Oct 31, 2022 • 52M

Midterm Elections Special: The Surprising History of Gerrymandering

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Appears in this episode

Bob Zadek
Bob talks about the issues that affect our lives on a daily basis from a purely libertarian standpoint. He believes in small government, fewer taxes, and greater personal freedom.<br /><br />America has lost its way, but it cannot and does not need to be reinvented. Our founders were correct about their approach to government, as were John Locke, Adam Smith and the other great political philosophers who influenced them. The country’s first principles are economic and social freedom, republicanism, the rule of law, and liberty. Bob believes we must take the best of our founding principles and work from them because a country without principles is just a landmass.
Episode details

Books about American history are often dry. Even more when the topic is political history. Most of us remember the boredom of civics lessons on log-rolling, pork barrel spending, and Gerrymandering – shortcomings in our democratic system rooted in the selfish interests of our elected officials. Nick Seabrook, however, has managed to turn the topic of Gerrymandering into a work of popular non-fiction that makes the “surprising history” come to life. The New Yorker even named it as one of the best books of 2022 so far.

Seabrook is a professor of political science and public administration at the University of North Florida. He joins me this Sunday to explain why the biggest threat to our democracy comes from the way we draw lines on the map.

The “Gerrymander” – named for the under-appreciated founding father, Elbridge Gerry – is a frightening creature, Seabrook says, because it reverses the traditional mode of democratic decision-making. Instead of the voters selecting their elected officials, the elected officials select the voters. The end result is a rigged system that favors incumbents and party insiders at the expense of We, the People.

Nick will take us through the highlights of Gerrymandering history – from the most egregious examples to the pivotal moments when a Gerrymander forever changed the country’s trajectory. He will also explain how the courts view their role in policing unfair redistricting practices, and which states are the worst offenders.

Before casting your ballot for the midterms, be sure to catch this episode of the show of ideas.