California PoliticsWhat is the term, "Gerrymandering," mean and how does it apply to California Politics?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gerrymandering is a term that described the redistricting of voting blocks so as to gain political advantage.  The concept largely benefits incumbents because it consolidates and strengthens the political advantage in one area, drawing lines where the largest block of a candidate's support is evident.  In political systems where there is a "winner take all" approach, non- proportional, the more stacked a district is for an incumbent, the better the chance that they can win out that area.  Conversely, the easier it is for an incumbent to gerrymander an area to their advantage means it's much tougher for a challenger to get a foot hold in an area.  Again, in a non- proportional area, gerrymandering is a politically savvy way to gain control and power.  It is a big thing in California because gerrymandering can allow California representatives to maintain their hold on their district areas and continue their representation.  The challenge is that the Republican governor has called for gerrymandering to end.  This means that California democrats have a politically delicate decision to make: If they oppose the governor, they can probably maintain their seats, but they will look as a party that is afraid of challenges, acts against liberal political views, and a party that is entrenched in "business as usual."  In a political landscape where skepticism about politicians, especially incumbent ones, is rampant, this could be an image problem.  However, if they support the Governor, this could endanger their chance to maintain their hold on specific districts.

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