Gerrymandering, explained

How politicians draw the lines to benefit themselves.

What’s the best path to political victory? Is it running good candidates? Is it crafting a strong campaign message? Is it fundamental factors like the economy?

What can be better than all of these is: drawing the district lines.

Politicians often draw district boundaries to help themselves or their party. Packing as many of the other party’s voters as possible into just a few districts they’ll win overwhelmingly, while ensuring your own party’s voters get smaller but solid advantages in more districts overall, is the classic way to gerrymander. But it can be immensely frustrating to voters, and make them feel their voices aren’t being heard.

Both parties have historically gerrymandered, but Republicans had far more opportunities to do so after their 2010 wave election — they had sole control of redistricting in most swing states. And now, the next redistricting and the next opportunity for both parties to gerrymander is drawing ever closer.

Andrew Prokop