1. No one’s ever repeated the act of doing a mid-census redistricting as [Tom] DeLay did. I mean that was a very, very chance-y thing to do and invited all sorts of legal repercussions. But what they have recognized is the very notion of using partisan redistricting, not just as a means of protection, but as a spear point to gouge the opposition in a way that had never quite been done so aggressively before. No, he’s become a role model in that regard.

    — Journalist Robert Draper on the political legacy of Tom DeLay’s radical re-districting strategy in 2003

    Tom DeLay was the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives. After being indicted for money laundering on September 28, 2005, DeLay stepped down from his position as Majority Leader. On November 24, 2010, DeLay was found guilty, but is out on bail, while his case is being appealed.

    He appeared on Dancing With The Stars in September, 2009.

  2. redistricting

    Robert Draper

    Tom DeLay

    Dancing with the stars

  1. The 27th District of Texas…

    It’s shaped like a Glock pistol. There are a lot of funny shapes in Texas because of the rather imaginative map drawings. One of them is called the ‘Texas Jumbo Shrimp.' There’s another one that looks like a bottle opener. These maps can be very, very fanciful - they’re these kinds of impressionistic representations of the yearnings and deviousness of politics today.

    — Robert Draper on the funny shapes that come out of redistricting

  2. redistricting

    Robert Draper

    Glock pistol

  1. As we’ve gotten more aggressive in partisan redistricting, one effect of this … has been the drastic diminishing of the number of swing districts. So what this means is that districts are becoming more and more red, or more and more blue. If you’re going to win in a red congressional district, then that means you have to be as right wing as possible in the primary – the guy who’s the most conservative wins. And then, really the general election doesn’t count because it’s a red district. The same with a very blue district — you have to be all the way to the left and that’s the person who wins. Those individuals who come to Washington are not individuals who are predisposed to view anything with the desire to compromise. And we saw this phenomenon take place most recently in 2011 rather dramatically with the debt ceiling debate. There have been studies that have shown that the people who were most apt to vote for the debt ceiling deal were people from the swing states and the people least apt to vote for it — the people who were keeping us on brink of default — were those who came from very, very hardcore districts, in this case, usually red districts, Republican districts. And so yeah, it’s a matter of some concern, as we see the intensifying gridlock in Washington, D.C., there’s no question that redistricting has played a role in that.

    — Robert Draper on how redistricting has led to an increasingly polarized Congress

  2. Robert Draper

    redistricting

    partisan politics

  1. Some of these Congressmen have districts along the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River has undergone terrible flooding in the last several months. So now, those congressmen have become very reliant on federal aid and federal agencies such as FEMA in ways they would have never imagined before.

    — Journalist Robert Draper on some of the Tea Party members of Congress. [complete interview here]

  2. robert draper

    tea party

    politics

    congress

  1. I thought that for entertainment value, the House — which has always been a lot more bawdy, a lot more raucous than the Senate, would now even more closely resemble the World Wrestling Federation.

    — On today’s Fresh Air, journalist Robert Draper talks about why he wanted to write a book about the House of Representatives — and how the Tea Party influenced the debt ceiling vote. 

  2. robert draper

    debt ceiling

    politics