Great article from FiveThirtyEight…
s politics in the U.S. has polarized along geographic and racial lines, drawing political maps has become a partisan arms race. Even the smallest decisions about where to draw district boundaries can alter the power dynamic in Congress — without a single voter switching parties or moving.
It’s easy for opponents of gerrymandering — the drawing of political boundaries for the benefit of one party or group over another — to argue what districts shouldn’t look like. All they have to do is ridicule the absurdity of the most bizarre patchworks ever woven to elect members of Congress. For example, “The Rabbit on a Skateboard,” “The Upside-Down Chinese Dragon” or the “Mask of Zorro.”
But it’s much more difficult to say what districts should look like, because reformers can disagree on what priorities should govern our political cartography. Should districts be drawn to be more compact? More conducive to competitive elections? More inclusive of underrepresented racial groups? Should they yield a mix of Democratic and Republican representatives that better matches the political makeup of a state? Could they even be drawn at random? These concepts can be difficult to define and often stand in tension with one another.
Read full article here.