Election /

Report: Redistricting Responsible For America's Entrenched Two-Party System

In the 2022 midterms, only 10% of congressional races were competitive

A new report detailing an analysis of the 2022 redistricting cycle has found that dozens of races went uncontested and the way Americans elect congressional representatives is “fundamentally broken and in need of reform.”

For the 2022 midterm election cycle, 90 percent of districts were uncompetitive, which gave each major political party an enormous number of “safe” districts where voters can basically be ignored, the report from advocacy group Fix Our House concluded.

“Last year’s once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process was a disaster,” Fix Our House noted. “There were drawn-out fights over map proposals and cynical attempts at gerrymandering more nakedly self-serving and partisan than ever. There were disregarded deadlines, leaving voters unsure of who their choices were and candidates unsure where to campaign, sometimes until just days before their primary election.”

As a result of redistricting, 35 congressional races went completely uncontested — 16 had just a single candidate, while 19 others had only one major party candidate on the ballot. Fix Our House says it is “unacceptable for such a sizable chunk of voters to have virtually no change” in who, or which party, represents them.

“Under single-winner districts, in some parts of the country, every seat is safe for one party only,” the report states. “In any safe district, there are many voters who favor the minority party, and undoubtedly many who would prefer a different party entirely.”

A conclusion reached by researchers is that single-winner districts are responsible for the U.S. two-party political system, as the threshold for victory in such areas makes it nearly impossible for a candidate unaffiliated with either the GOP or Democratic Party to win.

“In an earlier era, both Democrats and Republicans could compete more broadly. But the parties have now sorted by region – with Democrats living in cities and dense suburbs and Republicans living in the exurbs and more sparsely populated suburbs,” Fix Our House says. “This makes it hard for even the most fair-minded mapmakers to draw districts that are competitive while still being relatively compact and coherent.”

Authors of the report call for changes allowing for “proportional representation,” where instead of each congressional district electing one representative, states divide into larger regions that elect several winners.

Fix Our House argues that this system would allow voters to support multiple candidates, where each party would win seats in proportion to its share of votes cast.

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