We found Andrew’s map “intriguing” for its premise: how to create districts with diverse constituencies. He specifically designed a map that does not define communities of interest as “homogenous.” In doing so, he created an unbelievable 15 competitive districts. The result was a map with long, thin, districts (hence, his name for the map).
While the map is less pretty than others, we found Andrew’s personal statement to be persuasive and interesting. We admired his zeal for civil discourse. He explains his rationale for choosing to rank diversity above other political and social values by saying that this would require elected representatives to acknowledge and appeal to the different living styles and values of their constituents.
And we loved that Andrew clearly had so much fun with the project.
One of Andrews’ other maps, #7178, that he calls “Gerrymandering is Bad,” won an Honorable Mention, in significant part because of his personal statement. We urge you to read read Andrew’s two statements together. As a blended statement, they’re pretty powerful.
This one was really fun to make and I enjoyed every bit along the way. Not only did it test my abilities to work with this software, it also made me laugh at how absurd the map was and tested my patience. I'd say those are very important lessons! I named it Snakes because the long, stretched-out districts remind me of those creatures.
In all seriousness, many of my peers have addressed concerns about the map and it's impracticality. Despite that, I have thought about the ways in which it might actually work. While it might sound ridiculous and completely theoretical, it could be closer to working than I expect.
I am willing to conduct an experiment in which we try long, stretched-out districts instead of compacted districts. I believe this might work because, with these extended districts, more different kinds of people will be included in each one. What do I mean? For instance. My District 12 stretches from Lebanon County all the way to Pittsburgh. So what? Along the way, from left to right, it goes from a city, to a suburban area, and to a rural area. This means that representatives must appeal and acknowledge the different kinds of living styles and values of their constituents. Civil discourse is a necessity in having successful representation.
Conducting this experiment would also test whether it might produce a reduction in partisanship or prevent some representative actions such as logrolling, the process in which a representative votes for another's bill in exchange for that person's vote on theirs. Why do I think that? I think it's because, if I made district 12 compact, it would be largely Republicans and rural areas. Perhaps making District 12 less compact but more varied could also reduce radicalism in the notion that its congressperson must not only now represent Republicans, but a significant group of Democrats as well.
I have also included two minority-majority districts in order to offer minority citizens fair representation as well. Remember, despite being of the same party, different races can have different beliefs.
While this is all theoretical, I am willing to give it a try in the real world. I believe the only limitation is that redistricting only occurs every 10 years in line with the Census, so some of the reasons for making such snaking districts might fade with time.
In spite of all that, I loved every second I spent making thissssssssssssss. Sssnakessssss!