Democrats didn’t even dream of this Pennsylvania map. How did it happen?

It would be somewhat surprising, at least to me, if the court drew this map without that goal in mind. Nathaniel Persily, the Stanford professor who helped draw the map, has been barred by the court from discussing it.

A series of pro-Democratic choices would be necessary to create statewide partisan balance, since lopsided winning margins in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh put Democrats at a considerable disadvantage in translating their votes to seats statewide. In fact, the new map still slightly advantages the Republicans with respect to the statewide popular vote.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise if the court strove for partisan symmetry in the context of a partisan gerrymandering case. But the court order did not say that the maps should strive for partisan balance, and it seems that’s the reason Democrats did not strive for it, either.

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