May 18, 2006

17th Monstrosity

John Beydler at "The Passing Parade" joins the many who have taken notice of the Illinois 17th congressional district's bizarre composition. It's been written up elsewhere on the national level as a prime example of gerrymandering taken to it's extreme.

Beydler recounts a humorous exchange he had with Sen. John Sullivan, one of the candidates seeking to represent this district, which succinctly illustrates just how crazy it is:
I said that no one should be a candidate unless they can pass this test: Start in Rock Island and get to Decatur without leaving the district.

He laughed, ruefully. "They'd have to find the right alley in Springfield."

Yup. An alley. That's how wide the 17th is as it snakes through portions of Springfield.
Beydler also goes on to note the difficult job Don Johnston faces in attempting to identify and count the votes of hundreds of precincts, some of which are actually divided by THREE congressional districts!

This weird extreme of re-districting occured as the result of horse-trading between the Republicans and Dems where they "fixed" some districts in order to make them even more assured of re-electing incumbants from both parties.

The rate of re-election of incumbants is so stacked nation-wide that unless they really screw up, once they're elected, politicians are essentially in for as long as they want. The idea of an evolving representation long ago became a myth, due to those in power constantly rigging things to both prevent others from being allowed to challenge and to ensure that they stay in power.

Behold, the hydra-headed monster known as the 17th.

(click to enlarge)

Note: A helpful Dopester provided the text of an article written by Ed Tibbettts of the QC Times shortly after the redistricting.
Read it here.


At 5/18/2006 6:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You think that you can get away with doing this kind of work. This is D+ C- work at the best. I am disappointed with the effort and the quality of work.

At 5/18/2006 6:42 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Mrs. Peterson, is that you? My second grade teacher?

Who are you talking about? The legislature? What in the heck do you mean?

At 5/18/2006 9:15 PM, Anonymous Rob Mellon said...

My favorite are the Sangamon Islands off the coast of the 17th. Tough to get to, but a nice vacation spot.

At 5/19/2006 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This gerrymandering which was done to protect those Republicans in surrounding districts, and to give Lane a seat for life, might actually cause the Dems to lose this seat. Its a big district with little in common, it will be difficult for a newcomer to cover all the ground. Andrea on the other hand has an advantage because she has already run this gammit once.

I think who ever the Dem candidate is will have tough time. On that note the Dems better have someone strong in R.I. or they just might lose. Mark seems to be the only one with enough broad appeal to do this.

At 5/19/2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Huck Finn said...

One Word: Archipelagic.

Dope, quick comment on the blog's functioning. Up until about 3 days ago, I could click the date/time stamp for each entry and it would open up that entry alone with the comments for that blog entry. Now it just moves to that mark on the main blog page and doesn't show comments. I have to open the comments separately now. Something change? I like the old way better because I like to refer to your blog entry when I read the comments and I think that helps us stay on topic.

At 5/19/2006 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DOPE have you heard about the new poll from the campaign of Mark Schwiebert? If you can get your hands on it and let your readers know it would be very helpful for us undecided voters out here.

At 5/19/2006 8:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the Schwiebert poll news?
Biggest story of the weekend. Can you please track that down for your readers. Thanks.

At 5/20/2006 12:12 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Listen, since you obviously know all about this supposed poll, don't try to be cute and drop it out there without telling us what you're so breathlessly waiting to say about it.

What am I supposed to do? Call up Schewiebert and say, "Hey, this is the Inside Dope, please send me all the results of your personal poll. Thanks."

Not so sure that would be sucessful.

If Schweibert wants to share that information that he paid for, that's his call, not mine.

I just noticed that Beydler has posted a comment that he'd gotten a press release with some data from the poll, but it's being roundly discounted as not accurate.

Beydler writes, "Don't know much about the poll. Schwiebert faxed around a news release this morning that said 300 likely voters were polled May 9-12 by Personal Marketing Research.

Results showed Schwiebert and Sullivan as running best against Zinga in the general election, with either winning by a 2-1 margin. Boland did less well than those two, and Hare did less well than Boland, though numbers weren't included."

At 5/21/2006 5:29 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Huck Finn 12:15...

Sorry I overlooked your comment and just caught it.

I've noticed that strange change in the way comments are displayed as well. Not only that, but new comments don't appear when I publish them, sometimes for many hours.

Your comment prompted me to check out the settings and I found that somehow, it had changed from showing comments in a pop up window to not .. don't know how.

But it's now changed back. It should start to work in the usual way soon.

I'm sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for bringing it to my attention, though for technical stuff or blog related comments, please contact me by e-mail, or at least post such comments on the blog post found in the sidebar.

At 5/21/2006 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poll like so much otherthings in this process is crazy boom-bom. Anyone that come out of process is tained big time.

Kate Nelson on Passing Parade blames "colors" for making voters move to Schweibert. She is right to say when Hare switches from "winter" to "autumn" that he will gain big points with voters.

Now that Phil has had his "colors" done, he will win more easily than before. When you next see Phil and his colors are correct he will be our Congressman, poll or no polls!

At 5/24/2006 5:58 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

Schwiebert's poll is all BS. It was done by the same incompetent group that polled the voters and incorrectly predicted Grchan would crush his opponent in a landslide.

Mark S is desperate and the ARgus Dispatch is only too happy to try and help him get the drum beating in hopes we get two republicans to choose from this fall.....

Always be suspicious when a politician holds a press conferenct to talk about his "poll" numbers.....

Real polls are not published information but used in a real campaign. This is anything but.

Mark needs to just wait and run as a Republican next time. Who's he kidding anyway?

At 5/25/2006 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There you go again, Maybesomeday.

I know Mark Schwiebert. Mark Schwiebert is an acqauintance of mine. And let me tell you, Mark Schwiebert is no Republican. In fact, he's a bleeding heart liberal in the grand tradition of FDR and Hubert Humphrey. Mark Schwiebert was mayor of one of the QCs most diverse communities. He's a strong proponent of diversity.

Under your logic, Maybesomeday, just because somebody is a nonpartisan mayor or just because somebody works at a Republican business like AT & T or Xerox or Mediacom, that automatically makes them Republicans.

Take your blinders off, young man, and show more respect to your fellow Democrat.


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