Breaking The Grip Of Partisanship
Last night I had the pleasure of hearing former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards speak. Edwards served in the House from 1978-1994 and noted that he was one of the most conservative members while he was there, and now would be the 5th-most liberal Republican. He has made it his cause to reverse the gain in partisanship. His suggested reforms include open primaries:
The primary system was introduced by Progressives in the late 1800s and early 1900s as a reform to expand democracy and give voters a greater voice in the selection of public officials, not to squeeze voters out of the picture. If the goal is to send to Washington the preferred choice of the state’s voters (or a congressional district’s voters), all credible candidates should be allowed to appear on the ballot and all the voters, regardless of party, should be allowed to determine who will represent them.Washington State (in 2006) and California (in 2010) woke up to this dramatically undemocratic system and enacted changes in their laws to create open primaries – every candidate on one ballot, all voters eligible to choose whomever they want.
and neutral redistricting:
There’s a solution for this, too: congressional redistricting takes place every 10 years after a national census, and more than a dozen states have now turned that responsibility over to nonpartisan and independent redistricting commissions; that’s a course every state should follow.
I agree 100 percent with both of these changes. I don’t think they would completely solve the problem Edwards is concerned with but they would make our elected representatives more representative of the people of this country. And that’s a good thing.