Ban Partisan Gerrymandering and Enact Open Primaries Nationwide - Open Primaries
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Ban Partisan Gerrymandering and Enact Open Primaries Nationwide

Posted by Russell Daniels on September 26, 2019 at 2:11 PM

Ban Partisan Gerrymandering and Enact Open Primaries Nationwide

by Arnold Schwarzenegger for Politico

In my second inaugural address, I said, “The American people are instinctively centrist. So should be our government.” That was in 2007. When I delivered the speech, 30 percent of Americans considered themselves Republicans, 35 percent Democrats and 34 percent independents.

Today, the independents have gained, rising to 40 percent, as the Republicans and Democrats have dropped to 27 and 29, respectively. But our political system is not designed for the voter who likes ideas from both parties; it is designed for hardcore activists on the right and left. Gerrymandering creates districts so safe that incumbents win 98 percent of their elections. The only elections that matter are primaries, but closed primaries—in which voters must be registered to vote with a party to vote in that party’s primary—ensure that the right or the left get their most partisan candidates. In Washington, nothing gets done, yet the representatives come home and get reelected—unless they dared to work across the aisle, in which case a more loyal partisan warrior takes their spot.

We need independent redistricting commissions and open primaries across the country. Even though both parties hated open primaries and redistricting reform in California, voters’ approval ratings of their elected officials have skyrocketed under our new election system. Legislators are able to reach across the aisle, like the Republicans in the state Legislature who voted to extend our emissions cap-and-trade system and Democrats who vote with the Chamber of Commerce 90 percent of the time. They’re working for the people instead of the parties.

Our reforms have made their leaders more accountable and more reflective of the people. The country could use that right now.

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