To understand the new Congress and the current dysfunction on Capitol Hill, we need to look beyond the individual personalities in play and the 2022 midterms that elected them and consider the fundamentally broken way we conduct elections.
The failings of this redistricting process are unique to the single-winner districts we use to elect Congress. It simply does not make sense to continue on with the same system knowing that we will get the same dysfunctional results.
Proportional representation guarantees partisan fairness, makes gerrymandering pointless, and creates competition in every district, ensuring that every voter has a voice.
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States’ system of single-winner congressional districts is to blame for much of the division and dysfunction in American politics today, according to a new report on the 2022 redistricting cycle from Fix Our House.
In 2022, about 9 in 10 congressional districts were uncompetitive and 1 in 10 races had only one major party candidate on the ballot, meaning that only a small number of voters were able to make meaningful choices in who represents them. Meanwhile, independent redistricting commissions – the best approach to drawing districts within the single-winner system – were only able to make marginal improvements over state legislatures in drawing competitive districts.
Fix Our House’s report is broken into three parts:
When congressional districts have just one representative, only the largest plurality in each district can see its votes translate into representation. That means that Republicans in blue areas, Democrats in red areas, and independents and third party supporters are essentially powerless to make their voices heard.
“Single-winner congressional districts make gerrymandering possible, undermine fair electoral competition, and drive political division,” said Fix Our House co-founder Lee Drutman. “They push our politics into us-vs-them, winner-take-all elections that are driving hyper-partisan polarization into destructive extremism. Congress should flex its Article I, Section IV powers in the Constitution and fix this broken system by moving to multi-winner districts with proportional representation.”
As the report concludes, “When people demand fair districts, what they want are districts that do what proportional representation does: ensure that a political party's share of votes in an election determines how many seats it holds in the legislature. Such a system is used by a majority of advanced democracies and is a constitutional and historically-precedented solution to adopt here.”