When Voting Can't Save Us

voter suppresion
credit: BP Miller

As our country drowns in the aftermath of two mass shootings, gun control activists are springing into action.

Those appalled by the violence have started scheduling protests, contacting their representatives, and urging people to “vote, vote, vote!”

But what happens when your vote just… doesn’t matter? When the system is so rigged, so thoroughly manipulated, that voting doesn’t make a difference?

That’s what’s happened in Texas, where gerrymandering has all but guaranteed Republicans’ stronghold over the state. The GOP has redrawn the district map so as ensure that no Democrat has a chance in hell of ever winning an election.

Needless to say, Texan Democrats are feeling pretty fed-up, especially when they get the blame. Many took to Twitter to explain how their state has become dominated by NRA-backed Republicans and “vote, vote, voting” won’t change that.

One Twitter user said it best when they wrote,

“We are not a red state. We are an oppressed state. Gerrymandering has put the power into the few. Stop telling us to just go vote. We vote. But the system is rigged. We need help. We are being held hostage by this corrupt government. It is such a helpless feeling.”

Unfortunately, Texas isn’t the only state that has been gerrymandered into oblivion. While both parties have manipulated district lines over the years, Republicans have become notorious for illegally redrawing the congressional districts, often ensuring that POC’s votes don’t matter. States like Texas, South Carolina, Ohio, and North Dakota are even facing numerous lawsuits, all claiming racial discrimination.

A clear-cut example of this occurred in 2020 when Texas gained two congressional seats due to population growth. Although the growth mainly occurred in the Latinx population, heavily-Latinx populated communities weren’t the ones to get the representation. Instead, the map was drawn in such a way that heavily white-populated communities benefited instead.

If we ever hope to enact gun policy change in NRA-owned states, we’re going to need to address gerrymandering first.

One such organization that hopes to fight gerrymandering and voter suppression, which often act in tandem, is the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). The organization, started by former Attorney General Eric Holder, pursues lawsuits challenging congressional maps and also campaigns for state Supreme Court contenders in the hopes that getting the right judges elected would help the cause.

If you’re interested in learning more about gerrymandering, voter suppression, and how you can get involved, head to the NDRC’s website here.

Wondering what gerrymandering is happening in your own state? Check out FiveThirtyEight to see your state’s map.

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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and The Challenge. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her taking an absurd amount of photos of her tuxedo cat Tom.