Some Republicans have stated their party received a "mandate" from the voters in the November 6 election because the Republicans retained control of the United States House of Representatives. "Mandate," in this context, is defined as "the instruction as to policy given or supposed to be given by the electors to a legislative body or to one or more of its members." The American College Dictionary, 1962 ed.
As I wrote last week, Indiana’s delegation in U.S. House is a good example of the success of the Republican Party in how to gerrymander: of total votes cast in the nine Congressional District races, 53.12% were cast for Republican candidates and 44.49% were cast for Democratic candidates, yet seven (7) seats went Republican and two (2) went Democratic.
Nationwide, Republicans won 53,822,442 (48.2%) of the vote while Democrats won 54,301,095 (49.0%). FairVote, described as a non-partisan group, issued a statement that 52% of the underlying American vote favored Democrats. Yet Republicans hold 234 seats as compared to the Democrats’ 201. This makes for a stand-off on many questions, the most prominent, given the issues of the last campaign, that of taxation of the "rich."
Each State (or, in the cases of Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts "Commonwealth") draws the lines for its Congressional districts. That is a task for the legislature. In Texas, Federal courts deemed to product so skewed it was determined to be in violation of the Constitution. After all, in Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, 82 S.Ct. 691, 7 L.Ed.2d 663 (1962), the United States Supreme Court set forth the rule of "one man/one vote"—or that people have a right to proportional voting. Violations occur a suspect class—one of race or ethnicity, for example—is the basis for the way in which the districts are skewed. Republicans were more efficient in their respective State legislatures, in commandeering the task of redistricting.
Each of the two "major" political parties has been guilty, at one time or another, of gerrymandering. The practice originated with the first Congressional election (when Patrick Henry sought to exclude James Madison from the U.S. House) and was named because of actions by what is today the Democratic Party. Gerrymandering should be available as a tool to neither.
Most certainly, Paul Ryan should not claim the Republican Party has a "mandate" of any sort. His party LOST.
Again, Congressional district lines should be drawn by non-partisan hands. There are various alternatives available.