Amid all the divisive ugliness inside the Beltway, here is some good news: 2018 may well be the best year in a half century for election reform. Today’s narrative laments a crumbling democracy, alienated voters, and a political culture spiraling ever downward. While true, that narrative is incomplete. It misses the remarkable energy building across many states to confront these problems, shore up our democracy, and rebuild our political culture.
Let’s hope all the great pro-voting measures pass and Democratic governors replace Republican ones, especially in heavily gerrymandered places like Florida. We need them to have veto power over right wing legislative redistricting. Then, of course, let’s hope our wreckage of a right wing Supreme Court lets non-partisan redistricting commissions stand.
My Congressional district is one of those classic silly gerrymanders, a dumbbell-shaped strip all across the top of NJ. It goes back generations as a safe GOP seat. But the last two elections (16, 18) it’s gone to a Democrat (though this time he ran on his “Problem Solver” connection, virtually without mentioning the DP). The reason for the change is an influx of Latinx in the eastern end. And I guess this incumbent, Josh Gottheimer, may have a stronger draw among the significant Jewish bloc, also in the eastern end. I don’t know of any moves for redistricting here, but we’ll see.