Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerrymander Pros

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerrymander Pros

Article excerpt

Joe Baker makes a strong case against gerrymandering, the drawing of congressional districts to favor one party ("My Vote Rarely Counts," July 9 Forum). He argues that it pushes candidates toward ideological extremes and disempowers minority-party voters in those districts. His arguments have merit, but there are some disadvantages to eliminating gerrymandering, which he doesn't consider.

For one thing, gerrymandering often creates districts with majorities of minority voters. Even if it's done for partisan advantage, the effect is that more black and Hispanic congressmen get elected. The opponents of gerrymandering probably don't want a less diverse Congress, but that's one likely outcome if they succeed.

Eliminating gerrymandering will also make elections more expensive. Candidates don't campaign much in districts that heavily favor one party. …

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