Further complicating the analysis: apportionment of House districts must respect the various civil rights laws that may or may not be among the "other factors". Think about it this way: "Maximize Republican-leaning districts" might produce fewer Republican-leaning districts than "Maximize Republican-leaning districts subject to producing at least one or two majority-minority districts" does, particularly if the majority-minority districts tend to lean Democratic.My focus has generally been on the dense-packing of welfare recipients and latte liberals into dysfunctional cities.
Without the legions of desperate constituents to hold up as continued evidence of institutionalized oppression, such incumbents have a tougher time getting re-elected. The political integration of Congressional districts might be a necessary step toward the economic integration of communities.Such political integration might be difficult, though, for reasons Crooked Timber's John Holbo details.
When you gerrymander, you aren’t trying to generate cocoons in which your voters are so concentrated the other side has no shot in hell: 80-20 districts, let’s call them. That’s wasteful of your own votes. You want 55-45 districts. That’s safe. To maximize such safe results, overall, you want to concentrate the other side’s votes in a few 80-20 districts, where possible. So if, in a given state, Republicans are 40%, Dems 60%, you want to massage that out into a whole bunch of 55% Republican districts, socking away the irreducibly huge Democratic remainder in overwhelming Dem stronghold districts where the vote basically goes to electoral waste. This seems like a recipe not just for effective disenfranchisement of the opposition (that is the intention) but also for driving the opposition to internal division. In 80-20 Democratic districts you would expect very left-wing Democrats to do especially well. In 55-45 Republican districts, Dems trying to prevail against the odds would need to be very different kinds of creatures. So you would, in effect, be driving a wedge, making it hard for the Dems from different types of districts to present a unified front, since visible mutual association could be a liability for each.Now impose the constraint called for in the current incarnation of the Voting Rights Act, which creates an obligation to give ethnic minorities a reasonable shot at winning such districts. Thus the 80-20 districts become fiefdoms for ward-heelers whose aspect reinforces the propensity of those 55 percent Republicans to turn out to vote, whilst making the 45 percent Democrats distance themselves.