THOMAS OSWALD: Gerrymandering at root of our problem
Gerrymandering is the root cause of our governmental breakdown in recent years. With the advance of computer science, gerrymandering has been brought down to the neighborhood level. Gerrymandering has brought about serious negative consequences to our political process. Political wishes of our citizens are not represented in our legislatures, both statewide and nationally. Gerrymandering brings about the election of representatives from one-party districts with extreme views.
When these representatives get together, they are unwilling to compromise and the political process comes to a stop.
Let us review the last three congressional redistrictings in Pennsylvania. Just before the 1990 redistricting, the Pennsylvania congressional delegation was made up of 12 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Because of the 1990 census, Pennsylvania lost two congressional seats. The Democrats held a small party registration lead. State government was divided, with a Democratic governor, a Democratic House and a Republican Senate. With divided government, a compromise plan was adopted. The result after the 1992 election: 11 Democrats and 10 Republicans.
Again with the 2000 census, Pennsylvania lost two congressional seats. This time, in 2000, we had one-party rule in Harrisburg. The Republicans controlled the governorship and both the House and Senate. The Democrats had a 486,000 party registration lead. With the 2000 redistricting plan and 2002 election, the new state delegation became 14 Republicans and five Democrats.
In 2010, Pennsylvania lost one congressional seat. The Democrats held a 1,179,000 registration lead. The result of the 2012 election: 13 Republicans and five Democrats.
With gerrymandering across the country, we will have continuing gridlock in Washington. Redistricting must be made nonpartisan; otherwise America is deep trouble.