Thursday, Jul 31, 2014
Editorials

Fix our broken political system by starting with congressional district lines


Published:

Trying to figure out how to fix a huge, complex problem seems next to impossible when looking at it in its entirety. So how do you even begin? Well, you break it into smaller pieces and address them one by one. That’s what we must do with fixing our nation’s political mess.

Just about everyone’s in agreement these days that redistricting for congressional races is one of the biggest problems throughout the country. It’s how entrenched politicians keep getting elected. Districts are so gerrymandered and illogical that all they do is protect incumbents from outside challengers. That’s a terrible way for a representative government to work. Florida is no exception.

Florida voters wanted to make sure that congressional districts were fair and passed a law in 2010 to ensure that happened. But wouldn’t you know it, when it was time to redistrict, political creeps worked their way into the system to sway it and affect another unfair outcome. The good news is a judge stepped in last week to throw it out.

Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis said the map is flawed and said it must be changed. Even the folks most upset about Lewis’s ruling know that the state supreme court will likely uphold his ruling.

Of course, there will be charges of “activist” judges by these critics, but the fact is, they were trying to sham the system and keep districts drawn so they benefit specific people. Republicans were the most shameless in this attempt, but those lines also benefit Democrats, too.

It’s no wonder so many voters have become outraged. The system is rigged against them. How can their vote mean anything if the districts have been drawn to give incumbents an incredible advantage? Even people who were against term limits now believe it’s the only way to get some lousy members of Congress out of their seats and allow some fresh blood in who hopefully aren’t already bought and paid for by lobbyists and special interests.

As a good first step in fixing this mess, let’s keep the pressure on to make these district lines fair and sensible. It won’t correct everything, but it’s a good start.

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