In Response to: Math Versus Politics

Yes, gerrymandering is undemocratic. But it also reveals why democracy is undemocratic. The idea that democracy somehow is more representative than oligarchy, aristocracy, or some other system is false. Democracy gives one the impression -- a very false one indeed -- that somehow one-man/woman one-vote can make a system really representative. This ignores the role of money, the role of mental incapacity, the differences between voters and their motivations, their sense of what their real interests are, and many other factors. Gerrymandering is simply one way -- a very visible one -- of undermining democracy by practicing it. There is really no solution to this problem. Even a construction of electoral districts strictly along what look like objective mathematical criteria cannot really make elections more representative. The rich will always have in effect more votes than the poor, the dead will always vote in heavy numbers, and those who stay home will thereby also vote. I think Plato would agree with me.

Norman Ravitch *62
Savannah, Ga.