Tomas Baer: Stop the gerrymander

November 8, 2012 

Gerrymandered

A remarkable statistic in Tuesday’s election for our congressional representatives is the fact that, although the combined votes for all the Democratic candidates appear to exceed those for the Republican candidates, North Carolina will be sending a delegation that has nine Republicans and four Democrats to Washington in January. This shows how effective the gerrymandering process is in favoring one party over another, and how it undermines a fundamental principle of democracy.

Generating these safe districts for both Republican and Democratic House members also encourages the polarization of our political system by favoring the election of the most extreme members of both parties.

Imagine how much better it would be if our congressional districts were arranged so that the each district was truly competitive for members of both parties. It would favor the election of more moderate representatives, who could work together to solve problems. I suggest that we set up an independent body to develop a redistricting procedure for North Carolina that is fair and equitable to all parties. Now is a good time to set this up, when the next redistricting mandate is still some nine years away.

Tomas Baer

Chapel Hill

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