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View Diary: Did Gerrymandering Cost Dems the House? A 34-State Look at Alternative Nonpartisan Maps Suggests Yes (161 comments)

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  •  Because it's hard to get people in power (16+ / 0-)

    to voluntarily give up power. Many of the states with independent redistricting have ballot initiatives that put those institutions in place.

    The best solution is to have what's called mixed member proportional representation where some members are elected by independently drawn districts and the rest are elected by party lists so that 1) gerrymandering doesn't affect the outcome and 2) third parties become viable. You can see why the two parties would be opposed to this obviously, but that's the only permanent solution to both gerrymandering and the GOP bias of single member districts.

    Most European and other developed countries have a system like this.

    •  we need a Midas rule (8+ / 0-)

      the way my dad did it was on a leftover piece of cake
      if my brother cut it I got to chose which piece I wanted.

      We need a system that allows fairness.

      •  Agreed, which is why I like (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti, Odysseus, elwior, ColoTim

        proportional representation. There's no reason for the vast, vast majority of voters in the country to have no impact on the result because their district is too red or too blue. If you want to vote for a party, your vote should further that party getting more seats plain and simple. Plus it's just not fair that we can only have two parties because if we don't the other side will win with a split vote. I just don't see us ever doing that because we aren't likely to totally reshape our electoral system under the constitution and we sadly don't have the initiative nationwide.

    •  MMA is actually comparatively rare (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stephen Wolf, Odysseus, elwior

      Germany's got it, as has New Zealand and Scotland has a similar system for the Scottish parliament. Most countries with proportional representation use lists, though, without any single-member constituencies.

      I favour MMA, but it does have the problem that parties can stack their lists so that certain candidates can't not get elected and so that controversial candidates don't have to face the voters. The German system is fairly good, as I believe there those elected by the list are selected from candidates of that party who got the most votes without getting elected.

      •  Yes Germany's Bundestag is what I'd love to have (0+ / 0-)

        as our model for a unicameral parliament (without their old 'overhang' seats). I suppose I was just speaking in generalities such that proportional representation itself is much more common, but yes you're right that MMP is itself not very common. I can't imagine the US ever having pure party list though, so MMP is more ideal for us in particular.

      •  OK, let's geek out (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stephen Wolf

        Several points:

        1. Proportional Representation (PR) is indeed the best solution to gerrymandering, and the details are just that: details. But I'm easily one of the 10 biggest election-methods geeks in the world (and I could name any of the other 10 who are in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Latin America, or Taiwan). So I can't resist debating those details.

        2. MMA, especially in the German open-list style, is a decent way to do PR. Another good way is multimember districts (3-5 seats) with STV, as advocated by FairVote in the US. (I have my differences with FairVote around IRV; approval voting is both simpler and better. But I support them on PR.)

        3. But the best way to do PR is a biproportional delegated system such as PAL representation. This lets like-minded candidates pool their votes so that the strongest of them is elected. It ensures a large majority of voters get a representative they favor. And it does it without needing any redistricting.

        4. Regardless of which system is chosen, PR will need to be implemented at the state-by-state level. There's a 1969 federal statute that effectively prohibits it, although there's a (good, but probably unpopular) biproportional PR system called Fair Majority Voting which might pass muster with that law.

        5. For the long run, I favor a constitutional convention to propose an amendment that gives a collective right to an effective vote (since the small-r "republican government" clause of the constitution is toothless). The meaning of "effective vote" would improve with time, but I can guarantee that plurality-voting in single member districts ain't it.

        Senate rules which prevent any reform of the filibuster are unconstitutional. Therefore, we can rein in the filibuster tomorrow with 51 votes.

        by homunq on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 06:06:41 AM PDT

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        •  I'm not an STV fan (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Stephen Wolf

          We have it for local elections in Scotland (the Lib Dems got it as a concession in coalition negotations after the 2003 Scottish parliament elections), and I don't think it lives up to its plaudits.

          The voters don't understand the system well (despite many attempts to explain it to them), it doesn't eliminate safe seats (because there are certain areas where parties are guaranteed a quota, and indeed not a few seats where everybody knows one party will get two seats and another the third, so nobody puts much effort in), there is no intra-party competition (that only happens in Ireland, and only because they don't have cohesive parties on ideological lines) and it's done nothing to boost turnout.

          It also creates larger wards, which reduces the connection between representative and electorate, and requires all-out elections, which makes voter contact less frequent (granted, the latter is less of a problem in the USA, as you have short terms.) All in all, I'd say it's the form of PR I like least.

          In general, I'm keen on MMA, or any system that combines single-member districts with a degree of proportionality. I say a degree, because I actually think full proportionality isn't that important. It's good that everybody has a chance to elect a like-minded representative, but the majoritarian aspect of FPTP system has definite advantages from a governance perspective.

    •  Ohio had an issue on the ballot (0+ / 0-)

      that would have put in place a citizens commission that was one-third Republican, one-third Democratic, and one-third independent or third party, thus diluting any power block within it. It also forbade officeholders, candidates, party officials and lobbyists from being on it.

      The Republicans lied their asses off, rigged the ballot language, and spent tens of millions to defeat it. Now our secretary of voter suppres ... I mean STATE ... Jon Husted is trying to look like a hero and propose his own plan which is somewhat better than what we have but not enough. It would expand the number of elected officials on the apportionment board and require a certain amount of minority buy-in. Obviously it would still be susceptible "You protect my incumbent and I'll protect yours."

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Mon Apr 22, 2013 at 04:23:47 PM PDT

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