Princeton Gerrymandering Project Uses ‘Secret Formula’ to Limit GOP to 25% of New Jersey’s Seats
“It seems likely that between one-third and one-half of current Trump supporters meet a reasonable definition of racist. We could look into the data. The rest are okay with racists in their coalition,” Sam Wang ranted.
Twitter has no shortage of unhinged idiots who are happy to explain why everyone they disagree with are evil, but Wang heads the Princeton Gerrymandering Project.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project is a “nonpartisan” organization that fights “partisan gerrymandering”. “We translate math into law, and law into math,” it humbly boasts.
While a lot of groups claim to be non-partisan, the Princeton Gerrymandering Project calls itself “nonpartisan” more often than supermodels describe themselves as gorgeous.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project touts its “nonpartisan analysis”, seeks to “eliminate partisan gerrymandering at a state-by-state level” and claims that its “work” is based on “rigorous” mathematical standards to make it a kind of mathematical oracle.
In New Jersey, the Oracle of Wang consulted the chicken entrails of math, rolled the dice of law, and decided that, in the words of the Republican redistricting commission, that “despite Republicans consistently earning over 40% of the statewide vote… a ‘fair’ map meant 3 Republican seats, or 25% of the delegation, and 9 Democrat seats, or 75% of the delegation.”
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project was brought on board and its data was allegedly used by the state to select the Democrat map which massively disenfranchises Republicans.
40% of the vote and 25% of the seats. That’s what happens when you run your math-to-law translator through partisan bias that believes all Republicans are either racist or enablers.
But numbers are objective. Surely a review of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s formulas ought to clarify exactly which form of New Math turns 40% into 25%.
Especially since Jack Ciattarelli came within a hair of winning the gubernatorial race and would be governor now if a whole bunch of votes hadn’t suddenly turned up after the race was in a dead heat so that the widely disliked Phil Murphy, who was involved in a sex scandal and the mass deaths of nursing home patients, retained power by by 1,339,471 votes to 1,255,185.
How do you take a 51% to 48% election and conclude that the 48% should be limited to 25%?
If this were happening to black people in the South, there would already be two protest marches, a hunger strike, a few dozen riots, and a Supreme Court case. But since it’s happening to Irish and Italian-Americans who, according to the head of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project, are between 50% and 33% racist, their votes are being suppressed.
What sort of horrid fusion of law and math justifies this level of disenfranchisement of people whose only crime is being smeared as racists because they want safe streets and low taxes?
Unfortunately the magic potion that turns math into law and suppresses the minority is secret.
As David Wildstein noted in the New Jersey Globe, “Democrats and Republicans who participated in four days of meetings at a Cherry Hill hotel last month confirmed that the Princeton Gerrymandering Project would not show their work, claiming that the formulas they were using were proprietary to them.”
It ought to go without saying that secret formulas should never be allowed to determine public policy. Otherwise the masters of the secret formulas are the ones calling the shots.
Just to make things more secret, Republicans weren’t even told that the Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s map would be utilized.
Wildstein and the Globe also noted that all three major donors to the Princeton Gerrymandering Project were top Democrat donors, two of them had contributed six figures to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
When asked for a full list of donors, Princeton said that was a secret too.
When secret algorithms funded by secret donors are secretly used to create maps that disenfranchise a state’s voters if they are members of the group that its leader deems to be between “one-third and one-half” racist, that’s a true assault on democracy.
As Republicans note, “The Princeton Gerrymandering Project’s partisan gerrymander gives the people of New Jersey 11 of 12 districts with pre-determined general election outcomes and no competition.” This isn’t using math to stop gerrymandering, but to impose it on New Jersey.
According to a Democrat who was dealing with Princeton Gerrymandering Project people, “I got the sense that they really wanted us to win.”
Senate Republican Leader Steven Oroho and Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio have dispatched a letter warning that, “It has been alleged that Princeton Gerrymandering Project staff provided inside information to the Democratic congressional redistricting team about the strength of the proposed Republican map and provided guidance regarding specific deficiencies in the Democrat map.”
Beyond Sam Wang, and the staffers involved in the alleged bias, PGP’s senior legal strategy, Adam Podowitz-Thomas, has a history of equally biased tweets. Other project vets have worked for Democrat operatives and appointees, and even for the hyper-lefty Salon Magazine.
The Princeton Gerrymandering Project claims that they “develop and use mathematical tests that rigorously diagnose unequal opportunity and unfair outcomes in district maps”.
What exactly qualifies them to develop their mathematical tests and secret formulas?
Sam Wang has a PhD in neuroscience. His laboratory is involved in the “optical imaging of the learning cerebellum in awake mice”. I know that elites may think of ordinary people as rats in their maze, but going from experimenting on mice to experimenting on elections is too much.
The team includes a field director for Rep. Lucy McBath, a radical leftist Democrat who was backed by the ‘Squad’, a legal activist who worked on gay rights issues, two PhDs in political science, and a few associates with law degrees. The sparse science team consists of a 24-year-old with a math B.A., a fresh grad with a Master’s in GIS, and another recent grad with a degree in “Applied Mathematics and Music”. The only member of the science team who has been employed for more than 5 years has a B.S. from Rutgers.
It’s not much of a secret why their “secret formulas” have to be a secret.
These are not the bios of a dream team of science experts. Nor does it remotely resemble a non-partisan operation concerned only with the public good. It’s very much the makeup of a typical lefty political startup drawing on the cheap labor of recent grads for its heavy lifting.
It’s understandable that after Murphy’s near defeat and a truck driver bringing down the president of the New Jersey Senate, Democrats panicked and dug deeper into their dirty tricks.
A non-profit lefty group would have every right to propose its redistricting schemes from the perspective of advancing its partisan political agenda, but the Princeton Gerrymandering Project operates under the umbrella of a university, and vocally contends that it is non-partisan and that its secret formulas should be innately trusted as totally objective.
Democrats have insisted that partisan gerrymandering should be remedied with judges picking maps based on expert advice. New Jersey shows what that looks like and the result is not only gerrymandering, but a gerrymandering accompanied by secrecy under the guise of expertise.
Gerrymandering is dirty but if we are going to have it, let’s have it take place in the broad light of day, instead of being imposed in darkness by partisan activist “experts” with secret formulas.