Real Congressional Reform

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Republicans

I have absolutely no confidence that, as currently arranged gerrymandered, Congress will see no meaningful reform. Why? Incumbency. Virtually every incumbent seat in the House of Representatives is safe. We have almost no real congressional challenges. Once an incumbent, always an incumbent - until death do us part.

The primary reason that incumbency inhibits legitimate election challenges under the present system is that congressional districts are so absurdly gerrymandered that virtually all districts are sufficiently homogeneous with respect to party affiliation of registered voters that an opposing party's challenger has almost no chance to unseat an incumbent. Without facing a real election challenge in a politically diverse district, incumbents become much more likely to succomb to the "Beltway syndrome" with each successive term.

Some may say that instituting term limits would solve the incumbency problem. For me, the jury is still out on that idea. But I have a better, and more eloquent answer that would both solve the gerrymandering problem, and help resolve the incumbency problem: require that ZIP codes must reside wholly in a congressional district.

The solution is simple, objective, and still maintains the proportionality of congressional districts. More importantly, as the demographics of a given congressional district change, so will the political nature of that district. As populations move in and out of ZIP code areas, district sizes will change, but such changes would not inherently favor one political party or another. (Though, given the current "red-shift" of the population from "blue" states into "red" states, and given the county-by-county election results of 2000 and 2004, the democrats may cry foul.)

I don't know the intricacies of how the ZIP code system works, but on the surface, it seems to me the idea might be viable.

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One Response to “Real Congressional Reform”
  1. Mom says:

    One HUGE assumption: Incumbents really WANT it to change! It wouldn’t be hard, if they wanted to. There is a reason old adages become old adages, i.e. actions speak louder than words. . . .

    I believe this is merely a symption of the problem. Only 40 some percent of our eligible voters participate in the system (we won’t mention those who participate more than is legal…..) Supposedly, 85 to 86% of the US claims to be believers in the Judeo / Christian principles. Shouldn’t be so hard to elect those who support those same principles.

    Many of our churches have become “social clubs”. People “go to church”, but are lives being changed? Can we see growth? Or, are we more concerned with “numbers?” Goes back to your comment last week, we, the “body of believers” need to exercise our faith. Like a muscle, we “use it or lose it”. God put “life princliples” in place. No living creature stays the same. We are either living, learning, and growing, or, we are dying. We don’t stay in a state of “suspended animation.”

    Love you,
    Mom