IN 2010 Republicans won majorities in both houses of Pennsylvania’s legislature, which gave them control of the state’s decennial redistricting process. Like politicians everywhere, they drew districts to benefit themselves; like children left alone with a box of cookies, they went a bit too far. On January 22nd Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court held that the state’s congressional map “clearly, plainly and palpably” violates the state constitution, and gave legislators until February 9th to redraw it. The judges warned that if lawmakers could not come up with a map that the (Democratic) governor approved, the court would draw its own.

That the map benefits Republicans is beyond question. In 2012 Republicans won 13 of the state’s 18 congressional seats despite winning just 49% of the statewide vote. They maintained this share in the next two elections with 55% and 54% of the vote.

The freakishly shaped districts— the 7th won the nickname “Goofy kicking Donald…Continue reading