Dec. 1, 2023

How Maps Help Politicians Stay In Power

Published May 14, 2023, 4:20 p.m. by Monica Louis

In a world where data is increasingly becoming more and more important, maps are becoming an increasingly important tool for politicians. By understanding where people are, where they live, and what their interests are, politicians can more easily target their constituents and get them to vote.

In the past, maps were used primarily for military purposes. But as data and technology have become more sophisticated, maps are now being used for a variety of purposes, including political ones.

maps can help politicians in a number of ways. For example, they can be used to target specific voters. By knowing where people live and what their interests are, politicians can more easily craft messages that will resonate with them.

maps can also help politicians raise money. By understanding where potential donors live, what their interests are, and how much money they have, politicians can more easily solicit donations from them.

Finally, maps can help politicians keep track of their constituents. By knowing where people are and how they are moving, politicians can more easily stay in touch with them and ensure that they are happy with the job they are doing.

In a world where data is becoming increasingly important, maps are becoming an increasingly important tool for politicians. By understanding where people are, where they live, and what their interests are, politicians can more easily target their constituents and get them to vote.

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The 2020 election will have huge implications for the U.S.

political system and not just due to the presidential race, 2020 is a

census year, meaning in 2021, the U.S.

will have new electoral maps.

Whichever party gains control of state legislatures in 2020 is going to get

to set district maps for a decade, which will decide control of the US

House for a decade.

In 2010, Republicans made huge gains in state legislatures and consequently

redrew the maps. One study showed that about 16 to 17 Republican

congressional seats won in the 2016 election are attributed to the way the

electoral maps were drawn.

You had gone through several cycles where Democrats had actually got more

votes than Republicans nationwide, and yet Republicans had a comfortable

majority.And that was because of gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering is the process of manipulating electoral maps for political

gain in about two thirds of the country.

The state legislators who win their elections will draw the political

playing field for the next 10 years.

Gerrymandering is cheating.

It is the act of drawing legislative lines that put yourself in power and

make it harder for the other side to win a majority of seats.

Gerrymandering is the reason that some congressional districts look

downright strange.

Look at these. They make no logical geographical sense.

For 200 years, this has been going on with the legislators draw the

district lines to protect the jobs, the most toxic partizan gerrymandering

that took place after the 2010 census and this most recent cycle.

It occurred in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina,

Pennsylvania, Florida.

This time around, both parties are more focused on this strategy and are

raising hundreds of millions of dollars for down ballot races.

Redistricting has increasingly become this huge war between the parties

because I think both parties now are aware of this and you see a lot of

money flooding into the process.

Both sides of the aisle have used redistricting for their own gain,

especially as technologies improve and automate the process of mapmaking,

leading to gerrymanders based on race, political affiliation and even

prison populations. So how does gerrymandering actually work and what is

being done to fight for fair representation?

The total population results of the decennial census determines how many

congressional seats each state will have after the 2010 census, 32 states

kept the same number of seats, while eight states gained seats and 10

states lost seats.

Once states know how many congressional seats they will have, State

legislators begin redistricting their communities and determine the shapes

of electoral maps. Traditionally, gerrymandered maps have been redrawn

using census and voter registration data to pack as many people from one

party or racial group into a district.

Alternatively, legislators make crack districts part so that certain

populations are divided according to whom they are likely to support.

All of it is effectively vote a dilution.

It makes votes matter less.

Mapmakers have expanded from drawing maps based on census and voter

registration data to include as much data as they can find.

They will use things like voter registration records, but not only voter

registration records, much more sophisticated data about who you are and

what your political preferences are using things like what magazines you

read, what kind of car you drive, all kinds of consumer data, the same

sort of data that companies use to target you, that political campaigns

use to target you. You could develop a very robust profile of who a person

is. And that's the sort of data that enables map makers to strategically

draw maps to favor one party over the other and to make it durable.

In 2010, Republican leadership took a big gamble on down ticket elections

to attempt to influence the map making process.

The Republican State Leadership Committee launched the Redistricting

Majority Project, or Red Map, investing thirty million dollars to flip

state legislative seats.

At the beginning of 2010, Republicans held 44 percent of all state

legislative seats, 28 percent of state legislative chambers and had

control of both state legislative chambers and the governorship in nine

state trifectas.

With that investment, Republicans flipped more than 700 state legislative

districts, giving them 53 percent of seats, a 9 percent increase.

When it came to control of state legislatures, they won 51 percent of them

and had 20 state trifectas, both an increase of 23 percent.

It was the biggest and boldest investment in modern American politics, and

it paid off wildly and successfully.

That shift allowed Republicans to control redistricting in many parts of

the country, some of which led to gerrymanders.

We know from history that both parties are equally willing to gerrymander

if given the opportunity.

It just turned out that the last round of redistricting in 2011 occurred

after the Tea Party election of 2010, in which Republicans did really well

and swept the board in many states but were given a chance.

Democrats will also gerrymander.

Requests for comment from the RSLC were not returned by the date of

publication. But some conservative experts suggest that gerrymandering is

not a matter of politics, but rather geography.

They say while the maps may appear distorted, the district's maps reflect

the population concentrations required in the Voting Rights Act.

For example, in some states, Democrats tend to be more concentrated in

urban areas and Republicans are more spread out.

This cycle, The RSLC is focusing their efforts on 12 state legislatures,

the same number of states the National Democratic Redistricting Committee


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