Now, in far too many districts, that move toward the center never comes. Republicans stick to the right, Democrats stick to the left and that vast number of voters in the middle of the road see their voices having less and less impact.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there should be no safe Republican or Democratic districts. We all understand that there are parts of Indiana and any other state where it would be next to impossible to draw a district where both parties had an equal chance. Democrats will always have trouble winning in the suburbs of Indianapolis, and Republicans will always have an uphill battle in Lake County.
These days, though, those safe districts are growing more and more common, and middle ground is getting harder and harder to find.
Drawing legislative and congressional districts has always been a political process. One of the reasons both parties fight so hard to win a legislative majority at the beginning of each decade is to have control of where the lines get drawn. The ability to draw districts that favor your side has always been one of the spoils of the political wars.
The fact is, though, that drawing maps for political advantage isn’t good for the democratic process. It’s a recipe for what we have now in Washington. It’s a recipe for gridlock.
And now is the time to fix it. Seven years before Indiana lawmakers embark on the next redistricting effort, when no one knows who will be in control of the Indiana General Assembly, this is the time to change the process.
Bosma deserves credit for getting behind this concept.
My hope is that the idea will continue to pick up steam. It might not happen this year, but maybe it’ll happen soon.
Let’s hope so.
Kelly Hawes is a veteran journalist with CNHI’s Indiana newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.