How Gerrymandering Leaves Us With Lauren Boebert

How Gerrymandering Leaves Us With Lauren Boebert

Sometimes I am both amazed and appalled that Lauren Boebert and I hail from the same state.  And trust me- it has nothing to do with the fact that this pitiful excuse for a congresswoman, whose name ironically shares a voiced bilabial alliteration with the word “bimbo”, opted to give a handy during a performance of Beetlejuice to a first date who turned out to be a Democrat.   Sure, I find it revolting that even in the midst of her half-hearted apology for the incident, she refused to take any sincere accountability, instead suggesting that her conduct was attributable to the political affiliation of her date.  But if anything I give her credit for “reaching across the aisle”, in a manner of speaking.  In fact, I don’t even fault her for being the kind of ignorant redneck that poses for holiday photos with guns, brags about giving birth in the front seat of her truck, or calls for a “full investigation into just how many puppies were eaten alive on [Anthony] Fauci’s watch.”  After all, as Ron White famously suggests, “You can’t fix stupid.”  But what I do mind about this top-heavy human bobblehead doll is her foisting of her deranged and imbecile ideology on the rest of us.  Seems that stupid people used to have the good sense to at least recognize that they might not be the quickest bunny in the forest.  Now they run for Congress.  And thanks to the travesty gerrymandering has wreaked on American democracy, they actually win.

Yes, gerrymandering has become the bane of our representative republic, furthering the divide between us and incentivizing stupidity and polarizing perspectives.  While gerrymandering is as old as the 1812 Massachusetts Governor campaign by Elbridge Gerry that spurred the coining of the term, it has become more and more commonplace with the drawing of Congressional district maps beginning to look like something out of a Rorschach ink blot test.  In 2010, Republicans, in an effort to control the drawing of congressional maps, forged a campaign to win majorities in as many state legislatures as possible. It was wildly successful, giving them control over the drawing of 213 congressional districts. The redrawing of maps that followed produced some of the most extreme gerrymanders in history. In battleground Pennsylvania, for example, the congressional map gave Republicans a virtual lock on 13 of the state’s 18 congressional districts, even in elections where Democrats won the majority of the statewide congressional vote.  Making matters worse is the Supreme Court’s 2019 ruling in Rucho vs. Common Cause that found that gerrymandering for party advantage cannot be challenged in federal court.  In other words, we are now stuck with this shit.

Have you taken a look recently at your state’s congressional district map?  It looks like what would happen if you gave a magic marker to a kindergartener and asked them to have a stab at drawing their favourite foods.  But don’t be fooled by the seemingly haphazard recklessness of these renderings.  Using intricate computer algorithms and sophisticated data about voters allow map drawers to game redistricting on a massive scale with surgical precision.  The result is that the vast majority of voting districts in this country are no longer viable competitions between the parties.  Each district is created to be reliably red or blue leaving incumbent candidates in the position of only needing to stave off competition from within their own party in a primary contest before moving on to a predetermined result in the general election.

This, of course, leaves politicians accountable to only half of the constituents of their district, thus undermining the very principles of representational government as envisioned by our nation’s founding fathers.  Alexander Hamilton defended representative democracy as the best manner for intelligently articulating the will of the people, but warned that representatives must be generally adherent to that will, “The republican principle demands that the deliberate sense of the community should govern the conduct of those to whom they intrust the management of their affairs.”  But because gerrymandering relegates modern-day political contests to primaries within a given party in which generally only the most rabid and far-reaching perspective voters actually cast a ballot, this favours candidates who are on the extreme left or right, abandoning the sizeable majority of American voters who fall much more in the middle.  Instead of getting centrist politicians who fairly represent our collective values, we end up with whackadoodles like Boebert who is all volume, and no content.

The same is true, though, on both sides of the political aisle.  Emboldened by inexorably Democratic districts, left-leaning representatives have pushed an agenda of political correctness that also fails to fairly represent the general populace and only serves to alienate the few remaining voters of the American middle.  Leaving us in a world where we are compelled to regularly announce our gender pronouns and avoid even otherwise benign language that anyone could possibly find offensive, politicians on the left have found themselves rallying behind an absurdist agenda rooted in fear and a feeling of continual persecution rather than finding viable solutions for the very real problems confronting average Americans.

This false dichotomy has only served to push us further apart as a community.  While the conflict-inspired algorithms of social media certainly play a significant role in this as well, extremist politics leave us more and more disconcerted about the policies being enacted on the other side of the aisle.  Democrats worry about the evaporation of reproductive freedoms, common sense gun control, and the erosion of basic democratic norms.  Republicans worry about the ever-encroaching invasion of cancel culture.  And so we retreat into the corners of our own congressional districts, left to wonder why we feel like none of these fuckers actually represent our views.

Meanwhile, Lauren Boebert, for her part, recently announced that she is switching congressional districts from Colorado’s 3rd to Colorado’s 4th.  If you are wondering how someone can represent a district they don’t even live in, well, don’t worry your little head about such trivial details as that.  Instead, focus on the why here.  Even though Boebert currently represents a district that somehow magically contains both the Eastern plains and Western Slope of the state to form a preconceived concoction of conservative goodness, it turns out that she may have finally pushed even that envelope too far, alienating voters who have found her antics childish and unworthy of her position.  Narrowly winning re-election two years ago and with recent polls showing that she has lost significant support within her home district, Boebert is switching to the even-more conservative 4th district so that her victory is all but assured, leaving the rest of us in the unenviable position of having to put up with her own rare brand of stupid for at least two more years.  In fact, with the continued unchecked progress of gerrymandering, Boebert will probably go on to a long career in politics.

Steven Craig is the author of the best-selling novel WAITING FOR TODAY, as well as numerous published poems, short stories, and dramatic works.  Read his blog TRUTH: In 1000 Words or Less every THURSDAY at