Reporting Joe Mathieu
BOSTON (CBS) – “Throw the bums out!”
We’ve heard that refrain quite a few times the past few weeks. But it never works that way.
Polls consistently show Congressional ratings in the toilet, but when people are asked about their own representative, they’re usually happy.
“Anyone but my guy!” is the other refrain we hear.
So maybe we’re going at this all wrong. We seem to agree that Washington is broken. But fixing it will require more than just firing people.
Consider a new poll by the Bipartisan Policy Center and USA Today, finding a majority of Americans support a whole range of ideas to ease the partisanship and gridlock in Washington. They include allowing independents to vote in primaries along with other ways of boosting turnout, like holding elections via the Internet.
So why not go to what many believe is the true source of gridlock in Washington? The way we draw-up congressional districts.
That job is, of course, done by state lawmakers and governors. And depending on the state, they draw the lines to benefit their own political party and sometimes they can be very creative.
That practice of gerrymandering has dramatically reduced the number of so-called swing districts where both parties have a reasonable chance of winning.
That’s how Democrats and Republicans end up owning certain districts and the lawmakers they elect can be as extreme as they want.
This poll tested some alternatives like creating a bipartisan commission to make district maps or having state Supreme Courts do it.
There was no consensus on those questions.
But at least we’re talking about ways to fix this. Which is more than they can say in Washington.
Follow Joe on Twitter @joemathieuwbz