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Elections / Politics

Brooklyn Congressional Democrats reflect their districts: Primary Colors

Should Members of Congress in safe districts get voted out in the primary if they don't vote progressive enough? That's the assumption behind a new website.

The safer a Democratic district is, the more liberally its Member of Congress ought to vote: that’s the basic assumption undergirding Primary Colors, the new site built, in part, to foster more primary challengers against incumbent Democrats.

It’s a simplistic analysis but one that will find some sympathy among the party’s more activist wing. Brooklyn designerĀ Dave Garwacke built the site in cooperation with its creators in Pennsylvania.

The site uses an algorithm to assess a Member of Congress’s voting record against the partisan lean of a district to indicate whether or not people in that district should consider supporting a more progressive candidate. The site updates weekly with new data from the sources it relies on to track members.

Brooklyn’s members of congress come off well in the site’s analysis.

Equating a Democratic partisan lean (the predilection of a given district to vote Democrat, no matter who the candidate is) with support for liberal policymaking may be a false pairing. Safe districts in urban areas are usually made so by some combination of black churches and unions (not co-op members), both of which tend to be loyal Democrats but not necessarily ultra-liberal.

The site’s FAQ explains that the system creates a baseline against districts it identifies as similar, so a member is more heavily compared to other members in districts like theirs, to test whether or not liberal assumptions have merit. That said, it’s not possible to dig into this in more detail, now, as the site’s methodology page, as of this writing, is coming up empty.

Series: Brooklyn

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