FUN ACTIVITY! Find the cool shapes in the gerrymandered districts that are destroying the integrity of American democracy!

In an ideal world, we would like to think that politicians live up to expectations placed upon them by voters. That they would be honest, hardworking and do everything in their power to serve their constituents well. Let’s be real though: that seems too good to be true, especially with everything that has gone down in 2020. More often than not, politicians will do what is best for their own interests to get themselves elected. A lot of party loyalty comes with the job as well. This is shown by making sure a party’s constituents are the majority in a district, achieved by making some weird looking Congressional districts. Some of the most notable are North Carolina’s fourth and twelfth districts, Maryland’s third district, Illinois’s fourth district and Texas’s second district. These are just a few of the worst among a multitude of misshapen mapping outlines. We’re going to take a journey around the country, looking at these fun places that we call Congressional districts in the United States of America. 

North Carolina’s Fourth District

Our first example comes out to look like a boot if the part where your foot and toes would be was crushed by a boulder. The left part is very square, almost looking like a somewhat normal shape. Coming off of that is a little skinny piece that connects to what looks like a melting rectangle for lack of a better word. 

North Carolina’s Twelfth District

The shape of this district reminds one of a tranquil trail map at a National Park that follows a branching river. At the bottom, you have the mouth of the river, and as you move up towards the top it tapers off into a multitude of smaller basins. For a less ideal interpretation, it looks like a ball of hair that clumped together and got stuck in the hose of the vacuum. 

Maryland’s Third District

Maryland’s third congressional district shares the most resemblance with an abstract splatter painting. If an artist needed inspiration, they could easily look at this district and achieve that. There are some larger splatters that have a geometric blob effect, and some that are very small and look to be conjoined to the others by just a single strand. Some of these appear to be so thin that it looks like they aren’t even connected to the larger segments. Is this an abstract expressionist piece or a Congressional district?

Illinois’s Fourth District

This odd u-shaped district looks like it was drawn by a preschooler learning how to write their letters. It’s very wide at the top of the shape, with sections that kind of branch out. Then, as it moves towards the curved shape of the U, it thins out and loops back up in a chunky line with lots of square-shaped sections coming off of the mainline. 

Texas’s Second District

Last but not least, we have this lovely district that looks like a misshapen ghostlike figure from a horror movie. The bottom portion of this could also be argued to look like some reptilian-like monster with the tail of a rattlesnake. It then coils around to look like a spine with a hump, a small neck, and a large head that looks like some sort of misshapen quadrilateral. 

Alli Mitchell ('22) is a Staff Writer for the Beyond section. She is majoring in Political Science and double minoring in Art History and Environmental Studies. She can usually be found with a cup of coffee in the library or at LJs. On-campus, she is a member of the Alpha Gamma Phi sorority, works in the Biology Department and at Cup and Chaucer, and is involved in the Phelps Scholars Program. In her free time, she enjoys reading, yoga, writing, hammocking, photography, and spending time with friends.

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