The British Parliament represented 5% of the British people at the time of the American Revolution.  Parliament was divided into two parts.  Hereditary and honorary noblemen got seats in the House of Lords without standing for election.  Commoners stood for election to seats that represented cities and wealthy farmers in the House of Commons.  The Lords could veto decisions of the Commons. 

Parliament existed because ancient lords forced a king to sign a constitution-type document to create the Parliament because the lords wanted taxation with representation.  They wanted power to vote down or vote up the king's tax plan.  Early Parliaments had only one house and represented only lords, who had the lions' share of wealth and were almost the only taxable people in the land.  Everyone else paid rent to the lords, who then paid the king's taxes out of their rental income.

Lords could keep more rental income, if kings taxed commoners directly and lords continued to collect rent per ancient rental agreements.  For this reason, the Lords opened the Commons, theorizing that the king could tax all commoners if 5% of commoners were represented in Parliament. 

During the 1800s, Lords increased the percentage of commoners represented in Commons because commoners had done the math, kings wanted to tax more, and lords wanted to keep more rent. 

With the increase of common representation came the risk that Lords might lose control of Commons.  Lords saw a need to manage election results in the new voting districts they created.

Lords devised a mapping strategy known as the gerrymander.  Gerrymandering creates irregular and oddly-shaped districts where regular and uniform districts would serve the common people better.

With Great Britain for a role model, it's not a surprise that US government has turned out to be what it is.

I happen to live in an area of Chicago with a US Congressional district that's been gerrymandered over a gerrymandered Illinois General Assembly district gerrymandered over gerrymandered wards. 

In Chicago, famous for racial and ethnic neighborhoods, gerrymandering guarantees that a particular ethnic group will vote racist or ethnic rather than vote smart.  Alternatively, a district can be gerrymandered to throw it to another kind of demographic and deprive an ethnic group or race its very own discriminatory representation.   

The result is representatives who sell their demographic, race and/or ethnic group up the river and out.

Local politics is the art of pretending it isn't true.

from Chicago Board of Election Commissioners

Chicago's gerrymandered wards 30 and 31 after 2012 ward remap

Chicago's gerrymandered wards 30 and 31 before 2012 ward remap

Chicago's gerrymandered wards 30 and 31 after 2012 ward remap

Chicago's gerrymandered wards 30 and 31 before 2012 ward remap

top illustration:

Metal sculpture of Puerto Rican flag

across Division Street at California (2800W)

Garish symbol of Hispanic dominance of the Humboldt Park area, the former ethnic diversity of which Studs Terkel memoralized in Division Street.


practical applications

public finance