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Pitch

To increase support for climate legislation, engineer a less partisan Congress by giving redistricting power to the minority Party.


Description

Summary

To advance climate-related legislation, we'll need a more responsive Congress -- less ideology, more moderation and compromise. Putting the minority in charge of redistricting creates a incentive for that Party to draw boundaries that put more districts in play rather than to gerrymander to protect incumbents. This will incline all Parties to draft candidates who can appeal to swing voters more than to a narrow base, increasing common ground and the potential for dialog and compromise. It should also help constrain the undue influence of well-financed minorities, and move them to the fringes where they can do the least systemic harm as obstructionists while contributing to systemic good as critical voices. This simple, strategic step should improve the health of American democratic institutions, and through it, the climatic health of our planet.


Category of the action

Mitigation - What U.S. Federal Agencies can do to mitigate climate change


What actions do you propose?

This proposal should be pitched to established politicians with historically high marks of constituent service and whose opponents advocate for term limits. Term limits encourage radicalization because short-timers have small reason to compromise; they also encourage gerrymandering because each party needs to draw safe districts where they can insert new radicals in succession, thus protecting their power base. Because term limits devalue the institutional knowledge of career politicians yet enjoy some currency with the public, viable alternatives may be of value to senior political leaders facing strong challenges. Because this proposal encourages newcomers to the political process, established political leaders who are grooming successors, and/or Party officials who are attempting to slate viable challengers may also be receptive. Enlisting these leaders will likely be the quickest, most effective way to bring this idea to national attention, and then to the floors of State legislatures and Congress.


Who will take these actions?

Representatives in State legislatures and the US Congress will enact legislation giving the power and responsibility of redistricting to the minority Party. A strategically-minded Party could push the cause, but the actual work must be done in Congress and State Houses.

That said, most of the work necessary to realize this proposal will be done by individuals and local organizations to build public support to a level that cannot be ignored by the major Parties and their State and National Committees. 

Effecting this change will require a major grass-roots initiative in the form of a media storm both social and traditional, petition drives, ballot initiatives, and direct communication with elected officials and Party officers at all levels of government.


Where will these actions be taken?

Final action must be taken within the US House of Representatives and their State equivalents, but ultimate power lies with individual citizens, so most the early work will be done at home and in local communities, nationwide. This proposal really is about thinking globally and acting locally


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

This proposal would enable ratification of the Kyoto Accords and successors to it. Accordingly, that agreement sets the baseline estimate for emissions reductions.  The EPS's recent Clean Power Plan provides a second estimate of potential reductions. 


What are other key benefits?

It will offset the effect of the Citizens United ruling.

It's an alternative to term limits that does not infringe the liberties of those seeking public office or of their voting public.


What are the proposal’s costs?

There is probably a political scientist somewhere who has estimated how many volunteer hours, staff hours, and Representative hours it takes to pass a bill through as Congress or a State legislature. Where I work, this would be referred to as "a shitload"

While it may seem that dollar costs for organizing a grass-roots effort should be relatively low, because of the adverse effect this proposal will have on major donors and donor institutions that benefit from the Citizens United ruling, serious opposition can be expected, and this will drive up costs. 


Time line

The goal is to have this reform in place for the 2020 redistricting so that we have a more climate-responsive Congress sooner rather than later, though 2030 may be more realistic.

There is no reason the effort cannot begin now, and become an issue for this year's mid-term elections as both Parties could spin it to their advantage. 

The process starts with this submission. I suppose the next step is to contact think-tanks and foundations for funding, or to start a foundation of my own and try crowd-sourcing. I am investigating forming a 527 or 501c4 organization too. Seems daunting  -- and there is so much else that needs doing. Please help


Related proposals

This proposal is the same as the one I submitted under Changing Public Attitudes. I wasn't sure where it fit best so listed it twice. It's an elegant solution worth sharing. I will remove the earlier submission if listing it twice violates contest rules. 


References

The professional sports world is my reference. Giving the teams with the worst record first shot at talent encourages parity of competition, and through it the economic health of industry. Call it a market-based approach to the problem of disproportional minority voice and wealth disparity in the American democratic process, call it strategic human resource management for our political industry, there is no reason that making districts and elections more competitive should not benefit America generally, including its efforts to rationally address the causes and manage the consequences of climate change.

Another reference is the US Constitution itself, and other founding documents. The Founding Fathers were wise enough to balance countervailing interests against each other. This proposal follows that format, and as noted above, it works for the professional sports industry. Politics is a professional sport of social consequence beyond entertainment and betting -- though it includes both those activities. Our Nation's Founder's would likely agree.