The term “gerrymander” or “gerrymandering” (after Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry and the salamander) means to reshape the electoral district lines in such a way that it resembles a strange electoral animal. A drawing of the “gerrymander” (the “gerrymandered” election district) was published in the Boston (MA) Gazette on March 26, 1812.
The state of Texas (with Rick Perry, a Republican, holding the governor’s seat) was redrawing district lines in 2003. U.S. Representative Chris Bell (a Democrat from Houston), was reported in the Houston (TX) Chronicle of June 19, 2003, saying:
“"Perry-mandering is clearly the order of the day.”
Following the 2010 U.S. census, district lines were being redrawn again. The term “Perrymandering” (or lower-case “perrymandering") was used again in 2011 by Democrats against Rick Perry (the third-term governor).
Wikipedia: Rick Perry
James Richard “Rick” Perry (born March 4, 1950) is the 47th and current Governor of Texas. A Republican, Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor of Texas in 1998 and assumed the governorship in December 2000 when then-governor George W. Bush resigned to become President of the United States. Perry was elected to full gubernatorial terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010. With a tenure in office to date of 10 years, 252 days, Perry is the longest continuously serving current U.S. governor, and the second longest serving current U.S. governor after Terry Branstad of Iowa.
In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected districts. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that word can also refer to the process.
Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular demographic, such as a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.
When used to allege that a given party is gaining disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes that some perceive as positive, such as in US federal voting district boundaries that produce a majority of constituents representative of African-American or other racial minorities (these are thus called “minority-majority districts").
The word gerrymander (originally written Gerry-mander) was used for the first time in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812. The word was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under the then governor Elbridge Gerry (pronounced /ˈɡɛri/; 1744–1814). In 1812, Governor Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his Democratic-Republican Party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a salamander. The exact author of the term gerrymander may never be definitively established. It is widely believed by historians that Federalist newspaper editors Nathan Hale, Benjamin and John Russell were the instigators, but the historical record gives no definitive evidence as to who created or uttered the word for the first time. The term was a portmanteau of the governor’s last name and the word salamander.
Appearing with the term, and helping to spread and sustain its popularity, was a political cartoon depicting a strange animal with claws, wings and a dragon-like head satirising the map of the odd-shaped district. This cartoon was most likely drawn by Elkanah Tisdale, an early 19th century painter, designer, and engraver who was living in Boston at the time.
Houston (TX) Chronicle
New battle brews over redistricting
Senate could hold key; White House joins lobbying
R.G. RATCLIFFE and CLAY ROBISON, Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau
Published 05:30 a.m., Thursday, June 19, 2003
AUSTIN—Gov. Rick Perry reignited a partisan fire Wednesday by calling a June 30 special legislative session on congressional redistricting, an issue killed by Democrats last month when they staged a walkout that shut down the statehouse for four days.
“Perry-mandering is clearly the order of the day,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Bell, D-Houston, who might lose his district in the process. “This is the worst Texas politics has to offer and voters should be deeply offended.”
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From: (Name withheld by request)
Date: 12 Jul 2003 13:22:58 -0600
Local: Sat, Jul 12 2003 2:22 pm
Subject: Perrymandering .. GOP defecates on Texas
July 11, 2003, 9:27PM
Redistricting without the people, against the people
New York (NY) Times
Tom DeLay’s Down-Home Muscle
Published: July 17, 2003
Despite such Keystone Kops embarrassment and the current resistance in Austin, Gov. Rick Perry, a DeLay loyalist who spawned the term Perrymandering, is indicating that he may call another 30-day session when the current one expires. Providing, of course, that Mr. DeLay dictates a further act of political farce in the heart of Texas.
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From: Mitchell Holman
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2003 14:37:52 GMT
Local: Sat, Jul 26 2003 9:37 am
Subject: Re: Texas Redistricting
It is called “Perrymandering”.
Posted by drizzten on October 19, 2003 12:50 PM
That’s John Ratliff in the Washington Post. Hard to disagree with him. He also proposes the term “Perrymandering”: wildly unpopular redistricting-by-proxy. Others (Molly Ivins and Ginger Stampley, for example) and have been using the term for some time, but mostly as a political pejorative.
Lines in the Sand:
Congressional redistricting in Texas and the downfall of Tom DeLay
By Steve Bickerstaff
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
The art of “gerrymandering” soon became known by Democrats as “Perrymandering.”
‘Perrymander’: Redistricting Map That Rick Perry Signed Has Texas Hispanics Up in Arms
By David Wasserman
Updated: August 22, 2011 | 11:03 p.m.
August 19, 2011 | 9:13 a.m.
A federal court in San Antonio could ignore the map that Democrats deride as the “Perrymander” and draw a new plan de novo, replacing Republicans’ plans for a congressional delegation divided 26-10 in their favor with a map that potentially could cost the GOP a disastrous three, four, or even five seats.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Tuesday, August 30, 2011 • Permalink