For a brief moment on the evening of January 6th, when — after the insurrectionists were routed from the U.S. Capitol Building — the Senate reconvened to certify the election of President Biden, it looked as though the GOP might finally denounce and abandon Donald Trump. That night, Senators from both sides of the aisle condemned the insurrection, and only eight Republican Senators ended up voting to overturn the certification of the Electoral College. But that moment of reconciliation and political readjustment passed when, a week after the insurrection, only ten Republican members of the House voted to impeach Trump.


Independent Redistricting Commissions as a Solution for Partisan Gerrymandering

The Consent of the Governed Part 5// Listen to this as a podcast.

Part I: The Nuclear Option

On November 1, 2011, the Arizona State Senate voted 21–6 along party lines to remove Colleen Coyle Mathis from the state’s independent redistricting commission. Mathis had been the chairwoman and the sole independent member of the five-member committee appointed to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative district maps following the 2010 Census. The impeachment of Chairwoman Mathis, prior to it’s initiation, had been known as “the nuclear option” in the long-running battle between the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and the Republican-controlled state government, and talk of impeachment…


Rucho v. Common Cause and the Future of Gerrymandering

The Consent of the Governed Part 4 // Listen to this as a podcast.

Part I: Statistical Outlier Analysis Goes to Court

In the most recent iteration of The Consent of the Governed, I talked about statistical outlier analysis and why I believe it to be the most effective measure to detect partisan gerrymanders and successfully take them to court. This time, I want to go back to a pair of 2019 Supreme Court cases I briefly discussed in episode #1Lamone v. Benisek and Rucho v. Common Cause (primarily the latter) — and look at how the Supreme Court approached statistical analysis in contrast to its…


Statistical Outlier Analysis and the Solution to Gerrymandering

The Consent of the Governed Part 3 // Listen to this as a podcast.

2016 North Carolina (Republican-gerrymandered) remedial congressional map

Part I: Authoritarian States

Thomas Hofeller, “the master of the modern gerrymander,” died in August 2018, leaving behind a trove of secret files, emails, studies, spreadsheets, and other documents relating to Republican gerrymanders and the Trump Administration’s 2019 attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. …


The Efficiency Gap and a Solution to Gerrymandering

The Consent of the Governed Part 2 // Listen to this as a podcast.

Part I: Breaking a Quorum

In 2000, prior to the 2001 nationwide redistricting, the Texas congressional delegation was comprised of 18 Democrats and 12 Republicans, slightly favoring Democrats, who had received approximately the same 48% of the statewide House popular vote as Republicans. In 2001, the Republican-controlled legislature attempted to redraw the lines and gerrymander the congressional map to disadvantage Democrats. However, this effort ultimately failed, as the new maps did not pass the state legislature, and the courts stepped in and drew the maps themselves. In the 2002 House elections


REDMAP and American Democracy

The Consent of the Governed Part 1 // Listen to this as a podcast.

Part I: The Gerry-mander, REDMAP, and How to Win an Election Without Really Trying

Gerrymandering is the process of redrawing a Congressional or state legislative map in order to advantage a political party or protect an incumbent politician from being removed from power. The Constitution mandates that there be a reallocation of seats in the House of Representatives every ten years, which coincides with the Census (Article 1, Section 2). The Census records the population statistics for each state, and as state populations change, so too must the number of seats each state receives in the House of Representatives.


If you haven’t heard, we are currently living through a pandemic. The whole nation, as well as much of the world, is shut down, sheltering in place, and social distancing. As a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, 15 states and Puerto Rico have delayed their primary elections, as long lines outside of polling places are a perfect environment for the virus to spread.

Apparently, the Wisconsin Republican Party hasn’t heard about the pandemic, or, more likely, doesn’t care. Over the last few days, the Wisconsin GOP has worked tirelessly, in conjunction with Republican-appointed, conservative members of both the Wisconsin…


How We Got Here And Where We’re Going

Part I: The Problem

There has been a lot of bad news recently: the Coronavirus pandemic is sweeping the globe, the economy is in near-freefall, we are facing a cataclysmic climate crisis, and uncertainty and fear are in abundance. I have felt this anxiety, more so in recent weeks than ever before. It feels as though we are on the brink of something, something terrible and frightening. But I am reminded of the words of Czeslaw Milosz, in his book The Captive Mind, written in 1953, just after he defected from Communist Poland. In it, he reflects on the Nazi occupation of his country:


How the American College System Keeps Out the Smart, Poor Kid

At Gettysburg College, as of this year, 22% of the first-year class received pell grants. Pell grants are essentially federal subsidies for college students, and they are usually received by those who fall in the lowest 40% of America in terms of income distribution.

This is, I admit, an extremely high number for an East Coast, private liberal arts college, and a genuine improvement over even a couple years ago, when only 14% of the first-year cohort received pell grants. …


I want to start with a lesson from Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History. In the episode entitled Burden of Proof, Gladwell borrows from a presentation he did at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, in which he describes the story of Friedrich Hoffman. Hoffman was the senior statistician at the Prudential Insurance Company in the early 20th century. His job was to travel around the country and interview people, to find out what the major causes of death were in communities across the United States. Hoffman was key in determining the link between asthma and the sooty black dust that…

Carter Hanson

I’m Carter Hanson, a student at Gettysburg College from Boulder, CO studying political science. I love to write in-depth editorials on politics and the world.

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