Why Pennsylvania Matters: A Gerrymandering Expert Explains How Republicans Rigged The Map

Author David Daley explained how Republicans seized power and used the gerrymander to rig the map to make themselves unbeatable for a decade.


Daley said, “We are a closely divided 50/50 countries in so many ways. Look at Washington, 70% of our state legislatures are all in the hands of the Republican Party. This is not a coincidence. Republicans after the 2008 election in which Democrats take super majorities in Congress, and elect Barack Obama president enact on a very — audacious and technologically savvy plan to re-invent the gerrymander as a road back to power. It’s state legislatures in 42 of 50 states that draw these lines, and what Republican strategists realized, if they could take control of the state legislative chambers and have complete control following the 2010 census, the new maps drawn in 2011, they could draw themselves essentially unbeatable lines over the next decade and target 107 state legislative seats. Targeting just the local races and flipping those seats, Republicans earn themselves the ability to draw 193 of our 435 races on their own.”

The Pennsylvania gerrymander case is the road to electoral fairness

Each of these state-level cases where gerrymandered maps are tossed out sets a lower court precedent for the Supreme Court to base a future ruling on. The federal Supreme Court decided to state out of gerrymandering rulings at the state level, but there are two upcoming cases focusing on Wisconsin and Maryland that could have titanic impacts. A fairly drawn Congressional map is likely to net Democrats a minimum of five House seat pickups. With Democrats only needing to win 24 seats to take back the House, they could be launched to victory with the new map.

Gerrymandering is difficult to overcome. The map is rigged, but Democrats are making inroads, and a shift like in Pennsylvania could swing the national tide closer to electoral fairness.