In addition to having the nation’s largest economy and population, California boasts some of the most exquisitely gerrymandered maps in the land. At both the federal and the state levels, the same lawmakers have been reelected cycle after cycle in districts drawn with the goal of protecting incumbents, regardless of party.The people of Maryland are no different. They want the same thing. We have two of the worst gerrymandered congressional districts in the country. If the politicians who control redistricting here don't listen and fix those districts this year, they risk getting punished at the ballot box.
In 2010, voters got fed up and passed a ballot initiative — Proposition 20 — to take control of congressional redistricting away from the state legislature and hand it to an unelected commission. That body has now presented its first draft of a congressional map that sent shock waves through the state, drawing several members out of their current districts and into potential fights with other lawmakers.
“That’s what the people wanted,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.). “They wanted a redistricting that ignored the protection of incumbents.”
Particularly at the state legislative level, many residents blame gerrymandering for much of the dysfunction in Sacramento. Republicans hail from primarily conservative districts, Democrats represent mostly liberal districts, and no one has much incentive to compromise.I wish more reporters and more citizens would connect the dots this way.
Gerrymandering is one of the key root causes of the hubris and dysfunction that we see in Congress today. Do you think Anthony Weiner would have sex-tweeted so brazenly if he had been in a balanced district with strong Republican opposition breathing down his neck?
Thank you Ben! Please keep following this story.