If rigging elections were legal, this is how it'd look. Because it's exactly how they do it.

Rigged elections are like the stuff of movies. It's hard to believe it can happen in real life.

But it turns out it can and does. All the time, actually. But not at the polls.


Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/Getty Images.

It's a common practice known as redistricting or "gerrymandering." The process can be very confusing, and politicians have little to gain by making it easier for us to understand.

Thankfully, fact wizard Adam Conover is coming at us with the basics of how gerrymandering works.

The former CollegeHumor personality who now stars in truTV's "Adam Ruins Everything" is here to break it down with the eye-opening clarity we need.

All images from truTV/YouTube.

"Every 10 years," he explains, "politicians redraw the districts that pick the House and state legislatures."

But that's not the problem. This is:

So in effect, they can determine election outcomes years ahead of the actual elections. And obviously, politicians with that much control are going to exercise some bias.

Conover illustrates this twisted but totally legal concept with the fictional state of “Newstateadelphia."

Voter registration in this state is pretty straightforward: 40% are members of the Yellow Party. The other 60% of voters belong to the Purple Party.

So creating electoral districts should be pretty easy, right?

"Now, if you divided this state into districts fairly, you'd get perfect representation," Conover explains. "Three purple districts and two yellow districts."

Here's what fair districting would look like:

But "fairly" and "politics" aren't always words that go hand in hand.

As Conover points out, if the Purple Party controls the entire district-making process, they can create districts that give them complete control over the state.

Here's what that might look like:

Redrawing districts so Purple voters are the majority dramatically increases the likelihood of a Purple candidate winning in that district. And once your party is in power, you can start passing laws.

It also works in reverse: Even a party with fewer voters in an area can redraw districts to their benefit.

"Even though the Yellow Party has less voters in Newstateadelphia, if they're allowed to redraw the lines, they can still win," Conover says. "And this happens every election year in America."

Does that sound like rigging an election? Some would would say it's the very definition of it.

Watch Conover's full explainer below, and if you want our votes to carry the weight they deserve, pass this along.

More

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

Keep Reading Show less
More

Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture