People, not parties, need control

Published 8:04 pm Saturday, February 20, 2016

To the editor:

I have watched with waning surprise and growing dismay both the Democratic and Republican parties’ presidential debates.

The polarized choices drawing the greatest attention and public fanfare on both political sides leave the vast majority of voters without choice or representation.

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The consequences of this situation reach far beyond the office of president. We continue to elect and re-elect ever more polarized, dysfunctional legislatures that can’t reach agreement on even the most fundamental issues. No wonder the electorate is frustrated, disenfranchised and increasingly hostile.

It is time to demand a change to our electoral process and return choice to the majority of voters.

Advances in technology now provide such precise voter information that state legislators are able to manipulate their voting districts to nearly guarantee perpetual election. These “safe” Republican or Democrat districts eliminate choice for the voters and reduce candidate selection to interparty squabbles.

An incumbent’s only fear is of a challenge from a more extreme, philosophically polarized challenger. The result is a two-party system that is so polarized compromise is nearly impossible.

Voters must loudly and actively demand redistricting reform to stop legislators from gerrymandering districts to their partisan liking. Five bills intended to do just that already have been killed by a House subcommittee in one quick vote.

Why should they vote against their own self-interest and party control? They won’t, unless we demand that choice be given back to “we the people.”

Martha S. McClees

Virginia Beach