I would work more on re-districting so there are more swing counties. This last election had the least amount of counties who changed their vote from the prior election than any time in US history. Having so many solidly blue or red counties across the nation provides exactly zero incentive for these guys to work together.
If I’m a representative, the country at large could be crying for compromise, but my home district wants hardcore ideology. They voted me in, so who do I listen to? My home district’s ideologues.
This comment got me thinking about redistricting and what can be done about it. The US has 435 Congressional districts, each district must be of approximately equal population and every state gets a minimum of 1 Congressional district. After the census every 10 yrs the states set about creating a redistricting plan. Being in TX I had a nice view of the redistricting process. It seems that largely redistricting is about drawing a map that maximizes the number of solid districts and minimizes the swing districts. This is to the advantage of both parties because it allows them to focus resources into a few Congressional seats. Unfortunately when this happens you sometimes end up with ridiculous Congressional districts. My district contains people from both Austin and Houston, but Houston is 3hrs drive from Austin and both are population centers so there is no reason to combine them.
The problem is that no matter WHO does the redistricting it is a political process. If the legislature has the job of redistricting then the results will depend on the party in power at the time. If the job is handed off to a commission then it will become political because the members of the commission must be chosen and who is chosen greatly influences the results. When all is said and done redistricting is open to gerrymandering because no matter who is chosen to redistrict the process is open to political influence.
This is why I am proposing a drastic solution to redistricting. I propose that we remove people from the equation. Rather redistricting should be determined using a statistical method. Districts should be created to equalize population and minimize the distant between those in the district. Now I don’t know demographic and geographic statistical models but something akin to an Analysis of Variance(ANOVA) or Principal Component Analysis (PCA). If a statistical method was used then there would be no political involvement, it would be a completely neutral party. Also using a simple type model would be preferable since there would be fewer assumptions which means fewer places for tampering. I think that basing districts on equalizing population between districts and minimizing the distance between constituents in the district is a simple and common sense method of redistricting. But it also prevents gerrymandering.