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Hypocrisy legacy, part XXIV: Obama was for gerrymandering before he was against it

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By Doug Powers  •  January 19, 2017 07:55 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

It’s Obama’s final full day as president, and he leaves office a staunch opponent of gerrymandering:

Obama also spoke out against political gerrymandering, saying the concept is “bad for our democracy, too.”

That’s certainly odd, given that Obama in some ways owes his political career to gerrymandering:

In 1996, during his first run for office, in the Illinois State Senate, Obama defeated his former political mentor Alice Palmer by successfully challenging her nominating petitions and forcing her off the ballot, effectively ending her career. A few years later, Illinois Democrats, after toiling in the minority in the Senate, gerrymandered the state to produce a Democratic majority. While drafting the new political map, Obama helped redraw his own district northward to include some of Chicago’s wealthiest citizens, making the district a powerful financial and political base that he used to win his U.S. Senate seat, a few years later.

Obama still has the pen he used to redraw Illinois districts to his benefit, except until tomorrow at noon it’s being used to sign executive orders (which he’ll also call “bad for our democracy” when Trump does it).

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

Posted in: Barack Obama

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Categories: Barack Obama, Health care, New York Times, Paul Krugman