THE STATES: Shoestrings & Saddlebags

The President revived an old, familiar problem: gerrymandering in congressional election districts. Last week he asked Congress to lay down a strict set of rules for redistributing the states' allotted Representatives more equally among their populations, as tallied in the 1950 census.

Harry Truman had the weight of facts and logic on his side. Politicians had outdone themselves carving out weirdly shaped districts designed to increase their power at the expense of their opponents. Illinois had "saddlebag" and "beltline" districts; Mississippi had a "shoestring" district, 40 miles wide and 600 miles long; and...

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