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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 26, 2008 / 23 Sivan 5768

Voting's Neglected Scandal

By David Broder


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When Barack Obama decided last week to throw off the constraints on campaign spending that go with the acceptance of public financing, he was rightly criticized for rigging the system in his favor.


That was a predictable response. For the better part of four decades, the media and public interest groups have focused on campaign spending as the most serious distorting force in our elections.


Meanwhile, they have paid much less attention to what may well be a larger problem: the way that district lines are drawn to create safe seats for one party or the other, in effect denying voters any choice of representation.


It is not a new problem. The original gerrymander was a creation of 18th-century Massachusetts, and since then, politicians have been using ever more sophisticated tools to rig the game. With computer technology, their ability to design districts that meet the legal requirement for equal population while guaranteeing their fellow partisans easy passage into office has never been greater.


In 2002 and 2006, the most recent off-year elections, about nine out of 10 congressional districts were won by more than 10 percentage points — a clear sign that the game had been rigged when the lines were drawn in the state legislatures. In the first of those years, only eight incumbents lost; in the second, only 21.


As scholars have pointed out, the scarcity of real competition in nearly all districts has many consequences — all of them bad. It makes legislators less responsive to public opinion, since they are in effect safe from challenge in November. It shifts the competition from the general election to the primary, where candidates of more extreme views can hope to attract support from passionately ideological voters and exploit the low turnouts typical of those primaries.


Gerrymandered, one-party districts tend to send highly partisan representatives to the House or the legislature, contributing to the gridlock in government that is so distasteful to voters.


These are familiar complaints in academic and journalistic circles. And this week, another count was added to the indictment with a report from the Democratic Leadership Council titled "Gerrymandering the Vote."


It makes the point that these rigged districts have the effect of suppressing the vote.


The numbers are startling. In both 2002 and 2006, voter turnout in districts where the winner received at least 80 percent of the votes struggled to reach 125,000. Turnout in the districts where the margin was 20 percent or less exceeded 200,000.


If there were some other device that was reducing voter turnout by almost 40 percent, you could be sure it would be the chief target for reformers. The ballot anomalies and the "voter suppression" tactics that marked the Florida election of 2000 affected far fewer people than that.


The study by the DLC's Marc Dunkelman found big variations among the states in the competitiveness of their House districts. The average margin in Massachusetts in 2006 was almost 75 percent. Next door in New Hampshire, it was under 5 percent.


Dunkelman calculated the potential turnout increase for individual states, if their district lines were redrawn to emphasize competitiveness. The gains ranged as high as 59 percent for Louisiana and 49 percent for New York. Other states that could experience much higher participation with redrawn districts include West Virginia, Virginia, California, North Carolina, Alabama, New Jersey, Mississippi, Georgia, Hawaii and New Mexico.


Dunkelman estimates that competitive districts might attract 3 million more voters in California and almost 2 million more in New York. Overall, 11 million more Americans might show up at the polls, decreasing our chronically low voting participation rates.


How to change the lines? Two states — Iowa and Washington — have instituted nonpartisan or bipartisan redistricting systems, and they have been rewarded with much more competitive House races. So it can be done.


But the politicians are unlikely to do it on their own. Only if the voters demand reform is there a chance it will come.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



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Previously:

06/23/08: Why don't we know what makes Obama tick?
06/19/08: Foreign Policy's Best Hope
06/16/08: Perot, Back On the Charts
06/16/08: The Many Gifts of Tim Russert
06/12/08: Why Hillary played the womyn card
06/08/08: Eclipsed by the Adventures of Hillary
06/02/08: Obama in retreat
06/02/08: Reality vs. the Mythmakers
05/29/08: Hamilton Jordan's Message to Obama
05/27/08: Let the Veepstakes Begin
05/19/08: The mental exercise of placing Obama in the Oval Office requires more imagination than did moving Reagan from the silver screen to Pennsylvania Ave.
05/15/08: For Obama, a Lost Moment
05/12/08: The price of delay
05/08/08: Phoniness and inevitability
05/05/08: Winning by destruction: An insider reveals the Hillary game plan
05/01/08: Candidates' high-mindedness is rooted in religiosity; but Hillary and McCain don't have hater as inspiration


© 2008, by WPWG

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