Drawing congressional district lines to favor a political party has existed since the first elections of our Republic. But hyper-partisanship of the process is white-hot right now, and the problem could only get worse.
So says New York University School of Law Professor Richard Pildes, in a recent piece for The Washington Post. He notes that the gerrymandering game has radically changed in the past few years. For a long time, control over the U.S. House remained fairly stable. But since 1994 majorities by either party have been fairly small and volatile. Partisan control appears to be up for grabs with every election.
True, the Supreme Court will be issuing rulings on two cases of partisan gerrymandering, Gill v. Whitford (perpetrated by the Republicans in Wisconsin) and Benisek v. Lamone (by the Democrats in Maryland). However, it’s unclear if SCOTUS has the will to gets its hands soiled in the dirty business of political map drawing.
Regardless of how or even if the Court rules, the problem of gerrymandering could be addressed by Congress itself. There’s currently a bill that would address the issue of partisan gerrymandering, The Fair Representation Act (HR 3057), sponsored by Virginia Congressman Don Beyer, which presents a better way to revamp our gridlocked politics. The FRA uses three fundamental reforms: Ranked choice voting, larger multi-winner districts, and independent redistricting commissions to draw the lines. The FRA system would increase the number of competitive districts across the country and allow everyone’s voice to be heard in meaningful elections.
Pildes adds, “unless something changes… every reason exists to expect [gerrymandering] will get worse still.” Congress can make that change with The Fair Representation Act, which would ensure that every vote counts, and that all voices are heard.
Read Pildes’ analysis piece here.