Good story from Mara Liasson on NPR this morning reporting on the nascent but growing efforts across the country for redistricting reform for state legislatures drawing congressional boundaries. It’s no surprise that fewer and fewer congressional districts are competitive. When the lines are drawn so that winning a primary effectively wins the district, we’re rewarding extremists on both ends of the political spectrum to appeal to their most partisan bases. The D’s have their safe seats, the R’s have theirs. In Colorado, there’s really only 1 competitive seat (6th) and a couple that every once in a while can get interesting (3rd, 7th). Nationally, there are increasingly fewer and fewer competitive seats. The red districts get redder, the blue gets bluer. No one in these noncompetitive seats are incentivized in any way to work with the other side — why risk getting primaried? And we wonder why nothing gets done in DC? So why are we leaving the job of line drawing to self-interested partisans who want to let the partisans keep driving the redistricting bus?
Might it be better for a dispassionate, professional process that removes partisan considerations to establish as many competitive congressional districts in Colorado as possible? Make it imperative for politicians to have to compete for the middle — without pandering to their base — and we’ll create a Congress that can get things done.
Tie this with other reforms — top-two primaries anyone? — to help make it imperative for politicians to have to compete for the middle without catering to the more extremist wings of their parties and we’ll create the space for a Congress that can get things done.
- The Disappearing Congressional Middle (thecenterwins.wordpress.com)
- Let people be heard: Approve referendum on redistricting (jsonline.com)
- States Aim To Cure Hyper-Partisanship With Primary Changes (npr.org)