Gerrymander is an American political term, usually a verb that means manipulation of the boundaries of a political district. It’s done by the party in power, usually after a census, and is designed so that the results of an election will favor the political party doing the manipulating. Many American political positions at the state level are based on residential geography, as is the federal House of Representatives.
Usually it means chopping up a district favorable to the other party and attaching pieces to districts favorable to your own party, so the other party’s voters are outvoted by your own. Or areas that strongly favor the opposing party can be combined into one district that will vote very heavily for them, allowing you to win several districts that are majority your party.
It memorializes a particular politician. The politician was a governor of Massachusetts, named Elbridge Gerry. In his state in 1812, a district was manipulated into so peculiar a shape that a newspaper editor thought it looked like a salamander, and in a moment of inspiration added the Governor’s name to call the strangely shaped district “Gerrymander.” The name stuck
Governor Gerry’s anti-Federalist manipulations of election districts in Massachusetts have long since become obscure history, but the term remains alive and well, as does the process of gerrymandering. There’s an outbreak of gerrymandering following every Census. The courts may someday hear cases on gerrymandering, but currently it is legal.
Like,comment and follow : Greg’s Business History.