on-going process and new data is being added constantly. The redistricting application uses a Bing map, so you can see roads and aerial views. You can also pan and zoom normally.
One of the best aspects of this program is that you can load and save the files you create. It allows you to save a JPEG, so you can show your state legislators what can be done. Please note that if you do not already have Silverlight 4.0 from Microsoft on your computer it will require 48.7 megabytes of space.
The application can be downloaded here: http://gardow.com/davebradlee/redistricting/launchapp.html
This link provides maps of the 30 most gerrymandered Congressional Districts in the United States: http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/11/11/the-top-ten-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts-in-the-united-states/
This is a fun redistricting game: http://www.redistrictinggame.org/