When Thomas Hofeller travelled across the country at the beginning of the decade to talk to lawmakers about the redistricting process, he brought a warning: “Don’t get cute.”
Republicans were fresh off a remarkably successful effort to take control of state legislatures so they could control the redistricting process ― a significant victory, because redistricting is normally only done every 10 years. Hofeller, a veteran Republican redistricting consultant and mapmaker, cautioned lawmakers against drawing “stupid irregularities” in boundaries obviously contorted to include voters likely to support them, The Atlantic reported.
But in 2011, Republicans were focused on maximizing every possible advantage they could squeeze out of the redistricting project, and saw an opportunity to entrench their control of at least 20 seats in the U.S. House. They took it.