The midterms may be over, but the fight to preserve our democracy has only just begun. With this most recent election behind us, it’s time to focus on an issue that persists throughout every election cycle: gerrymandering. Gerrymandering has long been a problem in the United States, with many districts drawn and redrawn into barely recognizable shapes to favor incumbents. Many have called for the Supreme Court to declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional, and SCOTUS has declined each time. And you know what? Fine. We don’t have to get rid of it. All I’m saying is if we’re going to keep gerrymandering, can we at least draw some fun shapes with the districts?
I’ll be honest — I actually sat down to write an op-ed about the rampant voter suppression we saw during the midterms. I was going to point out all the ways America keeps many of its citizens disenfranchised, and then I’d offer my thoughts on how we can begin to repair that damage, and I even thought about bringing it home with a rousing argument against the electoral college. But then I thought, “Hey now, let’s be realistic.” So instead of giving every American the right to vote, what if we redraw the districts to look like an elephant that is being frightened by a mouse? I think it’s so funny when big animals are afraid of little animals, and I would like to see that concept drawn out in the boundaries of our electoral districts.
I got really interested in America’s electoral system during this most recent election cycle when I read about Native Americans unable to vote because of a new voter ID law in North Dakota, racist robocalls targeting Stacey Abrams in Georgia, and gerrymandered districts across the country determining results before the votes were even cast. After learning all that, my first thought was, “Man, this country is going up in flames.” My second thought was, "Well, I guess this is as good a time as any to see if people would be down to redraw the districts to spell out,
If we redraw the districts frequently enough, I wonder if we could even create some simple animations. Like a flip book, but with the electoral map. I think a lot of Americans feel frustrated by how gerrymandering has infringed upon the power of their voice as an American citizen. Ideally, I’d like to solve that problem. As a backup plan, I’d like to constantly redraw the electoral map to create a loop of Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner. Admittedly, I’m not sure what sort of copyright issues that would entail, but I bet I could figure it out faster than any rational human being could figure out the logic of our electoral system.
You might say, “Drawing shapes and words using the districts that determine the outcome of our elections makes no sense,” and you would be correct. It makes no sense at all. You know what shape would make sense for an electoral district? A square. Or a rectangle. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a quadrilateral. Circles and triangles would be fine. Instead, our districts look like this. And this. And this.
So what would be the effect of my new plan, tentatively titled, “Gerrymandering, But Make It Fashion,” on our election results? Nothing. They’d be exactly as screwed up as they were before. But my ex-boyfriend Nick would feel embarrassed, and that would be a great comfort to me personally.
Some other things I would like to see drawn through the art of gerrymandering: a spaceship, a portrait of Beyoncé, the sheet music to, “Come On Eileen!” by Dexys Midnight Runners, van Gogh’s Starry Night, one of those motivational cat posters, and some hands. Personally, I’ve always found it really difficult to draw realistic-looking hands. I am curious to see if it is more or less challenging to draw them using our electoral districts.
I am open to other ideas as to what fun shapes or words we could create. I was thinking we could make a list of ideas, and then everyone can write down which idea they like best, and then I’ll count up all the answers, and whichever one gets the most votes wins.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s too complicated.