Over the last several days, we’ve seen a steady drumbeat in major national and local press about the continued blight of gerrymandering – how we got here and what it means for our democracy – and why The Fair Representation Act is the national solution we need.
In a sweeping photo essay in the New York Times’s opinion section, editorial board member Jesse Wegman and photographer Damon Winter capture what “Gerrymander USA” really looks like – through the lens of Texas’ 13th Congressional District, which has been carefully crafted to maximize the electoral prospects of (in this case) Republicans. Check out the piece – and its fantastic photos – to understand why Wegman writes:
“It would be hard to pick two places more different from one another than Denton and Texline – and yet thanks to the latest round of gerrymandering by Texas’ Republican-dominated Legislature, both are now part of the same congressional district.”
The solution, Wegman writes, is the Fair Representation Act (previously endorsed by the Times’s Editorial Board in 2018):
“The solution: proportional multimember districts. When districts... contain three or even five members, they can more accurately capture the true shape of the electorate and let everyone’s voice be heard.
And if the candidates are chosen through ranked-choice voting, then Republicans, Democrats and even third parties can win representation in Congress in rough proportion to their vote share. It’s no longer a zero-sum game.”
Together with expanding the size of the House, Wegman writes:
“These reforms may sound technical, but they are central to saving representative democracy in America."
It’s not just the New York Times ringing the bell; FairVote’s own David Daley has made the case on national radio, and on leading public radio stations in Phoenix, San Francisco, and Milwaukee in recent days.
On WUWM Milwaukee’s Lake Effect, Daley boiled down the pernicious effects of gerrymandering on our politics:
“A lot of the things that voters want, they don't get.”
And across appearances – including on Sirius XM’s The Laura Coates Show – Daley homed in on the same solution as Jesse Wegman and the New York Times:
“We need a US House that is much more proportional. If we could do away with the idea of single member, winner-take-all districts, move to a multi-member proportional system, and use ranked choice voting to elect members, you would suddenly see much different incentives in our politics. You would see that every district becomes a swing [district], and… would elect Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Individual district lines wouldn't matter so much, so all of a sudden gerrymandering disappears as a problem.’”
Taken together with recent coverage in the Washington Post and advocacy from Fix Our House, it’s clear that the Fair Representation Act is gaining steam and coming into focus as the best way to end the gerrymandering wars and improve representation in the U.S. House.