Gerrymandering is a practice or an act of politicians redrawing political boundaries. This act is intended to set new boundaries of electoral districts in favor of specific political parties. Gerrymandering is mainly used to hinder a particular demographic and used to protect incumbents. The term gerrymandering was derived from the government of Massachusetts, whose leader was named Elbridge Gerry. The history of this act can be traced back to 1812, when the government of Elbridge Gerry enacted the law that defined state senatorial districts.
It works by establishing unfair political advantage for a particular group where the group wins the election unfairly. This act may have various effects, and therefore, in this tutorial, we shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this political act.
Pros of Gerrymandering
1. Maximize supporters- Gerrymandering has the effect of increasing the number of supporters. The process involves maximizing the political boundaries; this, in turn, increases the number of supporters in that given region.
2. Minimize opponents- When the boundary of one political district increases, it results in a decrease in the geographical area of another political district. This has the effect of reducing the number of opponents in that given district with a smaller geographical area. Few opponents are a great advantage to the winning political party.
3. Strengths the majority- through the practice of gerrymandering, the political party with the majority can strongly conquer the region while the minority is weakening.
Better representation- this system may lead to better representation as it helps in reducing divisiveness and tackle’s state problem. This so because most supporters and opponents are packed into separate districts, and therefore there is less incentive to listen to. Also, the people on the boundaries can enjoy new leadership, which may be fruitful compared to the previous one.
5. The practice involves voters- Although the practice is meant to favor a specific political party, it; indirectly involves voters. Voters are the ones to choose their elected representatives and not the politicians to choose themselves. Through this, the citizens of a given region are indirectly involved in the process of gerrymandering.
Cons of Gerrymandering
1. Unfair leadership- this act is likely to result in poor leadership as the powerful political party wins the representative of a given region. Therefore, the interest of people may not be fully represented.
2. Weakening of the minority – gerrymandering is an act that favors the majority side. This weakens the minority leader in the region.
3. Erosion of democracy – this act upsets the balance of democracy because it usually favors the majority and gives undue weight and voting power to the minority in a given political area. This leads to the erosion of fair democracy since each person’s vote doesn’t carry the same weight as every other person.
4. Leads to discrimination and hatred- as political parties strive to redraw new political boundaries, one party discriminates against another political party to gain the majority votes and conquer the region. This greatly leads to hatred and may hinder the peace of the region.
5. Devalues votes- political manipulation of district boundaries lines can devalue the power of votes. This undermines the democratic process.