For those who rank political muscle-flexing in electoral mapmaking among the most menacing threats to democracy, the Supreme Court has provided an array of suggestions:
Convince your self-aggrandizing state legislators to cool it. Look for protection in the courts of your own state. Persuade Congress to set a national rule that politicians cannot draw election boundaries, or else come up with a national standard for partisan excesses in setting the lines. Or orchestrate statewide ballot initiatives turning the congressional and state legislative cartographic powers over to independent experts.
In short, the justices said Thursday, do anything you like except look for us to referee the limits of partisan gerrymandering; the Constitution does not contain an explanation for how to do it, and so we are not going to.
Did we miss the question about voting rights? How about gerrymandering? Anyone care about election security?
In the first Democratic presidential primary debate, those and other democracy reform issues took a back seat to "kitchen table" topics such as the economy, health care and immigration.
Despite the moderators' lack of interest in the candidates' democracy reform proposals, some of the presidential hopefuls snuck in tidbits anyway.
Here's a by-the-numbers takeaway from the first debate (from The Fulcrum angle):
It's a shame that no one will ask the candidates a single question on the topic most needing discussion – the state of our democracy, writes Michael V. Murphy, who runs the FixUs for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.