Support your non-local Democrat …

…and your local non-Democrat.

We have a deeply divided political system right now. Part of that is due to gerrymandering — drawing political districts so the opposing party has an overwhelming majority in a very few districts and a powerless minority everywhere else. Part of it is due to self-selection — we tend to live with like-minded people, except when we don’t. The result is an overwhelming majority of safe seats, where the only threat to the incumbent is from the lunatic fringe. As the latest debacle in Congress shows, the lunatics are winning.

What can be done to fix this? That is, what can be done to ensure that (a) there’s enough diversity at the state and national level to ensure that political compromise is possible, and (b) to ensure that politicians we elect aren’t from the lunatic fringe of whatever party we’re talking about?

Let’s start with the primaries. David Brin has an interesting proposal — if you are a gerrymandered minority (Democrat in a deep red district, Republican in a bright blue one), simply register as a member of the majority party, and vote for the most centrist of the contestants. Admittedly, this may require you to choose between Attila-the-Hun and Timūr-the-Lame, but it does give you an effective choice, better than the one you have now. If there are enough moderates in your district, you should be able to keep the fringe politicians from gaining a toehold.

On the other hand, suppose you live in Washington*, or Iowa, states which use the caucus system? Influencing a caucus means spending far too much time in smoke-filled rooms with people you want to sit two stools away from at the diner. There’s not a lot you can do about local politics in that case, so your next option is to find the nearest political district that’s considered a toss-up, and send money.  Political scientist L.J.Sabato at University of Virgina has a list of competitive House seats for 2014. If you’re a Democrat, find a contest that’s a toss-up, or better yet, one that has a vulnerable Republican, and send the Democratic challenger a check. You know the Koch Brothers are doing the same for the other side. The Examiner has another list, of vulnerable Republicans. Here’s a Google query that might help.

*Correction. Washington state uses a “top two” primary system where the top two vote getters advance to the general election, whatever their party. Preliminary party support for candidates is still determined by caucus.

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One Response to “Support your non-local Democrat …”

  1. Support your local non-Democrat … the Brin Plan | FoundOnWeb Says:

    […] As I said in an earlier post: […]

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