Republican, democrat or independent, Americans love a good political sex scandal, especially when it doesn't involve a member of their preferred party. While these scandals almost never have anything to do with a politician's job performance or the state of our democracy, it can be exceedingly difficult to get Americans to care about non-sexy political scandals that do, and even harder to explain these scandals in a way that doesn't put people to sleep.
A good example of this is the practice of gerrymandering -- when politicians attempt to guarantee that they will remain in power by redrawing district boundaries every ten years to include or exclude certain voters. Not only does this create districts with strange, illogical shapes that do not represent geography or populations (my district resembles a squat dinosaur/Pokemon), it also means that incumbents don't need to serve their constituents or even do a good job since their re-election is virtually guaranteed because of their district's demographics. In short, because of gerrymandering, there's a good chance that your vote simply won't matter.
Pretty scandalous, right? That's why director Jeff Reichert decided to make a documentary about gerrymandering, fittingly named Gerrymandering. See the trailer below.
I spoke with Reichert and Bill Mundell, who is an executive producer on Gerrymandering and the founder of Californians for Fair Redistricting. Below is my interview with them in two parts.
On the origin of the term "gerrymander", the threat gerrymandering poses to American democracy, whether districting reform might hurt one's preferred party/candidate, what countries have good redistricting systems, prison and incumbency gerrymandering, and whether districting reform is the kind of cause only politicians on their way out undertake.
On vote swapping, EndGerrymandering.com, which minorities are at the most risk from gerrymandering, flaws in America's democratic system, information about gerrymandering that surprised Reichert as he was making the film, and why Reichert loves the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
For more on Gerrymandering, visit GerrymanderingMovie.com
To find out how to end gerrymandering and what your district looks like, visit EndGerrymandering.com
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