The word gerrymandering was created by the Boston press to describe what Democratic Governor Elbridge Gerry was doing in 1812 when he redrew the districts to give an advantage to the Democrats. The cartoon they published with the story shows how little the press thought of his big idea.
Since then both party's have attempted to redistrict to give themselves a political advantage. This week the Republicans did it in Virginia. As the Washington Post points out You need at least one more vote to approve a new map. With 20 Democrats, and 20 Republicans and Republican LT Governor Bolling already on the record saying he wouldn't vote to break a tie, as it would set a bad precedent, it seemed like the bill was dead in the water. But on Inauguration day State Senator Harry Marsh, who was a civil rights lawyer and Richmond's first black mayor, went to watch Obama's swearing in. Republican's pounced.
On Monday, without hearings or notice, Republicans amended it on the floor so that it also called for far-reaching changes to state Senate districts. The debate on the 36-page amendment was limited to 30 minutes. The bill, approved 20 to 19, concentrates minority voters in a new Southside district and changes most district lines. Democrats said the new map would make eight districts, six of them held by Democrats, more heavily Republican. The map, which now goes before the Republican-controlled House, also puts senators R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta) into one district. It also adds more Democrats to three already deeply blue districts.
This is the kind of thing that makes folks look at politicians like pieces of crap. Go win the votes! Don't draw maps so that even though you have fewer votes your party wins. "I certainly don’t think that’s a good way to do business” said Democrat Senator Harry Marsh Republican Governor Bob McDonnell. Adding "It's not something either party should do". But he stopped short of saying he wouldn't sign it in to law. And that's the problem.
Even if they're not power obssessed tools. Let's say they really do it because they feel like the policies of their party are the ones that help America, they're still trampling one policy that all American's agree on. Play hard, but play fair. This is some Lance Armstrong/Barry Bonds stuff going on here. And like the people who were associated with those cheaters, who didn't speak out, if we don't speak out now, we're guilty too. Did Mike Piazza juice? I don't know. But we can bet he knew some guys on his team who were and kept his mouth shut. He knew it was cheating but everybody does it and it helped his teams win some games. But now Piazza, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and an entire generation of ball players are getting the cold shoulder from Hall of Fame voters.
Are Democrats gerrymandering too? Of course! Let's call them out when we see it happening and if no one from that side of the isle is calling them cheats too then we point out that they're in on the scam as well. If you want to be a person, or party that leads you have to have some integrity. And the answer to the question 'what is the difference between redistricting and gerrymandering? I'd say redistricting is when lines are redrawn due to population trends to make sure the people have the right number of reps. Gerrymandering is the redrawing of lines to ensure the people have the right kind of reps. The reps who do this have already demonstrated that they are the wrong kind of reps.