Rob Walker | Essays

Spawn of Gerrymander: Steve Brodner’s Pennsylvania 7th

Brodner responded to the shape of Pennsylvania's Seventh Congressional District—or "ridiculous new Seventh Congressional District," as Philly.com called it in 2011—with three visualizations. In "Raptor Town," above, a dinosaur (fitting!) impales a woman one might imagine as an unsuspecting voter.

Below: "District Hold Up" depicts the districts as two entities, with a few suited thugs menacing the many. And "Bleeding Liberty" … well, what can I add?

It happens that this district is a product of what Real Clear Politics mused might be "the gerrymander of the decade." But I think Brodner's response speaks not just to one district, but to this project's broader theme: More than 200 years after a famous political illustration drove home the absurdity and injustice mapmaking designed for politicians rather than voters, gerrymandering is alive and well. Maybe if we see that more clearly, we'll do something about it.

That's been our goal this week. Thanks for taking a look.

I hope you've been bothered by what you've seen.

Steve Brodner is a New York-based graphic artist and political commentator. His work can be regularly seen illustrating political and cultural articles as well as his own art journalism in major magazines in the US. He also writes, teaches, lectures, and makes movies. Follow him on Twitter here, or on Facebook here.

Spawn of Gerrymander is a series in which some of our favorite illustrators use their talents to help us see the true shape of poltical mapmaking in the twenty-first century: introductory essay here; browse the whole series here. This project has been made possible in large part by a grant from The Awesome Foundation's Awesome Without Borders chapter.

Posted in: Illustration, Politics

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