Thoughts on Gerrymandering
Originally Published on 6 Nov 2020
I’m thinking about Gerrymandering today. Wisconsin likely chose a Democrat for president (waiting for the recount), but 5 out of 8 house seats went comfortably for Republicans, and it was almost 6. These seats are designed to be safe seats. The strategists draw districts to favor one party. Both parties have done it, but the Republicans developed it into an art form in the 2010 redistricting. They use “stacking and cracking.” You stack all the Democrats in a few districts that are very safe (say 80/20) and spread the Republicans out over the remaining districts so that they have a safe 55/45 to a 60/40 majority in each seat. In Wisconsin they did this for the Assembly and State Senate too. I have to applaud them for how thoroughly they f**ked our state. Many seats are so safe that people from both parties ran unopposed for Assembly seats this year.
This hurts everyone, because if every seat is a safe seat, then no politician has to do anything to win their office except win their primary. That means that politicians don’t have to tailor their policies to everyone in their district. They just need to win over the majority of their own party. This moves democrats to the left and Republicans to the right. Which is why nobody can get anything done in Washington or Madison. If people compromise, then they get booted in the primary. It is better from their standpoint to be inflexible, from the idea of firing up your base.
With fair maps, each district would be designed to be competitive in the general election. Politicians would be at risk in every election and therefore need to come to the voters with real possibilities for solutions.
Also the electoral college is outdated and racist.