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Gerrymandering is Destroying the Political Center

The BriefGet Up To Speed
It is alleged that the practice of gerrymandering —dividing election districts into units to favor a particular group— subverts democracy by making congressional districts “safe” for one party or the other.  As a result, only those voting in primaries are in effect choosing our representatives.   Are primary voters more extreme in their views, and therefore pulling democrats to the left and republicans to the right?  Or is the impact of gerrymandering actually overblown, while other more divisive contributing factors like the emergence of ideologically charged TV and radio outlets, the role of the internet and social network “echo chambers,” and campaign finance practices are in fact the real drivers of increasing partisanship?  If gerrymandering is a major problem, is there policy or constitutional principles that might be part of the solution?  
Presented in partnership with the National Constitution Center

Outlandish districts created for electoral gain are a major distorting force in the contemporary U.S., but they belong to a long tradition.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Emily Barasch

How to steal an election: a visual guide.

Sunday, March 1, 2015
Christopher Ingraham

This study features the Brennan Center for Justice’s initial analysis of the 2010 congressional redistricting cycle. It focuses on the likely impact of redistricting on the partisan balance of power in Congress.

Sundeep Iyer and Keesha Gaskins

Here's a straightforward run-down of where the most- and least-gerrymandered districts are.

Thursday, May 15, 2014
Christopher Ingraham

He who controls redistricting can control Congress

Thursday, March 4, 2010
Karl Rove

As the government shutdown has entered its second week, there are few signs that the gridlock will be resolved anytime soon. But while finger pointing continues and federal employees stay furloughed, the larger crisis remains unresolved: gerrymandering.

Thursday, October 10, 2013
Daniel Gaynor

By using redistricting to protect incumbents and reduce the number of truly competitive legislative races, many states have set the stage for all the nasty battles playing out in Congress.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Reforming the way district lines are drawn is critical to giving more power to our citizens by producing a fairer and more level playing field. In doing so, we can begin restoring the public’s faith and confidence in its elected leaders.

Sunday, November 27, 2011
Vince Barabba

Most Americans who know that our political system is not working the way it is supposed to don’t know what specifically is wrong. But gerrymandering is something that clearly stands out for many.

Thursday, December 4, 2014
Norman J. Ornstein

Why independent redistricting won’t save us from political gridlock.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
John Sides and Eric McGhee

Democrats often blame gerrymandering, but that’s not the whole story. More than ever, the kind of place where Americans live — metropolitan or rural — dictates their political views.

Saturday, September 6, 2014
Nate Cohn

Cook Political Report suggests there are fewer competitive races than at any time in recent history. Which prompted Gawker to rail against gerrymandering. It's not quite that simple. The problem may be with the voters as much as the elected officials.

Monday, July 29, 2013
Philip Bump

Sides looks at why gerrymandering doesn't explain the polarization of American politics. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013
John Sides
Redistricting Reform Efforts

The former attorney general heads up a new Democratic effort to challenge the GOP's supremacy in state legislatures and the U.S. House.

Monday, October 17, 2016
Edward-Isaac Dovere

2016 could be a blockbuster year for redistricting reform. Significant efforts have been launched in at least ten states, the most in recent memory

Monday, January 25, 2016
Eric Perry
Supreme Court

Race and politics will once again intersect at the Supreme Court when the Justices hear McCrory v. Harris and Bethune Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections. Both cases deal with the issue of gerrymandering, and whether certain congressional districts were purposely doctored in a way that is discriminatory toward minorities or makes their vote irrelevant.

Thursday, October 13, 2016
Chris Calabrese

Let’s talk about the ruling in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission in Plain English.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Amy Howe

Republican congressmen claimed new map harmed their chance for re-election. 

Monday, May 23, 2016
Jess Bravin

The Georgia General Assembly drew a congressional district that combined black metropolitan neighborhoods, with neighborhoods in which blacks predominated on the coasts. The constitutionality of the Eleventh District was called into question.

The Supreme Court of the United States held that Shaw and others (Appellants) have a legitimate claim that North Carolina’s redistricting scheme was so irregular on its face that it could only be viewed as an effort to segregate races for the purposes of voting, without regard for traditional districting principles and without sufficiently compelling justification.