Even if the country is seemingly in an academic freefall, Jon Stewart took heart in this year’s Congress being “hailed” as the least productive in U.S. history, and particularly House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) request his party be judged not by how many laws it passed, but by how many laws it repealed.
“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can stop your country from doing,” Stewart exclaimed in response.
But the root cause of the “legislative clusterf*ck,” correspondent Jason Jones explained, was the rampant gerrymandering around the country, which has left only 35 truly contested congressional districts, which are then drawn up by consultants like Kimbrell Brace, who described himself as an “artist” in an interview with Jones.
“It’s not just squiggly lines,” Brace told Jones. “You have to understand what’s behind each line. And there’s, many times, a story behind each line.”
And Brace’s “piece de resistance,” Jones found, was Illinois’ 4th Congressional district, described as a union of the “Puerto Rican part in the northern part of Chicago with the Mexican part in the southern part of Chicago,” interrupted by the city’s African-American community running through the middle in the 7th District.
However, Brace’s work does not sit well with Melanie Sloan, head of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
“These people are not artists,” Sloan said. “They’re a cancer on our democratic system of government. Their whole aim is to undermine our democracy.”
“You know, people said the same thing about Picasso,” Jones responded.
“I really doubt that they did,” Sloan answered.
Watch Stewart and Jones’ take on gerrymandering, as posted online on Tuesday, below.