Chart of the Day: Gerrymandering Limiting Choices – A Threat to Democracy?

Chart of the Day: Gerrymandering Limiting Choices – A Threat to Democracy?

According to the Brennan Center, one of the most consequen­tial outcomes of the recent redis­trict­ing cycle has been the continu­ing decrease in the number of compet­it­ive congres­sional districts. Under new maps, there are just 30 districts that Joe Biden won by less than eight percent­age points in 2020 and, like­wise, just 30 districts that Donald Trump won by less than eight points.

The percent­age of compet­it­ive congres­sional districts has fallen even further to just 14%.

As a district leans further toward one party or the other, the general elec­tion becomes increas­ingly insig­ni­fic­ant while the favored party’s primary becomes the real contest. As a result, primary voters can effect­ively decide which candid­ate will repres­ent the district in Congress, even though they make up a small frac­tion of the elect­or­ate and are often far more partisan than the aver­age general elec­tion voters. Charges of gerrymandering come from both sides of the political spectrum.

Add on any election integrity issues – can you say “Uniparty?”

After the last redistricting in 2020, we saw this decline in choice in both Republican and Democrat strongholds. This was regardless of whether the redistricting was done by an “impartial court” or a more “partisan commission.” See this in the chart below and learn more here.

Affects of Gerrymandering

Some believe that the less competitive regions are not a result of gerrymandering. Rather, the voter base is getting more polarized. A Pew Research Center has shown that fewer and fewer Democrats and Republicans have overlapping views. One can see a trend, and it has been steadily getting worse. See this in the chart below and learn more here.

Gerrymandering Blame

In the end, a closely divided House remains up for grabs, with reas­on­able oppor­tun­it­ies for both parties to win control in coming years. However, barring unfore­seen polit­ical shifts, most voters will watch that fight from the side­lines due to maps that arti­fi­cially reduce compet­i­tion. If Amer­ic­ans hope to reverse the long-term decline of compet­it­ive districts, reforms to create fairer, more inde­pend­ent map-draw­ing processes will be essen­tial.

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