Gerrymandering is a situation in which a group of people in power alters borders to benefit a particular political party or group of people (Beeghley 156). Before the first US Congress election in 1989, gerrymandering was first observed in the United States in 1788. To keep James Madison out of the lower house, the state of Virginia was split into districts. After Governor Gerry Elbridge signed a bill that benefited the Democratic-Republican Party, Massachusetts was redistricted in 1812. (Chen and Rodden 240). It’s worth noting that gerrymandering comes from a combination of the governor’s name and the shape of one of the districts in the state. Gerrymandering has been intentionally used to favor racial groups or partisan. In the US, “Democrats are highly clustered in dense central city areas, while Republicans are scattered more evenly through the suburb, exurban, and rural periphery” (Chen and Rodden 241). For instance, the Democrats are placed into densely populated districts resulting in electoral bias since they end up having fewer representations in the lower house as compared to the Republicans. Moreover, gerrymandering may be used to either strengthen or weaken the political voting rights of a racial group. In the US, some states with densely populated blacks have been redistricted so that at least the blacks can afford to elect a representative in the lower house. On the other hand, these states may be irregularly redistricted so that the blacks cannot influence election of a representative to the lower house.
However, there are several ways in which the US has tried to prevent gerrymandering. These methods include coming up with nonpartisan commissions responsible for redistricting the districts that were unconstitutionally districted by some few members in authority for their benefits. Also, the constitution of the US has given the courts power to stop the gerrymandered plans of redistricting to the voting system. Lastly, an alternative has been sought which involves the popular vote in the election of the president. This method has reduced the political urge of redistricting because of the advantage of the Electoral College voting system.
Beeghley, Leonard. Structure of social stratification in the United States. Routledge, 2015.
Chen, Jowei, and Jonathan Rodden. “Unintentional gerrymandering: Political geography and electoral bias in legislatures.” Quarterly Journal of Political Science 8.3 (2013): 239-269.
If you like this sample, we will email it to you with pleasure!