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Politics & Polls w/Congressman Leonard Lance

April 24th, 2017, 5:54am by Sam Wang

Representative Leonard Lance has been in the crosshairs of activists. His Congressional district went narrowly for Clinton over Trump, and before going to Washington he had a reputation as a moderate. I interviewed Congressman Lance solo (Julian’s overseas). In our far-ranging conversation, we talked about many topics: the Affordable Care Act (he’s in favor of continuing payments to insurers; this is a fairly big deal in my opinion), Russian interference, legislation to sell your browsing habits to your ISP, and Lance’s own transition from NJ to DC.

Link: Politics And Polls #40

Tags: House · Princeton

11 Comments so far ↓

  • Pramod

    This was great. Rep. Lance obviously speaks like a politician but it was refreshing to hear a sensible and principled conservative voice.

    I must’ve spent too much time in the liberal bubble because I’d genuinely started to believe that all Republicans are unprincipled opportunists. This was a much needed wake-up call for me that there are good people on both sides of the aisle.

    • LondonYoung

      This makes me think of Dr. Wang’s gerrymandering project … to wit: Rep. Lance is from a swing district – so he had better be reasonable or he will lose his seat in the general election. But politicians from safe districts position themselves for primary elections instead.

      Maybe we don’t need “fair districting”, maybe the ideal way to draw districts is to just maximize the number of swing districts.

    • Sam Wang

      Competitiveness actually emerges from fair districting: the California redistricting commission’s work led to a number of members of Congress losing their seats in the next election. This is the flip side of gerrymandering, which generates guaranteed wins, usually for both major parties.

    • LondonYoung

      Hmmm, I just punched CA into the Princeton gerrymandering tool for 2014. I used 75% as default uncontested vote share, and all US states in 2014 as the parent population. It says “The actual outcome (red symbol) was therefore advantageous to Democrats. 0 of the 47 fantasy delegations had at least 39 Democratic seats. This advantage meets established standards for statistical significance, and the probability that it would have arisen by partisan-unbiased mechanisms alone is less than 0.001.”

    • Sam Wang

      California’s vote is so strongly partisan that it is hard to do enough simulations to get a suitable fraction of the popular vote. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes not. I have to drill into it more.

    • LondonYoung

      Also, based on Cook PVI, only 10 of CA’s 53 districts are in the D+5 to R+5 range, the rest are all “safe”. That is a tad better than the country as a whole, but not by much.

    • LondonYoung

      The WaPo article in interesting. However, the gerrymandering tool needs to be fixed. At an absolute minimum something needs to be added to reflect incumbency.

    • LondonYoung

      I withdraw the comment on incumbency.
      I ran the tool on CA using PVI rather than congressional results and the outcome is the same.

  • ColinMcAuliffe

    Great interview! Any chance of getting Rodney Freylinghuysen from NJ-11 on the podcast? He is in a similar boat as Rep. Lance as a republican with a reputation as a moderate in a district that went narrowly for Pres. Trump, though he has not had a serious challenge to his own reelection in many years. On top of that, he is in an interesting position as the chair of the appropriations committee.

  • LondonYoung

    In 2009 Rothenberg said the chances of the GOP taking the house in 2010 were zero. Then the GOP took the house in 2010. Afterwards Rothenberg defended himself by saying “well in 2009 the odds of them taking the house in 2010 were zero, but then things changed”.

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