“How a new way of electing the House can change our politics”

Drew Penrose and David Daley oped:

The most meaningful change would put an end to winner-take-all, single-member districts and create a proportional House with larger, multimember districts and proportional voting. This might sound like a big lift, but it’s fully constitutional, deeply aligned with our founding vision, and only requires Congress to pass a statute. For example, the Fair Representation Act, a bill to be reintroduced in Congress this week by Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), would do just that by requiring every state to replace its winner-take-all elections with proportional ranked-choice voting.

The advantages of a proportional system would be dramatic and immediate. It would make every contest competitive in every state. It would end gerrymandering and more fully represent the breadth of ideas held by voters. It would greatly expand opportunities for communities of color to build power. And it would create incentives for legislators to work productively in service of the public interest rather than to obstruct and demean their opponents.

Single-member, winner-take-all robs us of the diversity of ideas and interests that exist across all regions of the country. Massachusetts, for example, is a blue state. In 2020, all nine of its congressional districts were safely Democratic. Yet across those districts, 1.2 million people backed Donald Trump for president. Likewise, the band of states running up the center of the country, consisting of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas, elected a combined 14 representatives, 13 of whom were Republicans. Yet across those 13 Republican districts, 1.5 million people wanted Joe Biden to be president.

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