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California answer?

Posted: October 22, 2013 8:44 a.m.
Updated: October 23, 2013 5:00 a.m.

There are undoubtedly many Kershaw County residents fed up with the gridlock in politics. The recent government shutdown was unnecessary and avoidable,  and it represented all that is bad about Washington and the way our country is run. While Congress itself gets single-digit approval ratings from the public, people across the country seem to like their own representatives, and they return them to office again and again. Part of that is because redistricting in most states -- drawing the lines that make up congressional districts -- is done by the party in charge, which tends to create safe havens for members of their own party. That’s the way it’s done in South Carolina, and it’s a major contributor to the dysfunction in government.

California, whose state government was just as paralyzed as Washington, is seeing bipartisan efforts now, largely as a result of the fact that districting is now done by a bi-partisan commission rather than the party in charge. In legislative elections, the top two finishers in nonpartisan primaries run against each other, regardless of party affiliations, a system designed to spur candidates to appeal to a wider segment of the electorate. It has worked, with the two parties coming together on a wide range of bills and measures, and compromise has been present in Sacramento to a dizzying degree.

That might not be the answer in South Carolina or other parts of the nation. But it’s a step in the right direction -- trying to set up systems in which candidates don’t tailor their messages to the far right or far left. Innovative thinking would help fix a system that has been broken for years and is only getting worse.


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