Partisan Gerrymandering: Conversations

Story posted March 27, 2018 in News by Katie Litwin

Gerrymandering experts Judkins Mathews, Scott Conklin, Michael Berkman, Charles Stewart III and Mark Major. (Photos by Katie Litwin)

As congressional district maps all over the country face mounting scrutiny for partisan gerrymandering, the Supreme Court must answer the question of how to deal with this political gamesmanship. I speak with several experts in the topic to answer questions about the consequences of partisan gerrymandering in our elections and beyond.

Breaking it down: Partisan gerrymandering?


Gerrymandering has been around for two centuries in the United States. But computer modeling has made it so much more efficient, that it has become a constitutional issue. A video explainer.


Michael Berkman: Covering the basics

Michael Berkman is a Ph. D professor at Penn State specializing in American state and local politics and policymaking. In this video he describes partisan gerrymandering and the implications on American democracy.

Scott Conklin: Partisan gerrymandering through the eyes of a legislator

Scott Conklin, D-Centre County, is the representative for the 77th district of Pennsylvania. He has served in the Pa. House of Representatives since 2006. He says partisan gerrymandering has definitely impacted his political career. 

Judkins Mathews: How government structure allows gerrymandering to happen

Judkins Mathews is an Associate Professor of Law at Penn State University. His focus is in public law, looking at constitutionality rights adjudication and proportionality review. He says that the fundamental structure of American democracy lends itself to partisan gerrymandering. 

Charles Stewart III: The way forward to solve partisan gerrymandering

Charles Stewart III is the Kenan Sahin Distringuished Professor of Political Science at MIT, where he has been since 1985. His specialty areas of focus are in congressional politics, elections, and American Political Development. He says there are simple solutions to gerrymanding, including independent redistricting commissions. 

Mark Major: Setting a new political agenda

In the finale of the series, Mark Major, is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. He specializes in the American presidency, the news media and political communication. He says the political conversation needs to change to emphasize the value of bipartisanship and seeking consensus. 

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The video explainer Breaking it down: Partisan gerrymandering was created with a grant from an enrichment fund administered by the College of Liberal Arts. Written and storyboarded by Katie Litwin, graphics by Pagano Media, produced by Katie Litwin.