October 7, 2020

Redistricting Moneyball Map Aims To Counter Partisan Gerrymandering

To the Editor:

I’m writing to praise the work of the non-partisan Princeton Gerrymandering Project and to promote their Redistricting Moneyball 2020 Map to those looking for concrete actions to revitalize our democracy.

While the presidential and senate races receive constant coverage, state legislative elections are also enormously consequential this year. After the 2020 census, states will redraw their legislative maps effective for the next decade. The details of this work vary by state, but in several states the process is controlled by the legislature. In states completely controlled by one party, this often leads to maps purposely skewed to the party in power. The severity of skew has increased dramatically with the advances in mapping software over the last decade — so called “gerrymandering on steroids.”

In a dreadful 5-4 decision the last term, the Supreme Court acknowledged that partisan gerrymandering is “incompatible with democratic principles,” but decided that it could not be resolved in federal courts. Effectively then, the next round of partisan redistricting will be unconstrained from any pretense of fairness.

The Redistricting Moneyball Map aims to counter this distressing trend. The map identifies six states currently under unified control (4 Republican, 2 Democrat) and grades the state legislative races most likely to flip the state legislature and give the minority party a seat in the redistricting process. This is enormously helpful as it focuses attention on the races that have maximum leverage to prevent partisan gerrymandering — hence the “Moneyball” name after the trend in baseball analytics for poor teams to maximize the effectiveness of their salary allotments to compete with rich teams. In the case of redistricting, the Moneyball Map identifies races that potentially provide the most democracy for your (political contribution) dollar.

Most helpfully, the Moneyball Map links directly to candidate websites. If you are inclined to make political contributions still in 2020 (make them soon), then visit the map. Pick a state. And then give to the top ranked candidates. Because state legislative campaigns tend to raise $100,000 to $200,000, compared to hundreds of millions in presidential campaigns, even small dollar donations can make an impact in supporting these candidates and rolling back the anti-democratic disease of partisan gerrymandering.

Eric Schreiber
Stanley Avenue