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Just Lines – a podcast about redistricting!

November 10th, 2018, 1:32am by Sam Wang


Nancy Palus, a freelance journalist with an impressive record covering democracy in developing countries, has decided to focus on elections in the United States. The result is Just Lines, a podcast with some pretty good guests so far – Katie Fahey of Voters Not Politicians, and redistricting guru Justin Levitt.

I joined her before Proposal 2 passed in her home state, Michigan. We got into many topics, including my thoughts about our second Gilded Age. It was a good episode – take a listen.

Transcript is here. A good excerpt after the jump:

Nancy Palus: Before we wrap up here I’d like to hear your thoughts on this question—what do you hope future generations will read about what happened with partisan gerrymandering during this era, and what do you think they’ll read?

Sam Wang: What I hope they’re going to read is that the long arc of voting rights in America was one that started with one person, one vote, then led to minorities getting representation, and then eventually led to making sure that the parties were treated equally in this great time of polarization. And that it was done by a combination of federal and state action where individual states took advantage of the populist reformist impulses that arose out of our time and built reforms that basically rescued democracy from what I would characterize as a pretty dark time from the 1990s to now. So the idea would be that just like in the Gilded Age there was a time of corruption and bitter partisanship, it eventually led to the Progressive Era beginning around about 1900.

So what I hope is going to be in the history books is that just like the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, we emerged from this time stronger and with a new type of democracy that built on the strengths of what we had before the 1990s. So that’s what I would love for the history books to say.

What are the history books really going to say? Well, I’m an optimist so I think they’re actually going to say that. But I suppose an alternative future would be, the United States had its flirtation with greater egalitarianism, one person, one vote, but as corporations became stronger and as polarization in America became stronger,  then America began a slide into partisanship and separation into two Americas and thereby became less of a great country.

Tags: Redistricting

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