Quantifying the Impact of Partisan Gerrymandering: Uncompetitive, Unresponsive, and Unaccountable American Democracy
AbstractIn pursuit of electoral advantage, legislators create custom-designed congressional and legislative districts. Gerrymandering turns democracy on its head by permitting legislators to hand-pick their constituents -threatening the democratic ideals of electoral choice and officeholder accountability. The result is declining electoral competition and increasing partisanship in Congress as elections are frequently decided in party primaries and officeholders represent increasingly partisan districts. The 2006 elections brought dramatic change, yet 87% of congressional elections were won by more than 10%. Some argue that gerrymanders inred states balance gerrymanders in blue states, but injustice equally spread is equally unjust and the resulting rise in partisanship in Congress is eroding deliberation and compromise. Despite ruling in 1986 that partisan gerrymandering was justiciable, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld even the most partisan plans. The recent failure of the Court to invalidate the Texas redistricting plan demonstrates the urgent need to prevent this partisan abuse from occurring multiple times each decade.
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