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Why is gerrymandering bad? Let John Oliver explain it again

Why is gerrymandering bad? Let John Oliver explain it again
[Photo: Lloyd Bishop/HBO]

The U.S. Supreme Court just punted on the issue of partisan gerrymandering, handing Republicans a huge political victory by saying it had no role to play in the issue. In other words, politicians can draw their own districts to favor their own party instead of representing the actual political leanings of the electorate, and the Supreme Court isn’t going to do anything about it.

If the importance of that rather obscure bit of American politicking eludes you, let John Oliver explain—again.

Two years ago, when the Supreme Court had just agreed to hear the case on political gerrymandering, Oliver very adeptly broke down the concept on his HBO show, Last Week Tonight. Political gerrymandering is basically a tool used to give one party an edge in state legislatures and in the House of Representatives. He noted, “In a democracy, the question of who gets to draw the map should not have as much significance as it currently does.”

To illustrate his point, Oliver pointed to the voting district lines in Pennsylvania and Ohio, which were drawn in such a way as to give Republicans an edge in ostensibly Democratic districts. “Those numbers are way out of proportion to what people should expect,” Oliver said. “You wouldn’t expect Neapolitan ice cream that’s 70% strawberry. That’s not okay.”

“Election results should not be the results of politicians’ crazy lines,” Oliver added. “They should be the result of our own crazy decisions.”

Unfortunately, the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court disagrees with him. Watch the full segment—or rewatch it—in the embedded video below:

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