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Gerrymandering's Surprising History and Uncertain Future

Both parties play the redistricting game, redrawing electoral boundaries to lock down power.

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Video originally published on May 28, 2018.

Every decade, states engage in redistricting – the redrawing of congressional and state legislative boundaries – after the release of new census data. This process often becomes politicized, with district lines drawn to create partisan advantages and disadvantages, a tactic known as gerrymandering. The practice is almost as old as the nation. The term has been around for more than 200 years, ever since Gov. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts approved a redistricting scheme that included a state senate district resembling, some thought, a salamander. Both parties have always played the redistricting game, sometimes with unforeseen consequences. What’s at stake right now: control of the House of Representatives.

Read Clyde Haberman’s essay, “Gerrymandering Has Led to Odd Political Alliances.”