Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-02-28
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Pundits have observed that if so many incumbents are returned to Congress each election by such wide margins, perhaps we should look for ways to increase competitivenessa??a centerpiece to the American way of lifea??through redistricting. Do competitive elections increase voter satisfaction? How does voting for a losing candidate affect votersa?? attitudes toward government? The not-so-surprising conclusion is that losing voters are less satisfied with Congress and their Representative, but the implications for the way in which we draw congressional and state legislative districts are less straightforward. Redistricting and Representation argues that competition in general elections is not the sine qua non of healthy democracy, and that it in fact contributes to the low levels of approval of Congress and its members. Brunell makes the case for a radical departure from traditional approaches to redistrictinga??arguing that we need to "pack" districts with as many like-minded partisans as possible, maximizing the number of winning voters, not losers.

Author Biography

Thomas L. Brunell is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Theories of representationp. 16
Voters prefer to win electionsp. 29
Traditional redistricting principlesp. 50
Why competitive elections are bad and noncompetitive elections are goodp. 75
Addressing the critiquesp. 90
Conclusionp. 113
Notesp. 126
Referencesp. 136
Indexp. 143
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