Displacement in the Democratic District Delegate Splits

Displacement in the Democratic District Delegate Splits

In a delegate distribution based on congressional districts, where there often is just a two way split, there has to be some misrepresentations when a few delegates are split to match a continuous distribution of the vote percentage for the district. When the Republicans only have a fixed 3 delegates for each district, the degree of misrepresentation is greater than in Democratic districts with an average of 6 delegates per district.

Democrats use other integers than 6 if a district has more or less Democrats than average, with 5 and 7 being the most common. I think of the odd number districts as being like a balance scale, where the slightest asymmetric weighting will immediately cause it to fall in the direction of the heavier pan. The odd delegate number 5 districts immediately split 3-2 and the 7 delegate districts immediately split 4-3. So even in close races, leads can easily be built up. For even delegate number districts, the balance is stuck, 3-3, until the lead of one candidate exceeds 16.6% more votes than the other, to get a 4-2 split. In a few articles, I worked out how this shifted the representation in detail.  So even number delegate districts suppress differences, and odd number delegate districts enhance differences.

The good news for Democratic voters is that at the statewide level, the statewide voting averages are very close to the distribution of pledged delegates rewarded. With the larger states, with many at-large and PLEOs proportionately split, the vote and delegate difference is within 1%, with the biggest split being 1.7%. I have checked this with the seven largest states, which have 1,788 pledged delegates, or 44.1% of all pledged delegates.

If this were more widely known, it might cause fewer voters to show up in the even number of delegate districts, and more in the odd number districts. In close states, candidates should put more of their time, volunteers, and ads in the odd delegate districts, as perhaps they already do. In a survey of California’’s 53 districts (yes, it’s true), while the maps showed Sanders leading in some, they were all even number districts, that ended up 3-3, and he didn’t win any odd number districts.

By putting more delegates in districts with more Democrats, the party is proportionately weighting more influence and representation to them in the convention in candidate choice, rule setting, and platform decisions. This also increases the likelihood of electing a Democratic President and Democrats to all other positions.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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