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Perspective: Do We Really Get What We Vote For?

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Elkanah Tisdale
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public domain
The Gerry-Mander

For those of you who don’t know who the “Gerry” is behind gerrymandering, it comes from Elbridge Gerry, who was a statesman and diplomat, ultimately serving as the vice president under James Madison.

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There are many problems with our current political environment. There’s too much money, too many high-powered individuals moving through the revolving door between government and the private sector, and the long-term practice of gerrymandering. Our government is based on the idea of a democratic republic whereby the electorate selects representatives to, well, represent its best current interests. That brings me to my home state of Wisconsin and the election results of 2018.

The Wisconsin legislature is still solidly Republican. Normally, that would not be an issue if the votes reflected that majority. But, a curious thing happened in that last election. Democrats earned 54% of the total vote versus 44% for Republicans. The Republicans held onto power because of well-rigged gerrymandered legislative map. And therein lies the problem. If our government is to represent the will of the majority, then why are the two political parties allowed to draw legislative maps that guarantee their hold on power over the will of the electorate?

With the power of demographic studies that drill down to individual households, gerrymandering has become a both a fine and perverse art. Legislative district map boundaries do not look like normal boundaries, but outlines for mutant amoebas other microscopic critters.

Regardless of one’s political affiliation, this is a practice that rewards politicians interested retaining power and neglects the will of voters.

I’m Andrew Nelson, and that’s my perspective.

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