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A Hill of a problem

Posted by   /  August 8, 2018  /  No Comments

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Politicians aren’t always to blame for the dysfunction in Congress and the perceived solutions are more complicated than many realize, Gonzales writes. /Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo

‘Map mess,’ including Arizona redistricting, cited as one non-politician ill in D.C.

By Nathan L. Gonzales | Roll Call

After 30 years of covering Congress, David Hawkings has a good idea of how Capitol Hill works — or more important, how it doesn’t — and he laid out five key reasons why Congress is broken.

But whether it’s money, maps, media, mingling or masochism, there are no easy solutions. Nor are they entirely the responsibility of the politicians to address.

Map mess

The redistricting process, including how congressional districts are drawn and the lack of competitive seats, gets a lot of blame for the dysfunction in Congress.

It’s absolutely true that gerrymandering is a factor in our electoral process. But there’s no guarantee that redistricting reform will achieve the desired goals.

For example, California has a citizen redistricting commission and a top-two primary system, both designed to push elected officials to the moderate middle. Yet there’s scant evidence that members of the Golden State’s congressional delegation are any more moderate than before those measures. And it’s not clear whether the commission created more competitive districts, or if Donald Trump’s polarizing presidency gets the credit for more seats being in play than past cycles.

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