She railed against gerrymandering in an epic tweetstorm. We should all listen.

"Anyone got a minute to talk about gerrymandering?" Laura Moser, a candidate running for the 7th Congressional District seat in Texas, asked her Twitter followers on Dec. 3, 2017.

Candidate Laura Moser. Photo courtesy of Laura Moser for Congress.

Gerrymandering may sound like a silly term coined in an episode of "Seinfeld," but as Moser explained, it's anything but.


In a fiery tweet thread following her initial question, Moser spelled out why gerrymandering is, to be frank, the absolute worst.

Moser's district in Houston — like many across the U.S. — has been heavily gerrymandered. That's why its voting boundaries look like this:

To be sure, as Moser pointed out, there are even more bizarrely shaped districts across the country. Take this one in Chicago, for example.

Then there's the entire state of North Carolina, which gerrymandering's turned into the weirdest blue-and-red jigsaw puzzle imaginable.

But Moser's own 7th District in Texas is still pretty bad.

Not every odd-looking boundary is suspicious, of course. Naturally formed borders like rivers may alter district boundaries a bit, Moser explained.

But when specific blocks within neighborhoods have been redrawn to conveniently slip into different districts? It makes you wonder, she tweeted, "Why ... is one block of Linkwood Drive excluded from the district?"

"Or here, in my neighborhood of West University: why are half of Pemberton and Fenwood in a different district?" she asked.

Like, honestly, Houstonians, what is happening with Jersey Village? As Moser pointed out, things there are getting "pretty baroque."

Nope, a drunk guy didn't map out the 7th District in Houston (or any of these other districts).

"If it seems like whoever drew these lines must have been drunk, think again: this is part of a very calculated campaign," Moser tweeted.

And race (read: racism) has a lot to do with it.

Gerrymandering has the potential to significantly dampen the political power of neighborhoods of color (or those that are poor or younger).

This is how it works:

Basically, gerrymandering is the manipulation of voting district boundaries by politicians to give their party an advantage on Election Day. In other words, politicians can quietly redraw district lines to consolidate or split up certain voting blocs — based on race, religion, socioeconomic status, education level, etc. — to favor their own candidacy or party.

Both parties are guilty of applying this trickery. But the GOP has held majorities across most state legislatures where district boundaries are decided since 2010, and they've abused this ethically challenged privilege far more than their Democrat counterparts.

Take Wisconsin, for example. After Republicans in control there redrew district lines in 2011 — packing left-leaning voters into certain areas when it was politically advantageous, then spreading them out when it wasn't — a court ruled the actions were an attempt to cement an electoral infrastructure favorable to the GOP.

The proof's in the pudding, after all: In the Wisconsin election held after the new district lines went into effect, Republicans won just 48.6% of votes for the state assembly, yet still earned a 60-to-39 seat majority.

The Supreme Court heard arguments for the case in October 2017. The court's decision will likely affect gerrymandering laws for decades to come.

In Houston, Moser argues, "minority" voters are being corralled into districts to give Republicans a larger advantage.

"But WE ARE THE MAJORITY. In Texas and in the nation," she wrote. "The majority of decent Americans who believes in fairness, in treating people with respect."

Her Twitter thread struck a chord with many voters concerned about how gerrymandering will affect votes in Houston — and the rest of the country. As of this writing, the thread has been retweeted nearly 17,000 times.

Moser credits the tweet's virality to people waking up to an increasingly rigged system.

"I hope we can start fighting for the most basic of principles, one that everyone, regardless of party or region, race or income, can agree on: every American should have an equal vote," she says. "If we want citizens to get involved in our democracy, we better make sure it really is a democracy."

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Virginia is poised to become the 23rd U.S. state—and first state in the South—to ban the death penalty after lawmakers on Monday approved legislation prohibiting the practice.

"We're dismantling the remnants of Jim Crow here in the New South. Abolishing the death penalty is another step on that journey," tweeted Democratic Del. Jay Jones, who's running for state attorney general.

Both chambers of the General Assembly passed earlier versions already this month. On Monday, the Senate passed the House bill in a 22-16 vote; the House then voted 57-43 on the measure to ban capital punishment. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has indicated his support for the measure.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

This morning, Joe and Jill Biden went out for a walk with their dogs, Champ and Major, to check out the surprise the first lady had installed overnight for Valentine's Day weekend. The White House lawn has been decorated with oversized hearts that have positive words like LOVE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, and FAMILY on them. The one that says HEALING is signed "Love, Jill."

As they walked along with coffee cups in hand, the first couple was met by a few members of the press. The conversation that they had has gone viral—not so much because of how extraordinary it was, but rather the opposite. It was delightfully ordinary, filled with normalcy, decency, and even a random act of kindness for good measure. And the simple goodness of it all is moving people to tears.

Keep Reading Show less

Just over a month after passing the grim milestone of 400,000 deaths from COVID-19, the United States has surpassed another one. As of today, more than half a million Americans have been lost to the virus that's held the world in a pandemic holding pattern for almost a year. It's a number that seemed unfathomable even six months ago, and yet here we are.

Despite increasing vaccine rollouts allowing us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the loss we've experienced is immense. Having a president who not only understands loss on a personal level—having endured the tragic loss of his wife and baby daughter earlier in life and the death of his son just six years ago—but who conveys with compassion the grief of the nation as we mark this milestone is a comforting change.

Tonight, the White House honored the 500,000+ lives lost with a display of 500 candles lining the steps of the building, with each candle representing 1000 Americans. The president and first lady, along with the vice president and second gentleman, held a memorial moment of silence outside the South Portico as a military band played "Amazing Grace."

Keep Reading Show less