Partisan Gerrymandering Is Undermining U.S. Democracy. It Must End.

North Carolina's 12th Congressional District / National Atlas / Public DomainNorth Carolina's 12th Congressional District / National Atlas / Public Domain

Partisan gerrymandering is a practice that is undermining American democracy.

Every 10 years, state legislatures draw up Congressional districts with the intent of creating as many safe seats for their party as possible.

What does this do?

It creates congressional districts that look like Rorschach exams, the purpose of which is to save partisan incumbents, not serve the citizenry.

Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional DistrictCourtesy of the Washington Post / Published May 20, 2014

For instance here, courtesy of the Washington Post is the evolution of Pennsylvania’s 7th district (This is for illustration. Pennsylvania was forced to redraw their Congressional districts recently.)

Over the years, it has increasingly lost any semblance of shape, instead, becoming an amalgamation of random blobs joined by thin lines across a map.

Why does partisan gerrymandering undermine democracy?

Partisan gerrymandering undermines democracy because it prevents genuine competition among candidates.

It allows lawmakers to be lazy and become unresponsive to the citizenry since the likelihood of a successful challenge from another party is made less likely due to the intentional partisan composition of the citizenry.

Florida’s 5th Congressional DistrictCourtesy of Harvard Political Review /Published May 24, 2016

Would a more a balanced district continue supporting bad candidates?

Maybe not.

The problem with American Democracy is not there is too much democracy, it’s that there isn’t enough.

Americans, more than anything, are suffering from an absence of political choice.