Steps to unify country

To the Journal editor:

By using the “5 Whys” root-cause tool, we can start narrowing our political divide.

Problem: Legislative gridlock at the State and Federal levels.

5 Whys process:

1) Why do elected representatives have trouble finding common ground in writing and passing legislation which benefits all citizens? Because State and Federal legislators tend to follow their Party boss’s political directives which discourages working across the aisle.

2) Why do our elected representatives follow Party boss directives? Because they are at low risk of being voted out of office.

3) Why are representatives at a low risk from being voted out? Because every 10 years district lines are redrawn by the state’s politically controller majority using Census data. The party in control moves the lines to tilt the odds in their favor for re-election (called Gerrymandering), similar to a Casino adjusting their slot machine payout.

4) Why doesn’t the Federal government pass a law to force States to draw district lines in non-partisan manner? The U.S. Constitution leaves voting processes to the States and Supreme Court has refused to weigh-in.

5) Why aren’t States stepping up to fix Gerrymandering? Because there is little incentive for Republican or Democrat controlled state legislators to submit a ballot initiative to have districts redrawn non-partisan.

In 1812, Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts drew a district to favor his own political party that looked like a salamander and thus called “Gerry-mander.” Gerrymandering has been an issue for two hundred years, but If district lines can be redrawn through a non-partisan process, our elected representatives will be incentivized to work across the aisle since they would need to represent both “Red” and “Blue” voters in their district to be re-elected.

Good news: In 2018, 61% of Michigan voters approved a ballot initiative to create an independent commission to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative maps after the 2020 census. Michigan is one of four states, along with Arizona, California and Colorado that have removed elected officials and political parties from the process of redrawing political lines. We have 46 States to go before the Gerrymandering is completely eliminated.

Removing Gerrymandering will take us one step closer on the long road to unifying our Country.

See State redistricting processes: https://www.ncsl.org/research/redistricting/redistricting-systems-a-50-state-overview.aspx#

Thank you for your time.


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