Introduction to Popular Culture Studies

EXTRA CREDIT – ‘Rigged’ documentary screening

Posted by cliffordpaulparsoniiiesq on November 27, 2016

The “Rigged” documentary presents a lot of in-depth commentary on a startling development in our political system. Right off the bat, I was only vaguely familiar with gerrymandering. I had seen memes and political cartoons satirizing how congressional districts can get cut into wild and confusing shapes, but I didn’t really grasp why redistricting was such a big issue.

The documentary helped me understand why so many congressmen jump at the chance to adjust their constituency in their favor. It’s obviously a problem that dates back decades, as voting rights and demographics have shifted throughout different regions.

I find it peculiar that gerrymander-ers tend to be incumbents who have been around a while. By definition, these incumbents are fighting to keep things the way they are. However, the whole process of gerrymandering is based on the inevitability of change—new demographics relocating, threatening an incumbent’s likelihood of maintaining support. If a congressman won a district because of the rural white vote, then an influx of minority populations would obviously be a bad sign for them!

Getting to hear from the filmmakers themselves was insightful. They did a great job addressing the possibility of bias in ‘Rigged.’ The documentary associates gerrymandering with Republicans, but that’s only because the current examples work like that. When a party loses the presidency (twice), it has to fight hard to maintain influence in Washington. If gerrymandering is something the Democrats would have to do under a Republican head of state, then so be it. It’s all politics, after all! And the Q&A session did a good job explaining that.


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