Gerrymandering

How important was this election and why?

At the very top of the page on Think Progress' "Think Fast" this morning?

After securing historic state level victories on Nov. 2, Republicans will have control of about 190 congressional districts and “will dominate the redrawing of congressional districts that begins next year.” Because of this “commanding advantage in the redistricting process,” 15 to 25 seats in the House are more likely to remain or switch to Republican.

Campaign for America's Future, myself and handful of other bloggers told you why this election was so important way back in June. I made sure to post about this in the week leading up to the eletion because, YES, it was that important. It still is that important and will be through a bunch of elections.

"Because you do Need To Know what is at stake on Tuesday: Redistricting and Gerrymandering"

Now, corrupt Republicans will have a large share of control over who you get to vote for and, even more importantly, whether your vote will be drowned out in a slew of Gerrymandered districts. Even if your plan was to vote the GOP out in 2012 because you were "just sending Dems a message" for not passing an honest Democratic agenda... For giving us more failed conservative policies when we wanted less. That message just, very likely, became 15 to 25 candidates harder to send for ten more years.

Because you do Need To Know what is at stake on Tuesday: Redistricting and Gerrymandering

The most recent Census is behind us which puts the importance of the upcoming election's importance front and center. And, more importantly, what the results of the this election can do to your future vote. Right now it is all about one thing:

Redistricting across the nation.

It happens after every Census and it can decide whether to keep the district lines fairly and reasonably drawn... OR it can amplify or drown your voice in future elections. It is that big a deal. I wrote on this a short while back - foreshadowing the importance that it would have now, Now, NOW!

Dive in for more on both Redistricting and the inevitable Gerrymandering that results below...

That's Gerrymandering

From C4AF's Eric Loftke, that's Gerrymandering with a hard G:

Gerrymandering goes far to explain why dissatisfaction is so high, debate is so partisan and problems so unsolved. An elected official in a seat designed for safe reelection need do nothing else. Politicians in gerrymandered districts pick their constituents, not the other way around.

I especially like the scene with Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative describing a city council seat in tiny Anamosa, Iowa. The council member is elected with only two votes, his neighbor and his wife. Everyone else who makes up his districts is in a nearby prison. They can’t vote but they still count for purposes of political apportionment. Prison-based gerrymandering brings “representation without population,” Wagner complains.

I learned something else about gerrymandering. I’ve been saying it wrong, all these years (though I probably still will). It’s pronounced with a hard G, named after colonial era governor Elbridge Gerry, hard G, who redrew his state’s district lines in 1812 to secure party advantage. A period newspaper observed that the district map looked like a salamander, and dubbed it a “Gerry-mander.”

And with another Census recently behind us... A little reminder that s/he who controls redistricting controls the future of voting results to a large degree. Just ask Tom DeLay. Even if his efforts were pretty darned illegal when taken on its proven face value: