Gerrymandering: How politicians rig elections

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!

  1. Elections under the 2-party system charade are a fraud in numerous other ways too. But the public will keep voting for them over and over expecting different results.

  2. WHAT THIS SHOWS, BUT IS NOT EXPLICITLY STATED BY VOX for fear of seeming biased, is that REPUBLICANS have gamed the system systematically and shamelessly without a shred of serious regard for fair elections. There is little difference between Republican electoral strategies and abject corruption.

    The GOP is following a coordinated plan to bias the political process to serve them in every way possible. Voter ID and Citizen's United are aspects of this plan (Yes, even Republican members of the Supreme Court are willing to throw our most cherished beliefs to the side to serve their desire to dominate the nation.

  3. Why don't all the votes just get counted up in the database. Seriously why are there districts that only represent possibly 51%

  4. As a fellow videomaker, I love what your doing! Would you be hiring Canadians for your video department? Perhaps working remotly?

  5. lets get rid of this type of government people ruse up against the evil government. if its not good for some its not good for all.

  6. Can I just say that I want to give a shout out to the graphics department of Vox. Y'all always put out excellent looking videos, seriously on point.

  7. The name's pronounced with a hard "G" even though the term's pronounced with a soft G. And there's some interesting research showing that non-partisan commissions who emphasize keeping communities together and creating compact districts fare similarly poor on measures of partisan fairness. And yes, there's Iowa, but they have a computer program for it, and that works in Iowa because you have homogenous, square counties with small populations (except Polk) and no VRA issues. Sorry for nitpicking-it's a good video and I love Vox, but I'm a poli sci nerd who's easily nerd sniped.

  8. Canadians are also better at pronouncing Poutine… It's pronounced like the words "Puts In" Say puts-in fast and there you have it.

  9. Well, wait a minute. We still have a FIRST PAST THE POST system. Which means that effectively, the guy who gets 40% of the vote walks away with the Prime Minister's office.

    And in our ridings, only one winner prevails. You can conceivably have 5 candidates (let's say this is Quebec), and the guy who gets 21% of the vote walks away the winner. It's absurd. WE'RE NOT MUCH BETTER. And, we're also seeing some politicians (like the Liberals) promise reform, but you know…politicians.

  10. How about you tell us how this gerrymandering resulted in Obama's 2 elections? Or are you going to tell us that it's only gerrymandering if republicans do it?

  11. This isn't the only problem. The FEC, DNC, and GOP do much more than just gerrymandering to rig elections. Like all but total rejection to third party candidates.

  12. Or, we could go a step further by removing people from the process entirely – draw districts using a predetermined algorithm that leaves no room for human decision-making.

  13. I'm so confused how Box doesn't have more people watching them. Your content is amazing, they way you spread information like that with in 2-4 minute video is crazy.

  14. very little understanding of how canadian political system works if you seriously think our system is any worse than the usa.

  15. Vox should do a video on how the Canadian Prime minister wants to change the Canadian voting system from first past the post to preferential voting.

  16. Independent Commission? In Malaysia, such commission is also pretty much control by government party too, since the commissioner are appointed by the King 'under the advice of prime minister'.
    And I heard that in Canada, prime minister is very powerful include directly appoint the EC commissioners?
    So how independent is that?

  17. That, in a nutshell is one of the primary reasons that we are in this mess. Gerrymandering ensures a tight 2 party control of government. And when overwhelming majorities are carved out in most districts, there is no incentive for members to cross party lines or compromise.
    Get rid of gerrymandering and carve out districts with a near 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans. You will force more competitive elections thus eliminating the need for term limits. And elected officials will pay more attention to issues that are more important to people of the opposing party and encourage coalition building with 3rd parties.

  18. Any chance you could do an update to explain some of the complexities discussed in the "Are we counting poverty all wrong?" episode of "The Weeds" ?

  19. The assumption that Canada has a better electoral system is mistaken. Many a Canadian party with a minority of popular vote has formed the government with our first past the post system. We are also in need of electoral reform that ensures more democratic outcomes. With proportional representation, for instance, we'd have circa half a dozen greens in parliament now, except just the one.
    Deciding leadership strictly by popular vote has its own inherent dangers in that, without some checks and balances, a representative voice for other platform voters can suffer unfairly to the point of societal rupture. But it certainly looks like some adjustments needs to be made to the US Electoral College to provide a fairer election – and purging the country of egregious electoral suppression in some areas would seem like a critically priority for any democracy-loving citizenry to address.

  20. I haven't really understood who of the politicians chooses…? like the democrats and the republicans both want it to work in their favour right?

  21. Or get rid of constiuencies altogether. It made sense to have your own representative in the 18th and 19th centuries, but today we have the internet and all issues are national issues. Imagine how much better we would be if we had a Party-List Proportional Voting system… That means each party gives a list of their 535 candidates, and you vote for parties. If one party gets 35% of the vote, then the top 35% of candidates on their list get sworn into office, etc. That way if a third party gets 5% of the national vote, they get to fill 5% of Congress instead of 0%. Diversity of ideas is more important than diversity of geography.

  22. This will NOT be the gerrymandering video i share. It does not really explain how the districts are drawn up. The music is distracting. The comments about how great Canada is compared to the USA will make this vid offensive to some, thus reducing your receptive audience. The creative metaphors about the shapes of the districts does not make anything clearer.

  23. 0:05 then why has every Canadian I've ever met been a judgemental idiot??

    Is the quiet majority hiding from me or something or are other people just blind???

  24. As a Canadian, I am so sorry your political system is so messed up. Also, I was watching this to study for my political science midterm, gerrymandering is now very clear to me 😂

  25. We need to switch to the shortest split line (or the closest we can get to that keeping counties together). Math has no bias unless you're Einstein or someone.

  26. LOL he talks about them wanting all 200,000 subs to have a chance to see it… we're now 3 years past the reupload, the sub counter is closing in on FIVE MILLION and the video has less than 200,000 views. D'Oh! Something went horribly wrong with the people subbing to Vox 😉

  27. If things don’t change soon Canada better start building a wall to stop our great northern immigration to the promised land.

  28. Gerrymandering only works because winning in a district with only 51% of the vote has the same effect as winning with 100% of the vote. The Single Transferable Vote with multiple members per district would help solve this problem.

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