Congress has grown more polarized and paralyzed due in part to partisan redistricting in key states around the country. Most districts in the House of Representatives are so red or so blue, that the campaigns are won or lost in the primary. The framers of the Constitution would no doubt be shocked that so few members of the “People’s House” are actually held at risk in general elections.
In 2015, there are only 30 districts in the country where the Member of Congress is of a different party than the party of the Presidential candidate that won the district in 2012. For instance, there are 25 Republicans that represent districts in which President Obama won in 2012 and 5 Democrats that represent districts in which Mitt Romney won in 2012. In the 1990’s and 2000’s, there were upwards of 60-80 “competitive” Congressional districts. The voting records of the 30 members that currently sit in these swing districts is decidedly more moderate than those who are elected in deep red or deep blue districts.
We believe that if the redistricting process in 2021 is designed in a less partisan way in key states, it will be possible to create at least 10-20 additional “competitive” districts, in which more moderate members of Congress can be elected. Increasing the number of moderate members by thirty to sixty percent, or more, would approach the number of moderates operating in Congress in the 1990’s and 2000’s, and therefore allow for more bipartisan cooperation in the House of Representatives.
How do we go about creating these more competitive districts in the 2021 redistricting process when the process is controlled by partisan legislatures and confirmed by Governors in most states?
We believe that we can create independent, non-partisan citizens redistricting commissions or modify existing redistricting commissions through the initiative process in enough states in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 election cycles to make this change. The goal would be to create or modify commissions that are structured and function much like the California model created by voters in 2008 for the state legislature and amended in 2010 to include Congressional districts.
Over the next three election cycles, by creating non-partisan citizens redistricting commissions in key states, we have the opportunity to bring competition and representation back to the House of Representatives and get Congress working again.
US Congressional Districts