Bushmanders and Bullwinkles: How Politicians Manipulate Electronic Maps and Census Data to Win Elections
- Mark Monmonier
- English (Published)
- English (Original Language)
- English (Unknown)
Written from the perspective of a cartographer rather than a political scientist, Bushmanders and Bullwinkles examines the political tales maps tell when votes and power are at stake. Monmonier shows how redistricting committees carve out favorable election districts for themselves and their allies; how disgruntled politicians use shape to challenge alleged racial gerrymanders; and how geographic information systems can make reapportionment a controversial process with outrageous products. He also explores controversies over the proper roles of natural boundaries, media maps, census enumeration, and ethnic identity. Raising important questions about Supreme Court decisions in regulating redistricting, Monmonier asks if the focus on form rather than function may be little more than a distraction from larger issues like election reform.
Characterized by the same wit and clarity as Monmonier's previous books, Bushmanders and Bullwinkles is essential background for understanding what might prove the most contentious political debate of the new decade.
What's more, redistricting has never been more complicated. Monmonier walks readers through all the important controversies, paying special attention to the furor over majority-minority districts. He describes the paradox of the first Bush administration working with black and Hispanic groups to create these jurisdictions--on the theory that packing minority voters into overwhelmingly Democratic districts would dilute their influence elsewhere and thereby help elect more Republicans. The result was a surge in black and Hispanic members of Congress (a goal of the minority groups), plus gains for the GOP. Achieving this required sophisticated software, and resulted in messy, fractal-shaped districts.
This is an outstanding guide to these once and future controversies. It's also loaded with maps, which are essential to any understanding of the subject. For readers looking for a primer on this complex but vital and fascinating topic, there may be nothing better than Bushmanders and Bullwinkles. --John J. Miller