Why watch Saturday Night Live in L.A. when the twitters from back East say it's weak? Does that mean TV shows now have a New York problem like movies have a Friday problem ? Movies: If twitterers don't like on Friday, it will die on Saturday. TV: If the East doesn't like it, it will die in West? Just asking! Not my industry. ... 1:45 A.M.
I agree with Charlie Cook that redistricting reform--an end to gerrymandering--is at least as important as campaign finance reform . Safe seats mean more voter alienation (voting doesn't produce changes) and less moderation (competitive districts will tend to produce candidates who fight for the center). But I didn't understand this Cook complaint:
There is more straight-ticket voting now than in the past. Few voters seem to value electing a candidate with the willingness and temperament to reach across the aisle. When President George W. Bush's policies and politics became unpopular, moderate-to-liberal Republicans were the ones who paid the highest price at the ballot box in 2006 and 2008.
Likewise, if President Obama or congressional Democrats are out of favor in November 2010, conservative-to-moderate Democrats will lose in far greater numbers than their liberal colleagues. And the cycle of hyperpartisanship will continue.
If gerrymandering were eliminated, that would mean more swing districts won by moderate Dems or moderate GOPs--but that would mean more moderate Dems losing in a Republican year, not fewer, no? That's what having a competitive district means. It would also mean more moderate Republicans losing in a Democratic year. It's the swing districts that swing! Moderates of either party have a shorter life expectancy. Redistricting reform doesn't change that. And reform would mean more swing districts. ...
P.S.: I understand that Cook is lamenting the rise of straight ticket voting, but why? We want competitive districts, I always thought, in part so voters can have an impact by throwing more of the bums out, not so voters can elect bipartisan moderates who hold their seats for life whether the President is a Democrat or a Republican. In itself, party line voting seems like something to be encouraged, because it makes it more likely that an incoming President will have a Congress that is, at least initially, supportive. That would make the ideas of the national parties, as elaborated in national campaigns mean more. ... Another way to put it (I think): The problem Cook's discussing isn't really an excess of partisanship, it's an artificial shortage of centrists within each party , which is not necessarily the same thing. ... [ Jesus, you're sounding like Ezra Klein-ed Tentative yet condescending! Took years to perfect.]
Good Cook point about how the gerrymandered House makes even the un-gerrymandered Senate
less moderate. .... 2:26 A.M.