Skip to main content

View Diary: What if legislators didn't have to draw majority-minority districts? Democrats would lose big (71 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Solution to the wrong problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Berkeley Fred, aseth

    The problem is single member districts.  As long as we draw district lines, we're going to have problems with gerrymandering.  The gerrymandering will be designed to overrepresent one party, or to overrepresent whites, or to overrepresent some other privileged group.  Creating majority-nonwhite districts (by gerrymandering) doesn't fix the problem in a permanent way.

    What we should be demanding is multi-member congressional districts, where we elect two or three or a dozen representatives from the district, by proportional representation.  If that were in place, gerrymandering would be permanently eliminated.

    There would be some desirable side effects as well.  In a close election, a third party candidate wouldn't be able to tip the election to a guy like Maine Governor LePage, who could never have won a two-way race.

    •  Trouble is those can still be gamed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nimh, James Allen, Jyrki, Odysseus

      and would have to be huge to allow for proportional representation. Japan uses a lot of multi-member seats with just 3 members so in effect the majority party gets an advantage when they're winning each district with a small majority yet receiving 2/3rds of the representatives. Another problem is minority interests which is why we don't have multi-member seats at the state legislative level anymore in North Carolina since larger seats resulted in proportionally fewer minorities and violated the VRA.

      I'd much rather us do what the German Bundestag does with roughly half the seats by single member district and the other half by party list while expanding Congress to about 650 members or so. That way the districts can be of similar size to what they are now yet Congress much more representative of voters' preferences.

      On the other hand, multi-member districts are a fantastic idea for local elections where parties are not strong or where partisanship aligns poorly with the actual issues of the day.

      •  I hate party lists. (0+ / 0-)

        I haven't thought about it enough to design a better way, but I would explicitly have voters choose in some way each individual who goes to Congress.

        Maybe each district would have a specific vote for a specific candidate, and a second section where a specific member of the party list must be selected.  This would allow voters to at least determine the rank on the party list.

        It's probably susceptible to demagoguery - candidates who are "unelectable" in head-to-head races would become the members of the party list.  It probably has other problems.

        But I really really really really dislike the "smoky rooms" aspect of party lists.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:49:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Big districts yes, party lists no (0+ / 0-)

        I don't have a problem with huge districts.  In fact I think every multi-member Congressional district ought to be statewide, so state politicians don't have ANY district lines to meddle with.  I have much more in common with voters in eastern Iowa than I have with my neighbors in western Iowa, who have been reelecting Steve King.

        Party lists wouldn't be the best way to do proportional representation, because there's much more for voters to consider than party affiliation.  You want the voters to be able to choose individuals, and you want the proportional representation to be effective along many dimensions at once.  For example, if forty percent of the voters are for marriage equality and think it's important enough to vote that way, then forty percent of the seats in this multi-member district should go to people who believe in marriage equality, regardless of party.  

        The Hare voting system, aka Single Transferable Vote, provides that kind of outcome.  You rank the candidates by preference.  If your first choice is a clear winner---e.g., she has more than 10% of the first-choice votes in a race to fill 10 seats---then the excess ballots are transferred to the voters' second choices, and so on.  If I'm in a faction that has 40% of the voters, then our first four choices will go to Congress.

        Of course there are going to be incumbents of both major parties who oppose proportional representation, which amounts to a confession that they don't think they can win a fair election.

    •  ...that would be something very different... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and would really make for a messy huge total group of folks representing districts. And it could lead to even more polarization. I suspect it would be gamed in a very short time...

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      Ignorance is bliss only for the ignorant. The rest of us must suffer the consequences. -7.38; -3.44

      by paradise50 on Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 07:47:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (116)
  • Community (57)
  • 2016 (44)
  • Elections (37)
  • Environment (34)
  • Media (33)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (32)
  • Republicans (31)
  • Hillary Clinton (30)
  • Iraq (27)
  • Law (27)
  • Barack Obama (26)
  • Civil Rights (25)
  • Jeb Bush (24)
  • Climate Change (24)
  • Culture (22)
  • Economy (19)
  • Labor (18)
  • Bernie Sanders (17)
  • Senate (16)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site