Texas pizza joint serves only to select customers to show the dangers of gerrymandering
Campaign from Mischief @ No Fixed Address illustrates the threat of aggressive political redistricting on voter rights
Pizza is one of America’s favorite comfort foods. But it becomes a vehicle for making U.S. citizens uncomfortable in this new campaign from RepresentuUs, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting voting and government corruption.
RepresentUs teamed with agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address this past weekend to open a new pizza joint in Texas, Gerry’s Partisan Pizza Shop. However, not everybody was able to enjoy its cheesy, meaty pies—only those living in Austin, TX in the state’s 37th congressional district. The point was to demonstrate how destructive gerrymandering can be to the political process.
The act of gerrymandering occurs when a political group manipulates the boundaries of voting districts within an area in order to win votes in its favor and hurt its opponents. In the case of this stunt, while one group of consumers had access to Gerry’s pies, others living even just steps away from the restaurant were denied them because of district rigging.
The varieties of pizza on offer drove the point home: Mandered Margherita, Choosing Voters Cheese, and Politicians' Pick Pepperoni.
RepresentUs decided to open up Gerry’s in Austin because it said the city represents an example of “extreme packing” gerrymandering that concentrates Democratic voters into one area to reduce their overall influence, as state Republican lawmakers look to bolster the power of its incumbents across the rest of Texas. The organization added that gerrymandering is a country-wide issue that could force 188 million Americans to live with unfair districting maps for the next decade, according to the “Gerrymandering Threat Index” it released in April.
"By rigging the delivery zone of Gerry's Partisan Pizza, RepresentUs is showing voters how politicians manipulate voting districts to rig elections—and giving voters a way to do something about it,” said Joshua Graham Lynn, president of RepresentUs in a statement.
The campaign also includes a hotline of sorts—consumers can text the word pizza to the number 505-405-9505 to start a convo with Gerry himself.
Starting on Wednesday, Gerry will also be going on a two-week food truck tour, during which he’ll be dishing out free pizza plus info on how gerrymandering practices impede voting rights. The truck will make stops at areas battling it out over fair districting maps, including Greensboro and Raleigh, NC; Annapolis, MD; Tallahassee and Orlando, FL; Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, PA; and Madison and Appleton, WI.
“We hope that through the lens of another service Americans love, pizza delivery, more people will see how gerrymandering is undermining our democratic process and diminishing the power of voters,” said Mackenzie Hart, one of the Mischief creatives behind the idea.
Previously, RepresentUs tapped Mischief to create a Deepfake campaign that showed world leaders such as North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin musing over the death of U.S. democracy.
- Oct 25, 2021
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