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The Redistricting Game

Autor:   •  July 6, 2012  •  Essay  •  745 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,207 Views

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The Redistricting Game

Redistricting is done the first year of each decade after a U.S. census. The population of each state may change after a census. Therefore, the number of representatives designated for each state may increase or decrease based on the new numbers. (There are a total of 435 representatives divided up among the states.) As evidenced by the redistricting game, a savvy mapmaker can increase or decrease the number of districts represented by a particular political party. I learned that redistricting can be a subjective endeavor based on the philosophy or personal beliefs of those who are drawing the district lines. I learned that each district must have the same number of residents; the federal courts generally enforce the population equality standards very carefully. Concerning contiguity, each district should be one continuous shape without islands of land "floating in other districts". Also, districts need to be in compact shapes without crooked edges narrow elongations. I learned that the classic way to abuse redistricting is called the partisan gerrymander. In a gerrymander the voters can be a portion to elect a particular type of politician. Gerrymander allows the undermining of the democratic process. This is supported by Virginia Representative, Thomas M. Davis, III. Who said, "We saw our opportunities and we took them." Jeffrey Toobin, a journalist, said, "…that Patrick Henry had tried to gerrymander Madison…out the First Congress." State Senator Mark McDaniel also provided evidence that gerrymander can undermine the Democratic process in his remark, "We are in the business of rigging elections."

Mapmakers can have more influence in an election than anyone else. Mapmakers use cracking (spreading voters to dilute their power) and packing (concentrating voters who have similar beliefs to reduce their voting power) to design oddly shaped districts to gain the policies they desire.

Partisan gerrymander concerns changing district lines related to the voters one needs to elect the candidate that someone wants. Cracking and packing are techniques used. Newt Gingrich said, "I don't object to polarization if it achieves an objective." Apparently, he supported partisan gerrymander to achieve his political goals. The bipartisan gerrymander is a version of the partisan gerrymander. Political parties agree to maintain the

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