To End Gerrymandering, Change How We Elect Congress
By now, you’ve probably heard that Congress will once again be up for grabs this November. You will likely feel helpless as a bystander because chances are you don’t live in a district or state with an election competitive enough to matter.
You are roughly 90%Americans know the name of their congressional district. Already in the bagSecurely secured for the Ds/Rs. Even if you are one of the “lucky” ones in a rare competitive district, you might not feel so lucky by Election Day. Expect to receive endless flyers and advertisements on the internet, as well as door knocking volunteer from other states. Prepare for bitter battles between neighbors about lawn signs. If your representative is elected in another election cycle and the political winds shift, you can expect some bitter fights with neighbors over lawn signs.
Elections must be held in an improved way. Here’s what it is. You can change to proportional representation. This will ensure that all votes are counted equally and each voter is heard.
It’s easy to blame gerrymandering, You can’t go wrong with trotting outThere is an old saying about politicians choosing their voters over the other. But much as we like to blame gerrymandering, that’s not the core problem. It’s more fundamental: When House districts have only one representative and Democrats or Republicans reside in different areas, many districts will naturally be lopsided. The location of voters will determine how fair partisan politics are. When Democrats live overwhelmingly in the cities and Republicans overwhelmingly live in the exurbs, the only competitive districts tend to be those at the boundaries, where the “density divide” goes from blue to red.
To understand the problem, let’s start with the state of Colorado, a state that has TrendingThe last elections saw the redistricting go from purple-blue. Colorado utilized an independent redistricting system in the 2021 redistricting cycles CommissionYou can find more information here draw districts. Commission Drawing There are four districts that can be considered safe for Democrats, three districts that can hold Republicans, and one district that is competitive.
Like most states, Colorado has a ConcentrationA large number of Democratic voters live in central cities while there are many Republican voters throughout the less populated areas of the state. Since Democrats tend to live in large cities while Republicans tend to live in smaller towns, it can be difficult for Republicans and Democrats alike not only to win but also draw competitive districts. Most of the competitive districts do not look old. 8ThDistrict in Colorado—they go from the suburbs of a major city (in this case northeastern suburbs of Denver) and extend into exurbs, crossing the density divide between blue and red.
This is the end of the redistricting cycle. Eight PercentThere are many new districts in the country that have been drawn. Independent districting committees are not required to provide competition. Gerrymandering isn’t the reason there are so few competitive districts. It’s because Democrats and Republicans live in different places, and it’s not easy to draw districts that balance them.
It was three decades ago that the party wasn’t so well sorted geographically. Districts account for 40%Competitive could also be possible. However, as the South saw conservative Democrats give way to small-town Republicans and liberal Republicans moved to the coasts and professional-class suburbs of the country, the number competitive districts has steadily decreased. More reliable voters have emerged. partisan.
Colorado is now a democratic state. Last several elections. Is it possible that the Colorado redistricting Commission could have drawn more competitive districts in Colorado? Sure. Let’s say the state settled on a map with two safe D districts, one safe R district, and Five competitive districts. In a Republican wave (and overall the electorate) Waves tend to be more commonPredictably, moving back and forth between D to R), it would be 6-2 Republican. In a Democratic wave years, it would probably go 7-1 Democratic. Because swing districts tend to move in the same direction in an era of nationalized political,
That doesn’t seem fair either.
We now get to the heart of single-members district problems: They cannot be competitive yet fair. Most districts must be secure for either one or the other party to ensure fairness in partisan elections. A lack of safety in most districts could lead to a swing in partisan representation. This is because the state’s political picture can change wildly between elections based on very small shifts. To think further. If all 435 House seats could be contested, imagine the possibilities. A 52-48 Republican election would see almost all 435 House seats go Republican. A narrow win in the popular vote would translate into hyper-disproportionate majority in Congress—devastating the political representation for 48 percent of the country.
Yet, single-member districts are necessary. What is the point of having districts with roughly 750,000 inhabitants that aren’t matched up with any jurisdictional boundaries? This is an unfortunate accident in history that has no theory or justification.
Consider this: If Colorado had one statewide election to elect its House representatives, the Congressional seats would be distributed proportionally. A 50-50 split in popular votes would equal four seats per party. The preferred party will get five seats if the popular vote is close to 60-40. This represents proportional representation. VersionIt is widely used in advanced democracies (except the U.S.).
A major benefit of this arrangement is that each voter from Colorado will be included in the final count, and not only those who live in the single swing district. Even with the competition, the state delegation will be fair to all voters in Colorado, rather than being susceptible to wild partisan swings due many competitive single-member district districts.
But it gets even better. It’s possible for Republicans to elect rural Democrats and Republicans to represent urban areas. You can apply this to all 50 states, which means that Massachusetts Republicans as well as Oklahoma Democrats may have some representation. Proportional representation allows for more parties to be represented across a wider political spectrum. This expanded choice can help to cool down the current polarization in our democracy by breaking free from the binary system of one-member.
Here’s the bottom line: if you’re frustrated this November because you feel like a helpless spectator while control of Congress is decided somewhere else, there’s something you can do. It is possible to demand Congress changes in order for your vote to count. The Congress can be stopped ban on multimember districts This was in 1967, and it no longer makes any sense.. This would allow states to make provision for proportional representation in Congress. Also, you can demand that Congress create a commission to recommend structural solutions to the crisis in democracy. This would help to focus attention on the importance of thinking big.
But don’t just blame the gerrymanderers. Although gerrymandering can be bad, the real problem is the single member district. And that’s something we can change.