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Reply to Tom Rowe "Nonpartisan Districting: A Solution to Political Polarization?"

Waldo Johnston

January 3, 2014

Category: Society > Government and Politics

I'm writing a brief comment in strong support of Tom Rowe's opinion that redistricting has skewed our political landscape to the point that our elected officials fromĀ  both parties have become so wedded to the positions held by the large majorities in their districts that they cannot compromise with their opponents without risking excoriation — and a swift dismissal from office. The result, as we all know so well, is our country's greatest problem — political gridlock at most levels of government, frivolous debates, self-serving legislation, frustration for the many politicians who do take their responsibilities seriously, and disenchantment for American voters who have given Congress and other bodies the lowest approval ratings in history.

While these problems Tom describes are pretty well known, the solution is more elusive. One reason seems to be that although voters across the board are unhappy with their legislative bodies, these same voters like — and continue to reelect — the persons who represent them. Consequently, the more these convoluted redrawn lines help the voters in their own district, the more beholden they are to keeping these lines intact.

I am therefore all the more pleased that Tom has presented the approaches taken by the voters in California to mend this enormous problem. I wish the citizens of his state continuing success in doing so, and urge the citizens across the nation to take note.

I suspect that Tom would join me in welcoming additional possible solutions from our '64 classmates.

Thanks for this opportunity to respond.