After telling candidates you will vote only for those who will bridge the political divide, the next step in addressing our political quagmire is demanding non-partisan redistricting. We know. Your eyes are glazing over right about now…but wait. This is important.
We can’t just ask politicians to “play nice,” we must help them to do so. Most representatives are sent to Congress from districts whose boundaries are determined by state legislatures or political commissions whose intent is to stack the deck. If you don’t believe this, just check out Buzz Feed’s list of the ten most “gerrymandered” districts in the country*. Top honors go to North Carolina, Maryland, and Florida for dominating this “worst of” list:
When districts are drawn to ensure that one party has control, the representatives from those states have no incentive to compromise; instead, they come to Washington, DC prepared for political battle. This is a major source of gridlock because an estimated 75% of U.S. Congressional districts are now safely in the pocket of one of the major political parties. So the stalemate you see in Washington in large part begins in your state or the ones next to it.
Some states are better than others! If you live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana or Washington, you have independent commissions drawing your district lines for both state and federal legislatures. You lucky souls can move on to Updraft 3.0!
For the rest, we have work to do. To ensure that your vote counts, you need to tell candidates that you will only vote for those who will support independent, non-partisan redistricting.
This matters and will matter very soon. After each census–taken every ten years–states get to play around with their district lines again. Since change takes time and we have another census before the next Presidential election, the other 255,850,000 of us had better make change happen soon!
Get angry enough to do something about this–this is America and we owe it to the creators of our Constitution to ensure that every vote counts. There is no provision in the Constitution for political parties, so why are we now allowing parties to decide whose vote counts? Get angry enough to make change happen because in our democracy every vote should matter. This is who we are. This is what America –our pilot project of capitalist democracy–is all about.
Let’s do this!
- The term gerrymandered was first used in Boston, in 1812, to describe the creatively redrawn state election district boundaries under Governor Elbridge Gerry.