何十年もの間, the line-drawing process has fallen, in most states, to state legislators and governors. What that has meant, in the main, is that when Democrats control the state capitol and, したがって、, the line-drawing process, they create districts that are as favorable as possible for their side. Ditto Republicans — except that GOP gains at the state level, particularly in the 2010 中間選挙, gave them more line-drawing control over more states and, したがって、, considerably more power.
The strategy of both sides has been simple: Pack as many of the opposition party’s voters into as few districts in the state as possible while spreading out their own voters to make as many districts winnable for their side as they can. Innovations in redistricting software have made this slicing and dicing of people based on their party registration or past voting history an art form — allowing the line-drawers to literally go street by street when it comes to crafting new districts.
This has, もちろん, had unintended consequences. Maps drawn over the past two decades — by Democrats and Republicans — in places like North Carolina, Texas and yes, メリーランド — have come under legal scrutiny for using political considerations as the sole motivator in creating legislative and congressional districts. Maps in which one party overreached have, occasionally, led to unpredictable results in which the party in power loses seats they expected to win because they tried to divide up their own voters among too many districts.
But these exceptions notwithstanding, the dominant trend produced by partisan politicians drawing the congressional district lines is this: The vast majority of members of Congress, 通路の両側に, represent what we would call “安全” districts — meaning that their only chance of losing their job would be in a primary, not a general election.
に 1956, 例えば, less than
6 に 10 House incumbents won with
60% of the vote or more
, according to Vital Statistics on Congress
. 沿って 2002, the first election after the
2001 nationwide redistricting
, 85% of all House incumbents seeking reelection won with
60% 以上. に 2014 そして 2016, that number hovered in the mid-to-high 70s before dipping to just
63% in the tumultuous
2018 midterm election
The practical, political effect of this trend is simple: Members of Congress have little reason to demonstrate their ability to work across the partisan aisle and every reason to be as partisan and ideological as possible in hopes of staving off any sort of primary challenge.
Which leads to what we’ve seen on display in Washington over these last many years: Constant partisan bickering and brinksmanship over matters great and small; the constant threat of government shutdowns; and a government that can barely function as its founders designed it to do.
はい, much of that gridlock — すべてではない, but much — can be traced back to a political line-drawing process that rewards reflexive partisanship and punishes those who stray from absolute adherence to their party line.
Independent or bipartisan commissions to redraw the maps in states — as Hogan is trying to do in Maryland — work to reorient the incentive structure for members by creating districts that are far more competitive between the two parties in general elections.
, where since
1980, nonpartisan staff have drawn the legislative and congressional lines
— and which is widely seen as the model for how redistricting aimed at decelerating partisanship and polarization should be done
The state’s congressional districts have regularly changed hands between the parties
, with Republicans winning two previously-held Democratic seats in the
2020 選挙. And generally speaking
, three of the four districts in the state
— the exception being the Republican-friendly 4th in western Iowa
— are extremely competitive every two years
. Check out the 勝つ percentages for four incoming members of Congress in the state
: 62%, 49%, 50% そして 51.3%. In the state’s 2nd District
, the Republican candidate leads the Democrat candidate by six
! — 投票.
— and independent
— line-drawing commissions are on the rise in recent years
, the majority of states in the country still rely on politicians to draw lines
. And even under Hogan’s proposal
, インクルード state legislature would retain veto power over any congressional map that the independent committee produces
But the step he is taking is still an important one. Until voters understand that the lines that govern who they can vote for are as important than the person who represents them, we are likely to be stuck in this same partisan morass in Washington.