Saturday, July 27, 2013

Gerrymandering and extremism

The House is supposedly the chamber with proportional representation yet the GOP holds a very large majority despite having polled over a million votes less than the loyal opposition. This is a very obvious symptom of the gerrymandering elephant in the room. The less obvious symptom is the extremism that safe-seat gerrymandering promotes: Only 64 of the 435 House races were decided within a 10 percentage-point margin. Of all incumbents vying to retain their seats in the general election, just 21 were defeated. (By comparison, 79 House races had margins of victory less than 10 percent in 2010 and 54 incumbents lost.) Meaning most races were decided in the primaries. And we've what happens to moderates in primaries, especially in the Tea Party era GOP. Until you rip redistricting from the grasp of politicians, gerrymandered extremist politics will be the rule, not the exception. ... "The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place, we are entering a period of consequences." - Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm