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World Association of International Studies

Post Gerrymandering in Venezuela
Created by John Eipper on 06/27/18 4:55 AM

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Gerrymandering in Venezuela (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 06/27/18 4:55 am)

I never case to learn something new every day on the WAIS Forum. It is a source of inexhaustible ideas, historical facts, personal anecdotes, ideological debates, economic and political issues. Thanks to WAISers for the benefit.

The latest thing I learned was the word "gerrymandering," new for me, a non-Anglophone by birth.  I was surprised and fascinated both by the meaning and its origin. First, I did not know there was a general concept to manipulate district boundaries to obtain political advantages in the electoral process, in countries where these practices are legally allowed. Second, I learned that the alleged origin of this word dates from 1812 and Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, who redistricted the state to benefit his Democratic party, and one of the resulting Boston districts resembled a salamander.

Now to return to John E's question, "Is Gerrymandering common outside the US?"  Yes, at least it has been very common in Venezuelan elections for the last 20 years, during the Chávez and Maduro regimes. They have repeatedly used this corrupted practice to manipulate elections and to gain advantages through the results.

JE comments:  Anyone who grew up in the US remembers the original political cartoon from the Gerry age.  The image was a staple of history and civics textbooks.  Ol' Elbridge would become Vice President briefly under James Madison.  He died in office in 1814.

Many thanks, José Ignacio, for your kind appraisal of WAIS.  The Forum teaches me something every day, too.

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