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Gerrymandering goes back centuries and has been practiced by both political parties. Whichever party has a majority in a state's legislature at the time of the 10-year census gets to draw the boundaries of the election districts, and there's no law that dictates on what basis it to be done, so naturally it's purely an exercise of political power. Why give this power to the states? Because at the beginning, the original 13 colonies insisted on retaining their sovereignty (what's called states' rights) in exchange for ratifying the constitution. Another legacy of this is the electoral college by which the states override the popular vote for president of the U.S.
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