BETTER AND BETTER....

BETTER AND BETTER. I'm glad that the U.S. House of Representatives looks like it will consent to giving me and my fellow Districters some representation in their fine halls, but I'm in some ways even more excited about the details of the plan. The general idea, long floated, has been to give DC a member and also add a member to the Utah delegation, thus preserving the partisan balance. But there was concern about opening up Utah for redistricting mischief. So the plan calls for the addition of an at-large member just on top of Utah's existing three congressional districts.

Why is this good? Well, because for all the energy expounded bemoaning gerrymandering, nobody's ever willing to take on the real culprit -- the very idea of a congressional district. You could solve this entire problem by treating whole states as multiple-member constituencies with the representatives elected with one of several forms of proportional representations. Bigger states might need to be chopped up into two or three (or in the case of California, maybe four) districts, but even so, the potential for line-drawing hijinks under my system would be small. This plan isn't unconstitutional, it just cuts against a long-entrenched American habit. The new Utah-DC deal undercuts that habit, and just might pave the way for broader reform of the system.

--Matthew Yglesias

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