Social Sciences

Start Free Trial

Is gerrymandering good or bad? Why?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Additionally, jerrymandering results in an interference with what is normally a sort of geographical and historical cohesion in an electoral district, since jerrymandered lines can be and often are drawn in ways that cut traditional electoral districts off from one another.  I come from a city of hills, valleys, and rivers, and many communities are formed on the basis of such features, historically banding people together in a way that they have a history together and common interests in voting.  I know that if my area were jerrymandered in certain ways, there would be zigzags of lines that would completely cut off geographical and historical communities from one another, diluting each area's ability to see to it that its interests are represented properly.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This is, to some degree, a matter of opinion.  My own view is that gerrymandering is a bad thing.  I believe that it makes our political system more partisan and more divided.

Gerrymandering is the process of drawing political electoral districts in ways that are meant to help the political party that is doing the drawing.  Typically, this means drawing districts in such a way that your own political party gets more seats in the legislature.  With this definition in mind, we can see that gerrymandering is something that is done for partisan gain and not for the good of our country.

In our society as it exists today, gerrymandering is particularly negative because it contributes to the hyper-partisanship that is so harmful to our country.  The parties gerrymander electoral districts, making sure that as many seats as possible are “safe” for their party.  This means that fewer and fewer legislators have to run in “swing” districts where they have to appeal to people of both parties.  Instead, the majority of our legislators run in one-party districts where their best path to success is to become more partisan and extreme.  This is harming our country badly (at least in my view).

It is hard for me to see any good in gerrymandering.  It is a process that is done in order to rig the political process to help the party that is doing it.  Doing this is selfish and (in my view) unethical and it results in a more partisan and less unified country. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial