The Toledo Blade today ran an editorial from the Washington Post that sheds light on the need to pass Issue 2 in November, a measure that would make the process of drawing the state’s Congressional districts less partisan and more competitive:
“New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a leader of the Democrats, agreed that Mr. Obama had put too much energy into seeking compromise with Republicans. In a second term, Mr. Schumer said, the President “will go to the public more.’“
When facing GOP intransigence, the President intends to mobilize the public to call their representative in Congress and demand bipartisan solutions.
But here’s the problem with that approach — and frankly, with any hopes for bipartisanship — as explained by the Post:
“Most members of Congress, thanks to skewed redistricting and voter self-sorting, live in safe districts. They are reasonably immune to pressure from the opposing party — and more fearful of a primary challenge from their party’s flank.”
In other words, our districts are so gerrymandered that Republican members of Congress don’t have to worry about appealing to Democrats or moderates in order to beat their Democratic opponent every two years. They are much more likely to be challenged by a Tea Party candidate running to their right in a primary if they don’t go along with the obstructionist mandate of the GOP.
Don’t believe it’s a mandate? Ask Republican George Voinovich, who has revealed that the GOP in Congress was given strict marching orders not to work with the President on anything.
We have a chance to change that.
Issue 2 is on the ballot in November and it would take the process of drawing legislative districts out of the hands of politicians whose main goal is to ensure their re-election and put them in the hands of a citizen committee charged with drawing them to be competitive.
But Issue 2 isn’t about process. It’s about having representation in government that will listen to and be accountable to voters. If the President is going to succeed, he not only needs Democrats in Congress, he also needs Republicans who are willing to work for him. He needs Republicans who have to worry every other fall about appealing to sane, moderate voters in their district, and not only worry about their right flank. He needs Republicans whose districts are competitive. The current process does exactly the opposite.
This is the sleeper issue in November. It’s just as important as any of the voter suppression measures being advanced. Your voice is suppressed when districts are uncompetitive and elected officials are unaccountable. Read more about Issue 2 here.