Ari Berman Says GOP Uses Gerrymandering to Stay in Power

We speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones and a reporting fellow at The Nation Institute, about his new for piece for Rolling Stone titled “How the GOP Rigs Elections.” “We like to think in this country, if you get the most votes, you’re the winner. But that’s not how it works, because of gerrymandering right now,” Berman notes.

TRANSCRIPT

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Ari, I wanted to ask you about another topic you’ve written a lot about, the issue of gerrymandering, especially in several states. There are several court cases now that have — appear to be headed toward the Supreme Court decision on political gerrymandering. Could you talk about — gerrymandering has existed for — ever since districts have existed in the United States. What’s different about what’s been happening in the last few years under Republicans in some of the local states?

ARI BERMAN: Well, gerrymandering has existed forever, but it’s gotten so much worse in recent years, with the maps being so sophisticated in terms of how they’re drawn, and Republicans, in particular, targeting Democrats in such sophisticated ways. So you have situation in Wisconsin, for example, which is where my new piece in Rolling Stone is set, where, in 2012, Democrats won 51 percent of the vote in Wisconsin, but Republicans picked up 60 of 99 seats in the Wisconsin State Assembly. So you have a situation in America, not just in Wisconsin, but in other states, as well, where Republicans are getting a minority of votes but a majority of seats. And that violates basic norms of American democracy. It violates the whole notion of one person, one vote. We like to think in this country, if you get the most votes, you’re the winner. Well, that’s not how it works, because of gerrymandering right now.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain the role of Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

ARI BERMAN: Well, Wisconsin has really been the test case, the laboratory for the Koch brothers and so many other people, for destroying the…

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