A reader (and old friend) suggested that my list of “Things We Need to Change” should have included gerrymandering. I agree, so I drafted a blog post. Here it is.
Gerrymandering is defined as manipulating voting districts to create a result that helps the instigators and hurts their opponents. It is named after Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) of the Democratic-Republican Party, which later coalesced into the modern Democratic Party. It has been most infamously used to vitiate the political power of minorities, especially Blacks.
The Supreme Court has heard seventeen cases on gerrymandering, each time resulting in impeding the group attempting to cripple its opponents’ voting power. The dominant principle throughout has been the right of every citizen to have his or her vote counted, sometimes called one-man-one-vote.
As with so many of the governing defects I cited in the original posts on “Things we Need to Change,” gerrymandering has been conspicuously used to obstruct racial minorities. The stain of slavery and its aftermaths continues to degrade us.
But H.R.1, passed by the House of Representatives in March, would ban gerrymandering at the federal level. It is now before the Senate. The Republicans, still loyal to Trump, have so far succeeded in preventing the passage of H.R.1. We may have to wait until the next election before we expunge this obviously anti-democratic vice.
We’re making progress on righting the wrongs that stain of slavery has created. But we still have a long way to go.