The American Politics: Active Learning in Political Science Essay

Submitted By pkteague
Words: 856
Pages: 4

Philip Teague
7/29/13
Government 2302

Paper #3 Congress

Going into the redistricting game I was expecting it to be simple, no less than five minutes. When I was fifteen minutes into the first game I realized I had underestimated the difficulty of this. Such a simple concept of evening out population isn’t as simple as it seems. There are so many different factors that play into the decision making such as population density, party affiliation, and even something called a contiguity law. You have to balance out the population just right so everything is even, then just when you get it right, you have 65 percent democrats in a republican district. Then you have to redo everything you just did, and try out a new strategy. I can only imagine how frustrating it must be when they do it for real, no computer screen or drag and click. I have gained a lot of respect for the state legislature after doing this. I chose the Republican Party for the first mission and was successful, but not on the first attempt. It took me a while to get the populations balanced out, and once I did that I got rejected because the parties were all off. Then I went back and balanced the population again, and rearranged the party ratio, but I still got rejected. This time it was for a contiguity law, so I tried a third time. Once I balanced the party and population, then made sure the lines were more practical I finally got accepted by all three. It is overall pretty difficult to create districts that meet all the Supreme Court requirements. All three denied me at first, then the legislature said yes, then the legislature and the governor voted yes, then finally the courts also voted yes. The second game I played was the voting rights game. This one had the same basis as the first game, except I had to make a new district and it had to have 65 percent Cuban population. Adding another district plus throwing ethnicity into the equation made this one even harder than the first. It took me a couple tries to get this map passed. All I needed was the courts approval, but I continued to be turned down because of the contiguity law. Finally I was able to perfect the map and get it passed by all three. Another option to the redistricting for other states is to have only one congressional district. This is the case in several states, which prevents plenty of controversy. Texas has the state legislature do its redistricting just like in the game. I personally think the concept of one congressional district is a very smart way of doing this. It requires no redistricting, and is overall a lot easier on the legislature, so there is no balancing of population or party affiliation. When there are several districts it can be close to balanced but it won’t be perfect, but when you have only one district it provides one mass of accurate data since all the votes are combined into one group. The Redistricting game was more of an interactive book than it was a game, an interactive book that helped you understand the government redistricting better. Although there was a purpose, a goal, and different ways to pursue the goal, it is still more of an interactive book…