Spawn of Gerrymander

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It seems like a crazy way to run a democracy: the party in power can tinker with district lines to concentrate the votes that support them, and dilute the ones that don't. They’re called Gerrymandered districts, because when Governor Gerry of Massachusetts redrew a Congressional district in 1812, a Boston newspaper said the district looked more like a salamander – and they commissioned a cartoon to prove it:

A political cartoon drawn in reaction to the newly drawn Congressional electoral district of South Essex County, printed March 1812

But why stop there? With a grant from The Awesome Foundation, the design writer Rob Walker commissioned a group of artists to embellish the convoluted shapes of districts where the incumbents are shoo-ins for reelection tomorrow. He calls the series "Spawn of Gerrymander." Graphic designer Jennifer Daniel turned Texas’s District 35 into a machine gun. She calls her illustration, “If You Can Read This You’re In Range.”

Texas 35th

Some artists embraced the absurdity of the Gerrymandered shapes, like Leif Parsons, who transformed Illinois’s 4th congressional district into a surrealist portrait of a face with a tongue sticking out titled, “To The Voting Public…”

Illinois 4th

Illustrator Steve Brodner couldn’t decide what to do with Philadelphia’s 7th congressional district, so he tried a couple of versions, including this dino-creature impaling a voter in the back.

Pennsylvania 7th

Walker says, “If these visualizations don’t drive home just how absurd partisan districting practices have become, I don’t know what will.” Too bad an overall 8% approval rating for Congress won't be enough to budge the vast majority of seats.