The following is an excerpt from Albert R. Hunt | October 15, 2017 | Bloomberg.com |
Political polarization in the U.S. is intense and damaging. The Supreme Court could take a small step to mitigate it by limiting partisan gerrymandering.
Curtailing patently political drawing of districts for the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislatures wouldn't markedly change the partisan composition of either. Under a fair redistricting plan that isn't designed to help one party at the expense of the other, Republicans, who controlled most of the power after the 2010 census, might lose up to 10 House seats. They'd still retain a solid majority. (When Democrats control the levers of power, they act the same way.)
But many district lines are contorted to create safe seats in a general election, usually for incumbents. If the job of drawing them were done by nonpartisan commissions instead of party activists, as now happens in four states, dozens more seats might be competitive. Competition makes politicians reach out to uncommitted voters instead of playing to their core base.
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