QUIZ: Gerrymandered US Congressional District Or Rorschach Inkblot?

Rorschach Test Congressional Disctrict

Ever wonder why Congress can maintain a 10% approval rating while still having an incumbent re-election rate over 90%?

Well, the answer’s pretty simple and it’s called Gerrymandering. It’s the process by which state legislatures map districts to guarantee victories for a number of their candidates, regardless of how voters feel.

A legislature held by Party A can deprive Party B of Congressional seats by two redistricting strategies, packing and  cracking.

Packing means that they map a district containing a huge majority of Party B supporters, minimising their effect in the rest of the state. Cracking means that they make sure members of party B are in the minority of most districts by spreading them out between districts. 

The result is some really funky looking districts.

We took some of the weirdest shaped districts from the 112th Congress, reflected them so that they’re symmetrical, and put them up against the famous Rorschach inkblot test. 

Can you tell the difference between a gerrymandered congressional district and a Rorschach inkblot? 

I think it looks like a moth.

It's California's 20th Congressional district, where Rep. Jim Costa represents a solidly Democratic district linking the cities of Fresno, Sanger, Selma, and Lamont in the far south.

This looks like two people looking at each other.

It's just a Rorschach test.

It seems like a skull.

But it's actually New York's 9th congressional district, a solidly Democratic district represented by Yvette Clark, a hodgepodge of seemingly random parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

This looks like a crab, right?

Represented by Democrat Frank Pallone, this elaborate district manages to connect Plainfield, Edison, New Brunswick and Asbury park for a solidly Democratic district.

Seahorses. Calling it.

It's the ninth card of the Rorschach test.

Space invaders?

Nope, It's Illinois' ludicrous, ear-muff shaped 4th District in the heart of Chicago, held by Rep. Luis Gutierrez which connects to largely Hispanic neighborhoods by way of Interstate 294.

This looks like a Cylon raider.

...an assessment which would probably throw the Rorschach test analyst for a loop.

It's a guy in a tuxedo with really long arms.

Nope, it's North Carolina's 12th Congressional District, which packs as many of the state's Democrats into a single district as possible to keep them out of other districts.

This seems like two people fighting over something.

It's the third card on the Rorschach test.

Two guys dancing.

Held by Democrats since 1903, the 3rd district — now a slightly retooled 5th — connects Jacksonville, Gainesville, Pine Hills and and Sanford.

Three AT-STs from Return of the Jedi.

Actually, Pennsylvania's 12 district, currently held by Republican Pete Rothfus. The 12th connects several cities and suburbs around Western PA, Dodging Pittsburgh but also leaving room to the west for the rural 18th district.

Two cats climbing a chair.

This is the 8th card of the Rorschach test.

Flying saucer going through a forest.

It's actually North Carolina's 3rd District, comprised of coastal, conservative, and rural communities and held by Republican Rep Walter Jones.

The face of a miffed Gorilla.

It's actually Maryland's nonsensical 3rd Congressional District, held by Rep. John Sarbanes, a heavily-Democratic district which finds a way to connects a bunch of random Maryland cities that aren't Baltimore.

A large angry person.

It's card 4 of the Rorschach test.

This looks like a star.

It's the sixth card of the Rorschach test.

This looks like an eagle.

It's actually Maryland's 4th District, held by Democrat Donna Edwards, which also connects a bunch of random non-Baltimore cities in Maryland. Maryland is a really weird state.

A particularly irate owl about to hit my face.

Another Maryland one! Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger holds by far the nuttiest district in all opf Maryland, which keeps with its predecessors in dodging Baltimore but linking several other urban, Democratic leaning areas.

Two gnomes high-fiving.

Card two of the Rorschach test.

A four eyed irate raccoon.

Just the first card of the Rorschach test.

A football player who emphases leg and shoulder workouts over arm workouts.

It's Arizona's 2nd congressional district, held by Democrat Ron Barber but typically a fairly Republican seat. The reason for the odd shape — especially the slim line running along the course of the Grand Canyon — is that isolated Northeast region is the area of the Hopi tribe, while the surrounding area is held by the Navajo.

Dr. Robotnik from the Sonic games.

Actually California's 39th district, which skirts the city proper but connects a string of major right-leaning L.A. suburbs for Republican Ed Royce.

A bat.

Card 5 of the Rorschach test.

A poofy dress.

It's Massachusetts' 4th District, connecting a number of Democratic strongholds and held by Democrat Rep. Joe Kennedy III.

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