As Congress continues its six-month streak with 80%+ disapproval ratings, it is unfortunate that we can’t look to the current Congressional redistricting, based on the 2010 census data, for hope. ProPublica has some excellent coverage of the various forces moving these lines around and, just as in Congress, neither of the two parties are setting a good example.
Speaking of, it should only take one to whet your appetite for more. Take it away, Florida!
Florida’s 3rd Congressional District scoops African-American neighborhoods out of three cities to form a district that has mostly swampland in between. Districts like this one, created in the 1990 redistricting cycle, helped African-American congressional candidates win historic victories. But the districts surrounding it are now much whiter, and thus more Republican, than ever before. Many credit the 1990 redistricting with turning Florida from a blue state to a red state.
(click image for related article and more maps)
That is sadly just the beginning. ProPublica will walk you through examples of the various brands of gerrymandering currently in use in the U.S. and the names alone (cracking, packing, bleaching, hijacking and kidnapping) will give you the general drift. If that doesn’t make you sick enough, Slate has a slideshow featuring 21 of the most gerrymandered districts.
For more on the current 2010 process, check out the Rose Institute for news and info by state and the Purdue University Library for a full collection of official government redistricting sites.[Map from ProPublica]