Next year's redistricting landscape is, at best, a mixed bag for good-governance advocates. Although the mapmaking process has become fairer and less politicized in a handful of states over the past decade, partisan gerrymandering will still have a profound impact on representation across most of the country.
Democrats had high hopes of taking back enough power in state legislatures to have close to parity in the line drawing with Republicans, but they were totally shut down on Election Day. At the same time, while Virginians voted to bleed politics out of the process, Missourians voted to push their state the opposite way. And proposals to reform the system in six states died because they could not get on the ballot, yet another consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
The result is a power dynamic for the next drawing of congressional and legislative boundaries that's only marginally different than a decade ago. The two parties will retain control over the process in 39 states, just three fewer than last time. And the GOP will run the table in twice as many states again, with only a hair less dominance over the Democrats than in 2011.
It is a far cry from a central aspiration of the democracy reform movement, which has a mantra about what it will take to fix the system: Voters must be able to pick their politicians instead of the other way around. And that can't happen if elected officials have the power to use contorted cartography to ensconce themselves in power for 10 years at a time.
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Becoming A Democracy: How We Can Fix the Electoral College, Gerrymandering, and Our Elections with author Kristin Eberhard
Organizer: Fix Democracy First
Join us for a special book release event for "Becoming A Democracy: How We Can Fix the Electoral College, Gerrymandering, and Our Elections" with author Kristin Eberhard. This should be the last American election that works against the people. Kristin Eberhard, Director of the Democracy Program at Sightline Institute, has thoughtfully researched how the US election system is unjust, poorly designed, or broken, and walks you through 10 big but practical ideas for making our elections free, fair, and secure. Becoming a Democracy is a field guide to the most viable upgrades for our elections, so that America can truly be governed by and for the people.
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- The human cost of the partisan gerrymandering decision - The ... ›
- WI governor plans to shame GOP out of gerrymandering - The Fulcrum ›