There are some things in life that Canada
is just better at. Poutine, for instance. Being polite. Appreciating Robin Sparkles.
And these days, elections. America does something very weird in its elections. The way elections are supposed to work is voters choose their politicians. But in America, politicians often get to choose their voters. The word gerrymandering comes from Eldrige Gerry, he was Governor of Massachusetts from 1810 to 1812. After he took office, his party redrew the map of the state’s senate districts in a shockingly partisan manner. The aim was to help his party win as many elections as possible by creating as many districts as they could where at least 51% of the voters would favor Gerry’s allies. And that’s basically what Gerrymandering is. We’ve got 435 Congressional districts in this country. Somebody needs to divide them up. And amazingly, most states let politicians divide them up. The results are totally predictable. You can see how this works in North Carolina. Democrats won 50.5% of the House vote in 2012, but Republicans won 9 House seats to the Democrats’ 4. If you want to see why, just look at the
map. Look at District #4. It kind of looks like two legs running away from this whole mess. Look at District #9, which is getting punched in the neck by District #5 and kicked in the gut by District #12. And damn, look at District #12. It’s like a little worm,
wriggling away from North Carolina. These districts may look weird, but they’re what
political scientists call “efficient.” They cluster the state’s Democratic voters into
a few districts where they have huge majorities, and they spread the state’s Republican voters into more districts where they have slimmer majorities. So in District #12, the Democrat won by almost 60%. No Republican won a district by more than 30%. That meant that they could win more districts and more House seats in total. And that’s what happens when you let politicians choose their voters. This is how Canada did it too, but then in the 1960s,
they took the power away from partisan politicians and gave it to independent commissions. America could do this too if it wanted, and then we could stop feeling bad about how much better Canada is at elections, and instead feel good that we get to wear such a nice, polite country as a hat. Hey, I’m Joe, I run Vox Video. Thank you so much for watching. We wanted to play this older video, it’s from about a year ago, because I think only about a thousand of our subscribers had seen it so far. Now there’s 200,000 subscribers, and we’re just so thankful for you joining up. And we hope you get your friends to join up too. We’ll have a lot more for you in the future. If you love making videos, we’re actually hiring, there’s a link in the description. You should click that and come join us!