Gerrymandering Explained

Queen Lion of the Animal Kingdom is giving
more democracy to her citizens by adding a legislative branch to the government. The citizens each get one vote and are divided
into ranges. Each range will elect one representative to send to the newly created Jungle Council. To best understand how this system works,
lets look at a small colony where there are just two political parties: Buffalo & Jackalope. This colony is divided into four ranges. In
the first election Jackalope candidates win two of them and buffalo candidates win the
rest. All is well for several election cycles until
the Animal Kingdom Census taker comes round and shows that the population has both moved
and grown. To better represent the larger population
a new seat is added to the Jungle council so the ranges’ boundaries must be re-drawn. This is where the trouble begins. Re-drawing
electoral boundaries is a huge political problem. To help them, the representatives of the Jungle
Council hire a weaselly consultant to figure out where the new boundaries should go. If Weasel draws rectangular boundaries everything
is OK because the jungle council will, as close as possible, reflect how the citizens
vote. However, Weasel doesn’t do this. Instead he
tells the Buffalo Party that, for a price, he can turn their slim majority into a landslide
victory in the election. With a super-majority on the Jungle Council
the Buffalo wouldn’t have to listen to those pesky Jackalope filibusters anymore, so the
Buffalo gladly pay up. How can Weasel deliver on his promise? It’s
depressingly simple: by packing together as many jackalope voters into one range as possible
and spreading the rest of them out, The Buffalo Party can win an additional seat without any
voters switching allegiance. What Weasel and the Buffalo have done is called
‘gerrymandering’. The intensional changing of electoral boundaries for their benefit. Several election cycles later the under-represented
and disgruntled Jackalope party approaches Weasel and asks if he can manipulate the ranges
to be in their favor instead of the Buffalos’. Indeed he can. Using the same trick, Weasel
packs Buffalo voters into a few ranges and spreads the rest among the Jackalope supporters. After the election the Jackalopes, who represent
a minority of the voters are now, nonetheless, the majority party on the Jungle Council. This is the terrible power of Gerrymandering:
Weasel can take the exact same voters and get either party to win the election. Unsurprisingly, Weasel’s business grows and
eventually every colony in the Animal Kingdom pays him to gerrymander their ranges. With so many clients, Weasel now uses his
computer test hundreds of thousands of range combinations with elaborate statistical models
of voter behavior to get the results he needs. Queen Lion has seen what Weasel is up to and
banishes him from her kingdom. But, the census taker reminds her that ranges still need to
be re-drawn as the population changes. So how is it going to be decided? Queen Lion suggests the obvious solution:
a bi-partisan committee must agree on all new range boundaries. This seems like a good idea. After all, if
both parties have to agree on the ranges, then they must end up being fair to everyone. But, after a few election cycles using this
solution, Queen Lion notices that she always sees the same faces on the Jungle Council.
Representatives almost never get defeated in their elections. It turns out that the interests of the representatives
and the interests of the citizens are not the same. Citizens want elections where the
candidates have to earn their vote. These are close elections where either candidate
has a chance of winning. But, representatives don’t want close elections,
they want safe elections. Elections where they run in a range that is filled with supporters. Because the representatives are in change
of the boundaries they make the safest ranges possible. So, bi-partisan committees are not enough.
To truly fix gerrymandering there are three options: The first is to set up a politically independent
commission of appointed experts or judges to draw the boundaries. Independent commissions are much better than
bi-partisan committees, but still not ideal because they usually group similar areas together
so the elections are uncompetitive. And there is always the possibility that the
independent commission is not as independent as it appears. The second option is to let math decide the
boundaries. There are a number of ways to mathematically divide an area into equally
populous ranges. The simplest example of this is called the
‘shortest split-line method’. Find the shortest line that splits the voters in twain and repeat
as necessary until all the ranges are made. This is much better than an ‘independent’
commission, but it does have the problem of occasionally producing skewed election results
just through pure bad luck of where the boundaries are drawn. But by publishing the algorithm used, all
citizens can check the results and be confident that there is no intensional bias in the system. The last solution is an unexpected one: hire
back the weasel and embrace gerrymandering. But this time, pay him make the winners most
closely match the voters as a whole. While it seems unsavory, this is actually
the best way to avoid disproportionate representation which is, by far, the the worst problem of
gerrymandering. But, considering these three solutions leaves
Queen Lion grumpy. The first two are improvements, but still
may result in uncompetitive elections or disproportionate results while the third just feels wrong.
Gerrymandering to avoid the problems of gerrymandering is… odd. Remembering what she learned about voting
before, she realizes all this gerrymandering is really just a symptom of a more fundamental
problem: the method by which each citizen gets only one vote and elects only one representative. There are ways to eliminate gerrymandering
and restore competitive elections to make her citizens happy, but to do that Queen Lion
is going to have to make some big, fundamental changes to her democracy.

100 thoughts on “Gerrymandering Explained

  1. There's one problem here: your focus on close races. Sometimes an area will overwhelmingly support one side or another, and that should be expressed in the legislature too

  2. Proportional Gerrymandering is the perfect solution as long as the council of lions are the ones who draw the lines instead of the weasel

  3. The second Buffalo vs. Jackalope system almost exactly mirrors Wisconsin. Last election was bad. 40% of the votes got 70% of the seats.

  4. what if you dont have representetives and the voters directly vote for the candidates? ok its an obvious solution why arent we doing it?

  5. The real takeaway is democracy only works long-term with a dictator on top that's impossibly altruistic and neutral for someone with that much power.

  6. The original Gerry mander was done by Elmbridge Gerry (pronounces Gerry not Jerry) on the state of Massachusetts and when people noticed the unfair redrawing on districts they said “that looks like a salamander”

    “Not a salamander, a Gerrymander”

    The reason we call the process Gerrymandering is because of a bad pun that mispronounced the name

  7. I would vote for the census taker's party, he seems smart
    But my vote wouldn't matter because of Gerrymandering

  8. Just let every citizen vote directly for the representative they want, the Netherlands has been doing this for as long as it has been a democracy and it did not create a two party system.

  9. Moral of the story:Lets havr a dictatorship, less headaches,mord simple applicattions of policies while even in some cases doing it better that over bureocratic democracies of idiots xD
    By the way I am joking

  10. Another criticism of shortest line method is that it leads to a even number of representatives if done fairly.

  11. My only problem with this video, Lions are male, or at least the one in the picture is, how is it "Queen Lion" ? Shouldn't that be Queen Lioness or King Lion?

  12. Thanks for the video man! Really helped me understand gerrymandering. Elections are so complicated! Keep this up.

  13. Or stop thinking in 2d, stop supporting the duopoly (listen to and allow and foster multiple parties for diversity and fairness in representation. When all you have to choose from is D's and R's you will never get true representation.


  15. Just don't use the fucking electoral college, how hard is that?

    It's supposed to be fair, and how it's not even fair anymore.

  16. You are suggesting that somehow humans will vote for a candidate no matter what. Explaining it in the animal kingdom where obviously all the species vote for their candidate is not how it works in the real world. People swing their votes all the time, and if a candidate is good enough, they can completely override gerrymandering, in human society that is. Gerrymandering isn’t an actual thing, but just a way for people to complain about politics not being fair. So go fuck yourself

  17. Weasels do have a purpose? I guess people like him better than toad.. as a member of a swamp family. I say yea

  18. A better system would be if larger populations got more representatives than the smaller populations and have all the borders permanently square. That way the problem with gerrymandering is dodged and populations get proper representation.

  19. It is way more straightforward than any of those solutions. Ban political parties and have elections where the people of each district have secret ballots where everyone in the district is a potential candidate. No electioneering allowed, and the person with the most votes in the district is the representative.

  20. Why do we need elections and "representatives"? We need problem solvers. And the best solutions are not arrived at by voting.

  21. What about using AI which analyzes the problem and draws lines, since it's a computer it can't be bribed or swayed and if it was done in a controlled environment incognito then it wouldn't become a target for hackers (or you can use quantum computing to secure the AI)

  22. Just take the numbers of votes and whoever has the most votes wins, it's not fucking hard. Why does america have to be so stupidly confusing?!?!?

  23. I came back to watch this video in September 2019 reminiscing about the unique wonderful quirky strange amazing crazy stuff that took place in the past decade… The twenteens have been memorable 😊

  24. I don’t under how almost 300 people gave 👎🏻 negative. Is the fact that you like. Is Entrench politicians in there districts what they like.

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