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784: Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map

This American Life

This American Life

News, Politics, Society & Culture, Arts

4.686.4K Ratings

🗓️ 6 November 2022

⏱️ 62 minutes

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Summary

Not long ago, Republicans in Ohio passed a constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering in the state. And then a funny thing happened. The same Ohio Republicans drew electoral maps that violated their own constitutional amendment. They’ll be using them in this week’s midterm elections. We try to understand how that could happen.

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0:00.0

A quick warning, there are curse words that are unbeaped in today's episode of the show.

0:05.4

If you prefer a beeped version, you can find that at our website, thisamericanlife.org.

0:10.6

Okay, so this week, like the rest of us, Ohio is going to do the polls.

0:16.7

And in Ohio, there are more people who vote Republican there, but not a lot more.

0:21.2

Donald Trump and Barack Obama each carried the state twice.

0:24.3

If the congressional delegation reflected the breakdown of Democratic and Republican voters

0:28.5

in the state, there would have eight Republicans and seven Democrats sitting in the House of Representatives.

0:34.2

But right now, it is not that.

0:37.2

There are not seven Democrats.

0:38.9

There are four.

0:40.6

That's probably the best outcome the Democrats can hope for in this week's election.

0:44.8

In fact, they could do worse, which of course, what are the Democrats' chances for holding control

0:50.4

of the U.S. House of Representatives?

0:53.2

And why, you may ask, are Democrats only going to take two or three or four seats and not seven?

1:00.7

At one level, it doesn't have anything to do with the issues or politics or Biden or anything like that.

1:06.3

It really just comes down to gerrymandering.

1:09.3

The districts are drawn to favor the Republicans.

1:12.8

Mostly, by smashing lots of Democrats into just a few districts,

1:16.8

giving Republicans majorities and the rest of them.

1:19.6

In Ohio, the states would serve bad as bad as they come.

1:23.5

But here's what's different about Ohio.

1:26.1

A few years back, something very unusual happened.

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