Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Incumbent Protection 

People who follow American politics know that gerrymandering in the states equates to incumbent protection. For example, where I live in Reston, Virginia a couple of years ago Representatives Moran (Democrat) and Tom Davis (Republican) worked out a deal to adjust their district boundaries so that each as a job for life if they want it. Well in today's Washington Times Steve Chapman reports that California Governor Schwazenegger has taken note of this issue and has a plan to address it:

In the 2004 elections, Mr. Schwarzenegger noted, "153 of California's congressional and legislative seats were up in the last election and not one - I repeat, not one - changed parties." For incumbent legislators, that's the next best thing to guaranteed life tenure.

But they will have to learn to deal with uncertainty if Mr. Schwarzenegger has his way. He wants to turn the task of setting district boundaries over to an independent panel of retired judges, who would not have a powerful incentive to prevent competitive elections. "They can be drawn fair and honest - district lines that make politicians of both parties accountable to the people," he declared.

I hope this idea catches on.

PermaLink | 8:23 AM | |

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