What’s Redistricting & What’s the Big Deal?

Redistricting is a major problem in not just Indiana, but the entire United States of America. What is redistricting? Redistricting is the process in which new state and congressional legislative district boundaries are drawn. Every ten years new district lines are redrawn during the United States census. This is a problem because the 150 state legislators are elected by different political districts. Howard Dean, a man who served as the 79th Governor of Vermont, the Chair of the Democratic National committee, and an American physician, once stated, “So the part of the problem is not just the rhetoric. It’s the fact that we’re so polarized in what we’ve done to each other as parties over the last thirty years in redistricting that it’s very, very hard to overcome your own constituencies and move to the middle.”

So, what is the big deal with this? Redistricting may be used to sway the political outcomes of the elections, making one political party win even if they did not get the popular vote in the entirety of the state. A term we should become very familiar with is gerrymandering. This refers to the manipulation of the district lines in order to change or protect the current political power. Gerrymandering directly affects political power. Because of this, Gerrymandering determines which of the parties control not only Congress, but local and state governments as well. By drawing the lines certain ways, this can reward Republicans and punish Democrats or reward Democrats and punish Republicans. It should also be known that the people deciding where to draw the lines are often times politicians themselves. By deciding which politicians will run against each other and which party the majority of citizens in each district identifies with, politicians are able to strategically plan out who will win each election. Furthermore, the politicians that win will then decide which legislation they would like to push for and which legislation they would like to put on the back burner to collect dust.

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