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Editorial: A radical route toward moderation

The campaign to shut down the government and default on America’s debts was initiated by 80 of the most conservative Republican members of the U.S. House. Virtually all of them come from districts gerrymandered to make it nearly impossible for a Democrat or independent to win. As journalist Ryan Lizza, aided by David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report, pointed out in The New Yorker recently, those districts reflect a political America that was – not the America that our country is becoming. The districts are less urban than average, whiter than average and less well-educated. Seventy-nine of what conservative political columnist Charles Krauthammer dubbed “the suicide 80” are white, and all but four are male. None are from New England or the Pacific Northwest.

Safe districts created by gerrymandering; the power of unfettered campaign contributions by billionaires, corporations and interest groups; and a primary election system geared to nominating candidates from the fringes of the political spectrum have made Congress and some other legislative bodies across the country dysfunctional. They have led to the near-universal sense that the system is broken and, by discouraging voting, they have damaged democracy.

There are several ways to counter the ill effects of gerrymandering and unlimited campaign contributions. Two of the most promising have been pioneered by the states of California and Washington, and the result has been the election of more moderate lawmakers capable of compromise. Both changes had the support of then-Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The first, accomplished by referendum, took politics out of redistricting by giving the job to a bipartisan commission. In time, that should put an end to geographically tortured districts drawn up by the party in power to isolate its opponents. Since New Hampshire is not a referendum state, that change could not be made by voters, but they should pressure the Legislature to adopt the bipartisan commission approach before the next decennial census.

The second change was the switch to an “open” primary in which all candidates, whatever their party designation, appear on a single ballot. The top two vote-getters, no matter what their party, then face each other in the general election. The result can pit Democrat against Democrat or Republican against Republican. Since winning a general election requires the ability to appeal to voters in the middle of the spectrum,open primaries greatly increase the likelihood that the winner will come from the moderate rather than extreme wing of a party. Open primaries would, and in California already have, increased comity and compromise and made the legislature run more effectively. New Hampshire should adopt the open primary system for all elections save for the presidential primary.

Until such changes are made, voters who feel disenfranchised because their state representative, senator or member of Congress rarely reflects their views, should register as independents. Then, on Election Day, choose the ballot for the dominant party and cast your ballot for its most moderate candidate. Then, stop holding your nose and spend the minute or two it takes at the polls to reclaim your “independent” affiliation. If everyone who is fed up with political partisanship and legislative dysfunction does so, it will dramatically increase the odds that the winning candidate won’t be a left- or right-threaded wingnut willing to shut down government to get their way.

Legacy Comments11

The the usual suspects that regurgitate MSNBC (MSLSD) propraganda please, please follow the Liberal Leader of the Loon Squad - Ed Schultz and try to convince us that we needed to spend more money on ObamaKare's disastrous website but the Republicans wouldn't let them spend any more: All I can say that is liberalism is a mental illness if anyone thinks that we didn't spend enough and thank God that the Republicans didn't let them waste any more money.

The participation rate among eligible workers in the workforce is at a 35-year low. Food stamp and disability claims are at record levels. The national debt is spiraling out of control..... Let's run an opinion piece about gerrymandering of congressional districts? The pumpkin fritter recipe in yesterday's paper had more relevancy in my life.

this is the new CM - a democrat created plan to create generations of low information voters ripe for the democrat bumper sticker quality propaganda they spew every day.

Let's not forget that the miimum wage is no longer sufficent to support a family even if working multiple jobs. If jobs can even be found.

The constitutional objective of the freedom of the press was to have an informed electorate. The objective of the liberal press is to make sure that the electorate is not informed. Great comments James!!!

This is what the Concord Monitor is writing editorials about while Millions of Americans are losing their healthcare because of ObamaKare?: While the Monitor is attempting to distract their readers with the shiny object Million Americans are losing their Healthcare, They are losing their doctors. They are losing their hospitals. ObamaKare is a huge disaster and the Monitor wants you to look somewhere else. I hold Obama, the liberal democrats (not all democrats voted for this train wreck) and the liberal media like the Monitor accountable for this disaster.

A good editorial, but one that does not address the root problem. When you have the majority of citizens who think the only time to show up to vote is once every 4 years during a presidential election you get the type of insanity that we recently seen in the House of Representatives. Because despite what you may believe Mr. and Mrs Lazy Voter, state and local elections do count, especially when it comes to redistricting congressional districts every 10 years. Also Mr. and Mrs Lazy Voter, stop complaining about Tea Party types, whose idea for government is to blow it up, highjacks your political party. Because when you decide it is more "important" to stay at home during primary night and, later, election night, to watch some meaningless drivel on the idiot box why should you be surprised that the most dedicated loons in your town, who know the value of voting in EVERY ELECTION send another "blow up the world" nihilistic Tea Party twit to Washington? So Dopey Voters and editorial folks at the Concord Monitor, let's address the real problem in our country - LAZY CITIZENS who are the first to complain about nihilistic, do-nothing politicians, but refuse to get off their LAZY butts and do something about it!

the problem lies in the low information voter that elects radical liberals. Today 49% of America receives some government handout. Only a liberals can believe that is a foundation to run a nation. The democrats are projected to take debt from 10 trillion to over $$$ 20 TRILLION in NObamas term.

Editorial is just more FALSE democrat rhetoric: The Responsible Republicans passed all the appropriation bills necessary to fund Govt and sent them to the debt, deficit and default democrat controlled Senate. That is simply FACT that anyone will find in the Congressional Record. Responsible Republicans also proposed a delay in the implementation of the ObamaKare mandates to be FAIR as democrats already gave a waiver to Big Business and UNIONS...... The democrat party of NO and NObama would not negotiate and shut down Govt. So what do the readers say about the democrats HYPOCRICY as democrats are now calling for ObamaKare delay for citizens? Democrats SHUT DOWN GOVT- NOT REPUBLICANS - and now democrats reverse themselves - democrats - all politics 100% of the time - never sta

Great post Sail. You are so right. History will prove that Republicans were Responsible, Respectful and Reasonable while the Democrats were Deceitful, Disrespectful, Dishonest, Dealing Debt, and Destruction. Yes responsible Republicans did propose a delay in the implementation of the ObamaKare mandates to be FAIR as democrats already gave a waiver to Big Business and UNIONS and Heartless Harry Reid and Jeanne Shaheen were against it then. But now because Shaheen is very vulnerable she is changing her tune and so is almost dishonest democrat up for re-election in 2014. Democrats are so despicable.

California ..US House out of 53 house seats ..what is it..10 are Repubs? And their 2 senators?? Now, I ask you, how is that change working out for them?

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