tv David Daley Unrigged CSPAN April 26, 2020 1:01pm-2:21pm EDT
the model for what we pretty much work, the model what we put in our headed. the material you create as a journalist is now being economically incentivized by this system that rewards cheap, and thank god amazon is a great company because they made jeff rich and jeff employs you and thang god for that but the point is we shouldn't have to live in that word ask that's what i'm working on. >> that's unfortunately all the time we have for today but thank you for join us to talk but the new book. the innovation stack. >> this program is available as a podcast. all "after words" programs can be viewed on our website at booktv.org. >> on behalf of town hall seattle and the american
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that david daley is the author of rat fuck. can i say that on the radio, the creditor. rat fuck the true to behind the secret plan to steal america's academicracy, reforming gerrymandering. the former editor in chief of -- at the former ceo and publisher of the connecticut news project. a digital media fellow and the gradey school of journalism and his work neaped the new yorker, the "washington post," the guardian, the atlantic, rolling stone and as a correspondent on cnn and npr. he helped identify milk felt that the deep throat source for
-- chris novoselic is a political -- and a founding member of anywhere van in and play -- nirvana. he wrote a weekly column for the seattle weekly and board share of fairboat. the first book, of grunge and government, let's fix this broken democracy. his book is the subject of tonights timely talk, joan my in welcoming david daley and chris >> thank you. >> it is -- thanks for tuning in to the town hall. i hope everybody is happy and sane and healthy during this pandemic, and just even do the
best you and can we should make it through this. and so, dave daley here, my colleague, i met through fair vote, he has new book called "unrigged," how americans are fighting back to save our democracy. and so tonight's conversation is going to be about gerrymandering, where political insiders, political elites, they draw district lines for single member districts to benefit themselves and their political parties. you know the horror stories and dave can touch on that. and so we're going to talk but gerrymandering and we're also going to propose some solutions, namely proportional representation, a type of voting.
so, dave's new book is out, so i'll turn it over to you and so let's hear it, dave. >> thanks. i am really sorry not to be out there with everyone tonight. again, i also hope you're all safe and sane. i know we all sand together with you doctors and nurses and the folks in the grocery stores and journalists and all the essential workers who are so carefully doing their jobs for all the rest of us. thank you for everyone at town hall and third place for selling books tonight, the american constitutional society, our friends at fair vote washington. everybody could use your help and support. these amazing book stores and terrific activist groups so get involved during these difficult days. we could also i think use some optimism and some hope, and this new book, "unrigged" began with
a quest for hope. like nexted in introduction i writ this book book called "rat fuck" about gerrymandering and has to have a memorable title and first laid out the highly effective republican strategy in 2010 to win the state legislatures in competitive states like ohio, north carolina, michigan, wisconsin, pennsylvania, just ahead of the redistricting era of 2011. we draw all the lines again as soon as the census numbers arrive to try to account for population equality in all these states. then they use the single member districts and they redrew them with the powerful new map making software, these amazing new data sets that really made it possible to go up and down the
streets and essentially choose their own voters, and to kind of hot wire our democracy itself. at this point it's an amazing number, this 59 million americans, almost one in five of us, that live in a state where one or both chambers of the state legislature is controlled by the party that won fewer votes in 2018. one in five. and then on november 8, 2016, you had the of those gerrymandered states, each of whiched a made it moyer difficult for people to vote in really specific ways. earlier in the decade and hand donald trump the electoral college and americans woke touch this deeply divided country, closely divided country, but all the political power was sitting on one side in washington and
the supreme court, 70% of state legislatures nationwide, was all concentrated on one side. and it's not a partisan argument. it's a bad for representative democracy when a majority of voters are consistently unable to win a majority of seats. and you had this toxic combination of single member districts, gerrymandering, kind of closely followed by these voter speakings lawsuits that had been passed by the unaccountable legislatures and it really tied our democracy into this profoundly unfair double knot and had established this kind of nearly unbeatable minority rule in competitive places, and it was kind of hard to see a solution for this crisis that i thought had contributed so deeply to the
extremism and the sense of hopelessness that plagued so much of our politics. i feel look i had the dark rain cloud over my head, and i wanted to get rid of that, and one day i sow a facebook post by a young michigan woman named katy and katy as an amazing story, elect night 2016 she leaves her job as working at a recycling nonprofit in grand rapids, michigan, puts on her best red pant suit and flies to new york with a golden ticket for hillary clinton's victory party. the night did no go as katy planned. and gets home and is getting ready to go to work the next morning and she is already sort of terrified of what thanksgiving will bring in her house, bernie supporters, trump
supporters, there's disappoint hilary backer and she is just imagining mashed potatoes and turkey and gravy flying across the table. so the takes social media and writes, i want to take on gerrymandering in michigan: if you want to do that as well, join me here and she adds a miley face emoji at the end of this. and gerrymandering in michigan has severed the connection between the ballot box and the popular will in michigan and yet no one had been able to do anything about it for the entire decade. that post by a 27-year-old, pioneers this winning redistricting revolution in a state that no one thought could happen. that post ends. marshaling 4,000 volunteers. together they go out and collect 430,000 signatures. they make it on the ballot. the first time in michigan that
this has happened without having to go out and pay collectors to good out and do it. then they won in november 2018. they beat back a koch brothers money and devos money and the u.s. chamber of commerce money set against them. 62% of the state agreed with them. they'll have an independent commission drawing the lines in michigan in 2021. so it wasn't long after that, that i met desmond mead who had taken on the really difficult task of returning voting rights to 1.7 million former felons in florida who had essentially lost their civic voice forever along with a conviction even after they serve their time. it was just this cruel vestige of the jim crow south, and it ensnared 10% of all the adults in the state, 25% of all the black men in the state.
and mead new that pain well bus he was one of them, and a drug addiction and a deep depression had led to a felony weapons charge, and one afternoon, after his release, he is homeless, still struggling with drugs, he stands before the railway tracks in miami and he is just waiting for the next train to come. except the train that afternoon for whatever reason doesn't arrive, and he walks across the tracks instead, it's as if he says to me like he was guided by some kind of power and he actually finds himself outside a drug treatment center. checks him in turns his life around, returns to college, aways a law degree but doesn't matter because the one thing you can't do in florida, no matter what, is earn back the right to vote. so he becomes the director of the florida rights restoration
commission. builds this amazing coalition that unites black and white, democrats and republicans, ex-cons and second chance believing churchgoers. tattooed trump loving deplorables and radical criminal justice reformers into a mighty moral coalition. this was fund by the koch brothers and the aclu at the same time, and on election day 2018, even as florida elects a republican governor, republican u.s. senator, and two really close races, a big majority, super majority, 64% of the vote, back restoring these voting rights in a constitutional amendment. all of these people had stood up and voted for fairness. and i was really inspired by these stories. just the way they sort of triumphed over this sense of despair in our politics, and i was pretty sure we didn't need
another book about how democracy dies and what i want ted do is set out and join these quiet revolutionaries who seem to me to be reinvigorating the civic fabric of at the time that we needed it most, it and didn't matter if these barrier were high or stout. they were willing to tilt at them and take them on. so i joined those canvassers across michigan with voters, not politicians, and door knocked across utah and missouri where activists won two big campaigns against gerrymandering, watched native americans across the red rock deserts of and put the tribal lands of north dakota mount these desperate heroic pushes to determine their street addresses and make themselves ids. i rode the medicaids express
acrosshide homicide with millenial activists who didn't understand why their legislature wouldn't take the obama care money back from the federal government to ensure that 70,000 of their neighbors had health insurance. in alabama, where the state legislature finally under court order returned voting rights denied to tens of thousands of former prisoners there, but they wouldn't do anything to actually sign these folks up and get them back on the rolls weapon went door to door, bus station to barber shop width concerned citizens determined to add these folks, their neighbors, back to the voting rolls. they won big, they won everywhere it and was just amazing to watch because it was like this time in which the news cycle feeds your exhaustion and i was able to go out and spend a year sort of riding along with these people who had turned off twitter and stopped watching
msnbc and went out and just got to work. in idaho the medicaid expansion initiative ban there after two recent graduates from a high school in sand point, way up north in idaho, they were now studying medicine and history but realized they might have organization skills that would help a school levy pass in their town that was up against this bitter well-funded opposition, and they came back to sand point, organized there, they won and they were hungry for more. they decided they would take on health-care in idaho as their issue and painted that 40-year-old rv and they dubbed this he medicaid express and took he from corner to corner of idaho collecting signatures and this one part state as red as taylor swift's lipstick they captured 61% of the volt the old fashioned ways.
knocked or doors, persuaded them. i joined them inhood falls falld this idaho falls and this amaze little moment we walk up in the driveway in a parking lot a car with a bumper sticker saying vietnam we were winning when i left and i'm thinking maybe we should move on and go -- knock on the door down there. that one -- this one might not be a very good bet. but the man inside comes to door and says, oh, yeah, i know exactly what you're talk us about. my wife falls in that gap. my daughter falls into the gap. i'm completely with you. just by talking to folks. you just got the sense maybe we were not as polarized as we would have been, or as people like to say we are. there was powerful stories to
watch in north dakota as well, which is a state that has such clean elects, they don't even bother requiring voter registration there but in 2013, right after the native american vote helped cat houston hollywoody heitkamp interest the u.s. senate, the legislators decided to pass a voter i.d. lieu that demands a street address. they knew it didn't exist in tribal land and the tribes were able to knock this back in court which the legislature would just keep coming at it every single time court would order this go away. the legislature would come back and refine it and try again, and finally in 2018, just before election day, they get a judge that okayed it and the voter i.d. restrictions were able to go into law, and these tribes, they just got to work, they got in touch with professors and
academics and experts in mapping and they did all this sophisticated gis work to nail down addresses for all of the homes on the trial land and then printed i.d.s. they burned the i.d. machines out, they made so many. turnout soared. it was wild. one of the big wins that night, the first native american woman ever elected to the legislature in north dakota, defeats the man who first proposed the voter i.d. bill in 2013. so it was pretty amazing to just see. and you just -- you see this happening all over the country. i watched it in maine. home to this rich tradition of independent candidates, where citizens demanded a vote system
that allowed them to rank choices and limit a murielity so candidate and when the voters stood in the wayne, long petition drives not once but twice, and won, these people did not wait for the supreme court. they did not wait for a super hero presidential candidate. they stood up, they acted, they became the protectors of democracy that i think we all imagine that we might actually want our representatives to be. now, some of these victories have been pushed back on, state legislatures have not embraced them all. they've fought them. but i think it's important to kind of remember the two steps forward even if there's a half step back. the history of voting rights in
this country is one of expansion and retraction. it's never been a straight line and really our current chapter is just the latest in a struggle over the vote that is old as the nation itself. we might want to manage that the history of the nation is one of everexpanding suffrage but has not been that way. the struggle didn't went if the 13th, 14th and a amended. didn'tened with the voting rights act and didn't end with this victories on election day of 2018. there's a lot of work that remains, and the work that remains is going to get a lot more difficult. i mean, we keep a democracy, it turns out, requires a lot of work, but i think what all of these stories show is that when regular citizens unite and fight for the kind of democracy they want, when they grab on to that
martin luther king's long moral arc of justice in the universe and they pull it down hard, these structural barriers, they don't stand under that kind of pressure. just leave you real quick with a story from alabama that really stays with me. there was a night in the 1990s? rural alabama that sherry lost her voting rights forever, and it was a night that might sound familiar to a lot of us. high school friends in a classmate's car and go through a drive-thru and someone passes around a joint and then there's the sound of a police car and a couple of white officers wondering what the owed door might be. a lot of cops might have looked the other way probably in a lot of other towns that night night
clear's evening end its with drug possession charges for everybody. they were no longer senior eyes of the state. they were felons and in alabama drug possession, even a minor drug possession charge, also was called a crime of moral turpitude, and if you were guilty of a crime of moral turpitude, you forfeited you're right to vote forever. sherry was 17 years old she had never voted, never would. her most important right as a citizen forfeited before she had even been able to use it. we had no idea, she told me, we weren't thinking about voting at all. why would she? but the folks who designed alabama's constitution were definitely thinking about voting back in the 1870s and those were the laws that entrapped her 120 years later.
finally, alabama's legislature ends more turpitude under the threat of a court decision, but the state doesn't tell anybody what they've done about it. they quietly end it, refuse to sign up people like sherry and get think back on the voting rolls so citizen its started going door to do and doing the work ask that's how i met her and heard the story outside the birmingham bus station one more than just after 6:00 a.m. she was grabbing a ride out to the hair salon where she worked. we approached her, asked if she was registered to vote. she waved us away. folks don't want toed a notice a stranger they have this kind of conviction. finally she's like i can't vote. we're like, you know probably can as longing a it's one of these three serious charges you can do this weapon hand her a form and we get h.e.r. right
back to vote, and it seems like there were just tears falling from all of us that didn't end anytime soon. it still really moves me. and i think that this is what all of this is about. this is what we're fighting for. we're fighting for people like sherry. this is a nation that has been built by the people, it's been improved by the people, whether the folks are working for suffrage or walking across selma's pettis bridge, progress has been long and hard but of our own making and that responsibility to fight for progress now has been passed on to all of us, who believe in principle over partisanship, brought together by the belief that change belongs to us all, that equal protection belongs to us all, that one person, one vote, means us all. what i saw is something has been lit within the american people,
and that citizens who would never joined a protest, began to circulate petitions and ran for office and launched new organizations, joined movements that might reimagine what democracy means. ignored those who said the work be too hard. or warned the odds of victory would be too long or uncertain for that kind of a lift, and devoted hours and came together in rvs and bus stations and the doors on frigid winter morning some made dreams real the ballot box and won resounding majorities of fellow citizens across parties and inspired americans in red states in blue states in every state who still believed all political power is inherent in the people, that legitimate authority depends on the consent of the govern and that representative democracy must represent us all equally. these were battles on behalf of
what is right. they were led by millenials, by former felons, be suburban women. by americans who refused to believe that creating change was beyond them. i think it's proof there is a mighty unrigging that's underway and i hope the story leaves you with the same rebirth of optimism and hope it did for me. thanks. i turn it over to krist. >> thanks, david. i'm so proud of you and the work you do and i'm proud to work with you, and what you're advocating basically is freedom, and how people can resist forces like the state, like i'm not an antigovernment person by any means. but sometimes the state can come down a little too hard, and we can push back. we do that through political
organizing, and that kind of gets me to my story on how i started. if i just on the side, we're going through this covid-19, coronavirus and when we come out of this it's going to be the transition into the 21st 21st century. like we finally were into the 21st century. 20 years now and there's got to be new structures and we have to do things in new ways and we also -- you're talking about going out into the communities, talking with people, and communities coming together, people with shared needs, and shared values, going out and engaging the system for freedom. and how do we do that in this post covid world? sharing means, social media is not political participation. my story is, it was in the early '90s, in this band, nirvana,
and seattle music and grunge rock took the world by storm, and at the same time, people all over the world -- they knew seattle, they in sound garden, nirvana, pro pearl jam, space needle, as his in chain -- alice in chains, mt. rainier, icons of seattle and washington state. yet at the same time if you wanted -- if you were an adult between the ages of 18 and 20 years old, you couldn't go to most small scale music events in seattle, and especially if you were a minor. forget it. that's where the music scene is happening. and so as a music community we came together and we engaged the state, we took on the city, we came together as bands, as music promoters, people and beer
distributors, people working in this whole, like, ecosystem of live music in seattle and had this very positive message, that seattle music brings cultural and economic vitality to the state and to the city. when we took this message to state agencies, the state legislators and started to get grands and relationships and verizon started to respond to that and we turned things around. you can all all ages shows in seattle and now we have mo pop museum in self-about it was a lot of work and -- it took patience and time, so there's that delayed gratification, but in the meantime, you live life and you have as much fun as possible so there's a difference between meaningful work and crusading. you see people who crusade. you have to live life and they
do christ you do politics and, no, i'm in two bands but i am involved in the community. i go to grange meetings and count commission meetings when things affect me and that's how you stay involved. along the way, i got my civic education here working with, like, jam packed, washington music industry coalition, and i learned on how -- how does a bill work? how does -- there's these agencies that do this. there's -- the word agency, the legislature and the legislation, the agents, they enact this, these laws. and how do you negotiate the system? and then i started to look at voting rules and did we have to really -- we had some really bad ooopen anyones. there was censorship bill and
they wanted a sticker on your music that said this is harmful to minors and would have led to adults music stores. are so adult section of the record story. probably sell more records that way, not safe for work. our music is nsfw, look at all the clicks. that wasn't right. that's like censorship so we would have bad opponents and we thought we should run somebody against that person and people would shrug and say, no, they're in a safe seat. what is a safe feet? a safe seat is the way they drew the districts and there's so many of like-minded voters you wouldn't -- you could run somebody but they wouldn't win. sure they'd get 40, maybe 42% of the vote, but the opponent would -- but still lose. go what kind of system is that? that doesn't seem fair to me.
and so i was on the alta vista search engine at the time, like people said you want to buy stock in google? i'm like, what stupid name. that's never going to go anywhere. i'm on alta visit tsa just kidding. so i would do these word searches -- this is 1996-95-96 and i'd come across electoral reform, voting reform, and there was this one group in the united states called fair vote. okay, and then there was these ideas, like what is rank choice voting. really? you can do this? what is proportional representation. we have that here in the united states in that's not something exotic european thing. no, it's being used in the united states, who is chair of fair vote at the time? the late john b anderson.
he ran an iconic campaign for president in 1980 as an independent. so here i came out of the indy music scene. here's an indy politician, and so i got involve with fair vote, and i started to learn a lot about how we can do things differently, and we can empower voters and give voters more choices, more voices, that these ideas are established. they're taught in law school, they're used -- these kind of proportional systems are used in about 100 places in the united states. and most -- the case law has been upheld by the courts, judges have protected this. these are constitutionally protected ideas, and if you look in the voting rights act, mostly in the case law of the voting rights action to give people more voices and more choices,
when, dave, you described these scenarios where people were just shutting -- legislators were shutting people out and the voting rights act you don't have to necessarily have a single member district. you can have must tie membered district with must tie withins and it's not like the at-large that causes problems. this is like a modified at-large system. it's proportional representation. what is proportional representation? i'll just end with this. a little moment here. proportional -- what is it not? proportional representation is not a parliamentary system. a par limitary system is a system of government. that's like where there's usual lay unicameral legislature and the ministers elect leader of the country w.h.o. -- who is the
prime minister. unite kingdom, westminster, that's parliamentary system but they have a voting system similar to most of the united states because we have 50 states so you have to be federal kind of deal, but they have a winner take all single member district system, and yet they have a parliament. so, here in the out, we can have a proportional voting system i think in the united kingdom, too, a lot of people are fighting there, too. what a proportional system? you would have, say, three-seat district or a four-or five-seat district, and then voters would share representation. so like say in a three-seat district, there could be -- you could elect two democrats and one republican. or vice versa. two republicans and one democrat
because it's shared. so, people are paying taxes, they're subject to the laws and rules of the land, then they deserve to have a voice, and that's what i believe is what freedom is. there's various ways to do it. gets kind of wonky, but gerrymandering is very wonky. it's very, very sophisticated process. there's a science to it and you need all kind odd computers, you need a scope of knowledge and experts to do it. and it's occluded. it's done in the shadow and it's sneaky and these insiders tilt the scales in their favor. so proportional representation on the other hand is transparent. voter no the voting rules. everybody gets the same ballot and the county is the same way.
and most people elect a candidate of choice. i mentioned republicans and democrats. but also be space for third parties, independent candidates, too with proportional representation. i think that's what we need in the united states. in washington state, we have these house districts so you'll get your ballot here and it says, washington state house of representatives, position one, position two. and they're separate races. that's not in the state constitution. that was invented by olympia in 1966. i could tell you the whole story behind it but i don't warn to burn up the time, but, for example, we could have a system using existing districts from 2011, okay, and you could give voters one vote to elect two seats.
proportional system. right? so if you look at eastern washington, just a sea of red legislator which is kind of redundant. they're districts where there's 35-40% of voters vote democrat and never elect anybody. so, with this system, which i call top two pro, you get one vote and the top two vote getters would win. so, every seat in the state dish mean every house district in the state would have two -- would have a bipartisan delegation to legitimate. except for six. by my last time -- a few years ago -- have to run the numbers again for recent elects but six seats in seattle which would have either two democrats or maybe another party. there is another party active in seattle. and who actually has somebody on the city council, but that would
be up to voter could decide whether that party gets on the legislature. it's not up to olympia. state redistricting commission, i watched it closely in 2011. dave, you're right, i agree 100%. every state needs to have a redistricting independent redistricting commission to draw lines on every level, but only goes so far because you're just -- you could be taking the power out over the hands of legislators but then you're giving the power to a commission, okay? and in 2011, i wasn't happy at all with the way our commission drew the lines, and peter callahan did -- with the tacoma news tribune got e-mails from olympia in 2011 and legislators fingerprints were all over the map and they wanted these precincts, those precincts, and they knew -- they were all over
because in washington state, we have -- we don't really have independent redistricting. we have bipartisan redistricting. so basically the two parties, the inculp -- -- incumbent of both parties clued and make the district, and callahan concluded in this article that perhaps the redistricting commission in 2011 had rush brushed up against the public open meetings law where basically that had these hearings and meeting and then the deal was done behind closed doors doors and he was careful with his words it we had a proportional system in the state house, top two pro, you get one vote to elect two seats. then voters have the power all over the state and then you get
rural democrats coming to olympia, you get more urban republicans who couldn't be more moderate. more moderation. olympia is very polarized and just butting heads, and i think we can do it. there you have it. thanks for listening, folks. >> we have some good questions heave looks like. actually we'll do this. jump into some of these? >> if you have questions, there's a little ask a question module at the bottom, and -- >> click on it. here we go. i'm so glad to be par difference pating and thanks for doing this. i do have a question. i recently got involved with the
wrong choice voting efforts in washington. i'm just learning so i'm sorry if this might seem like a dumb question. no such thing as a dumb question, but would this effort benefit the limiting gerrymandering effort are they, a., relate. re terms of yes put anything more. that's from caroline. yes, well, there's local option bill, there's a group fair vote washington doing really good work and it's been in olympia for a couple of years and it's basically to give local communities the option to do things like rank choice voting. there's two kind rank choice voting. the kind for single winners lick a governor, state executive, or mayor, or whatever, and then there's the proportional version of it, which is like they use
for the senate in australia, nadal, the legislature in ireland, malta, they use it in cambridge, massachusetts. there's a long history of proportional -- rank choice voting proportional in the united states. so basically it's a system where, say, if you have a three-seat district and you just rank your candidates, who should get electedment there's a thresh hole to get elected. 25% of the vote to get elected. vote transfers that we don't have to get into the weeds right now, but it's a form of proportional representation, and it's good proportional voting for the united states because we believe it adheres to values of americans. it's not -- like in a lot of european countries when you vote in a proportion sal system it's
a party based system, and americans aren't really -- americans can't -- vote for candidates more than they do parties. so with rank choice voting you can vote far candidate and they're from a party so you can also vote for independents. so, it's a candidate-based system. so that's -- and it's established here in the united states. it's protected by -- believe me it's been sued recently. the insiders have gone after it and the courts have consistently upheld it, and it's a very, very powerful way for -- it's basically solves gerrymandering. you're sharinging representation. you're just like -- you vote democrat but your neighbor vote republican, then you likely --
or vice versa and both likely elect somebody. then whoever is in the majority in the legislature, that is where it works, and a second part of that -- so the majority in the legislature, then we have -- anyway, another thing about this kind of voting, rank choice voting, is dish lost my train of thought. oh, it's very -- it's conservative threshold. so, like, in israel, the threshold is 3.5% now. they bumped it up but gets complicate if you bump up the threshold in israel amlet of arab voters would get locked out. germany, a threshold of 4% inch russia their threshold is 8% to get elected into their duma under party list voting.
if rank choice voting in a three-member district it would be 25% to get elected, 33%, 25% dish just said 25 -- there would be a threshold, 15, whatever. it's a more conservative system and i think americans like that. so, those are the two things with rank choice voting with proportional, the technical name is the single transferable vote, and it's the conservative threshold, and that is candidate based. you want to add anything to, that david? >> yeah. just super quickly, you asked would this benefit limiting gerrymandering effort. think it would what i would say is this, one of the really bad things but gerrymandering is
that it destroys competitive districts and when you don't have competitive districts, what you getting -- the only race that matters is the party primary and then you end up with these low turnout summer primaries that only the base comes out for and you end up with these extreme candidates, and nobody from the other side either returning or can run or raise the money to rung so you have this lopsided, uncompetitive, hyperextreme, and when you can fix the districts by either having bigger districts that elect multiple people or using rank choice voting in primaries or general elects you're able to kind of
get around that. it makes the lines matter less if you can come up with a system that sort of gets around the ability of politicians to manipulate it in their favor. >> last year "the new york times" ran a couple of major editorials supporting rank choice voting as a proportional for the united states house of representative. nicer constitutional barrier in the united states to have proportional representation. >> washington state has a bipartisan redistricting commission, the commission seems to focus on helping incumbented stay in power. i think that is absolutely right. your commission is a bipartisan politicians get together and carve it up commission as opposed -- >> i have an answer to that question. give the state auditor power to
-- a legal term -- enjoin. if the map comes and somebody klains chairs certain rubles-there's enabling solution to enact the redistricting commission -- >> i don't think -- -- >> join the state squad for -- state auditor -- empower the state auditor enjoin the map and hold the map up and say map is illegal because the commission didn't follow the rules. if you look at what happened last time they could have broken some ruled. they never defined communities of interest, never -- it gets pretty wonky so i don't want to get so the weeds right now. >> can just -- the only reason -- i would say commissions are only as good and bad as the criteria they're given and the people who serve on them and how they're set up to function.
if you have a commission that's made up of poll politician whose goal is to draw themselves -- >> political appointees in washington. there's like -- there's two republicans and two democrats -- two major parties -- there's four marge party people two republicans and two democrats and then one independent chair. but you have to remember when their cite tierways, we're this independent excision and rules say we have to draw single member districts. you cannot draw 100% competitive districts because there's other cite tiery. there's a compactness. the commission did a good job, washington last year, there's compactness and keep communes of interest together but if you really wanted to make competitive districts you would have weird districts from, like, say, capitol hill in seattle and this finger going all the way
over the hill into el lensburg if you know where that is. so it's kind of going over the cascades and so with proportional representation, all that goes away. it's just like you have these larger districts. so "the new york times" had an op-ed last year and then where they endorsed the idea for rank choice voting, proportional representation, for the u.s. house of representatives. there's no constitutional barrier to this. it can be enabled by statute. have to repeal a statute from 1967 that mandates single member districts. these are all political decisions and statutory deals. so basically they would be like three, four, five member districts for the u.s. house. the second thing they advocate was enlarging the size of the house by 100 seats. so currently there are 435 seats in the united states house.
and prior to 1911, there's nowhere in the constitution that says there needs to be -- there shall be 435 seats. that's another political decision made in 1911. they stopped at 435. so, "the new york times" is saying, let's have 535 seats. which would make the u.s. house about the size of the german bundestadt. it's not unreasonable so you would have -- we would have larger districts, and -- but at the same time they wouldn't necessarily be geographically larger because there would be 100 more seats in house and that would bring the u.s. house closer to the people. so that's hough it would work. then you would call your representative. i live in southwest washington and it's a safe seat, republican seat. even though the republican -- the democrat wins like 45% of
the vote, 46% of the vote. down the drain. that's a lot of votes to go to elect nothing. right? and nancy pelosi, democrat, they won the house in 2018, because they had to get, like -- here's my doggie -- a super majority of votes just to do that because republicans have a numerical advantage. not only do they have an advantage in the u.s. senate with, like, population, and conservative rural states, and they have an advantage in electoral college through gerrymandering. republicans have an advantage. so, basically we're proposing a constitutionally protected statutory change. we don't have to amend the united states constitution to do this. and empowers people and there
will be more democrats coming out tv the midwest. you'll get republicans coming out of new york city. you'll have gay guys getting elected. fiscal conservatives but socially liberal. it would be kind of a different ball game, and it would shake things up, and i hope along the way that we also have repealed antiparty rule so we can have more grassroots par temperatures pacing but a what we have -- participation is people hate political parties so much, they have thrown out the baby with the bath water and they've really suppressed grassroots participation, and what is happening is, in ensuing political vacuum, you have this multibillion dollar consultant industry and they have -- use the -- they've infected
washington, dc. iered already. i deserve it. you get all these consultants in insiders and they recruit candidates, they lobby and it's just this like professional political consultant class that is really messed up politics. and we need to go bark to more grassroots for television base because that what david is talking about in his book "unrig," how people do grassroots work and we need to have empower parties because parties could actually keep -- we have the celebrity politicians;...
you have the governor try to postpone a primary the day before saying she couldn't do it and then the public health department shut it down the next morning anyway because it wasn't safe. and they have every right to do that. the other states saw turnout drop dramatically. imagine if we get to october and we are postponing elections, it's a dramatic and scary thing. i hope we see this through and see it through quickly. what else have we got here? trying to bounce around to different topics. despite oratorio victories to stop gerrymandering, people in florida have no qualms about resorting to trickery and deceptive behaviors to preserve
their power. yeah. it serves an anti-science, anti-equality agenda. [indiscernible] what i saw when i went around the country promoting this book i what i see on the gerrymandering and voting rights is that as partisan as our politics are, i don't see in these elections. in michigan, the independent commission won with two percent of the vote. in florida, it one with 64 percent of the vote. in colorado and ohio, redistricting passed upwards of 70 percent. missouri, it was in the mid-60s. i really do think most
americans this is a question of basic fairness. and it's not as partisan as these representatives have turned it into. the folks who get elected and changed these laws to keep themselves in power are part of the problem. i don't want to sugarcoat how difficult it is to defeat folks who will go to any extreme to entrench themselves in power. what you saw in florida where 64 of the - - percent of the people in the florida legislature - - [indiscernible]. it does same now that the
courts will take care of that, i hope. [indiscernible] we still have section 2. it's extraordinarily hard and this is where i think john roberts was so disingenuous in the gerrymandering decision that came down last year and the year before from the north carolina case. he says voters can fix this. vote these folks who drew those lines out of office. it's like, no, they can't. if they could do that, voters wouldn't be resorting to picket lines and spending their times trying to salvage independent commissions.it's not what
voters want to do with their free time. >> democrats passed a bill to restore section 5. >> yeah. part of house bill one. >> that was sprawling. >> a lot of stuff in that bill. you look at wisconsin, where in 2018, they defeat walker. we elect the ãreelect baldwin. when 200,000 more votes for the state assembly but republicans have a 63/36 edge. you can't change that at the ballot box. i'm sorry mr. chief justice, but it doesn't work that way. that's why it moved to court. it's going to be hard in some of these places but the only way to do it in some of these states is to keep trying.
what else have we got here? any - - questions? okay. >> do you worry about the minority representation that will always seem to exist in the senate? - - okay, 40 million voters, california gets the same senate representation as 500,000 in wyoming. any idea what could be done at the ballot box? seems wyoming will only be red.
federalism, we have this giant federal government. spend a lot of money on armaments. there's this whole military industrial complex of blowing money. that benefits a lot of these red states. proportional representation again, add seats to the u.s. house. there will be more presented is coming out of california. to the house. so that gives more balance, right? that's my answer. >> i think you have to change the nature of the fed entirely in that it's about to become this deeply unrepresentative and dangerously unchecked institution. 70 percent of the population
will have 30 percent of the representation in the senate and it's going to be really hard to move anything that 70 percent of the public wants if you have a block. 30 percent will have 70 seats. we have to think about basic fairness. but, there's a really interesting proposal from - - in pennsylvania which says how about if each state gets one senator and then you add 5-6 more and then you have 105- 106. dividers other 56 proportionately and you balance the chamber out a little bit that way. i think you're exactly right. the idea that wyoming can have more senators.
>> voters in coastal states will say, we are sending all this money to the states that elect all these - - maybe that money will be better served here in washington or california. >> a professor did appease in the atlantic a couple years ago. it's the very best proposal i've seen on this and i recommend it highly. we have time for one-two more. let's see - -
>> ending the electoral college. you want to do that one? >> visitors a new book on this by jesse wegman called, let the people choose the president. i would highly recommend jesse's book. he was just on fresh air and you should go back and take a look at that. i would be all for - - [inaudible] >> i mean, it's just so funny to think this contraption of the system we have set up. if you were starting from scratch and setting something up, you would never come up with anything as wild as this. it seems as it has outlived its usefulness.>> considering congress gave up so much of its power to the executive. >> one of the things i worry about, and i will end here.
- - in the constitution gives the power to the state legislatures. which are so often gerrymandered. if we don't come up with ways to ensure the vote is safeguarded, this november. what you could see if the votes can't be counted is the power to choose electors, goes to the state legislature. the legislature can choose the electors. >> that is bush versus gore.
>> people talk right now, can trump cancel the election? no. the president can't do that. election day is set by - - that's not going to happen with divided government. but what could very well happen is you could have individual states either unable to hold elections or whatever. who would have imagined that march 30, we'd be in this position. i don't think we have any sense what happens in november. but remember, article 2 section 1, the state legislatures can choose electors. we don't have individual rights to do that. >> many of using right choice
of voting to choose electors. for electors, to at-large and one for each congressional district. they will choose their electors this november. it's going to be really interesting. >> awesome. thank you chris. thank all of you. thank you townhall. you can buy books down below. i will send out the ãif you send me the books, i will be happy to sign them. i hope i get to seattle sometime soon. sorry i couldn't be with you. hi candace. >> hi. hi everyone. i'm one of the event managers. i just want to say thank you to
david and chris for your input tonight on this important topic.thank you all to the viewing audience for joining us. please consider following this townhall podcast channel by clicking the follow button at the top of your screen. you can also support us by donating by clicking the donate button at the bottom right of your screen. also please remember to support our partner bookseller, by purchasing a copy of david's new book. with the by the book button. we will see you again next time. thank you again to both of you for being here. and everybody stay safe. >> this weekend on booktv, tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern on
"after words", former fbi director andrew mccabe with his book, the threat. how the fbi protects america in the age of terror and trump. >> i was concerned by what i felt were the corrosive impact that these false narratives about the fbi, the corrosive impact those narratives are having on the people of the fbi and their ability to do their work. i felt like if people understood really about the organization. who we are, how we work.what kind of people are drawn to the fbi and most importantly, how we make the decisions we did. based on specific legal authorities and priorities and policies given to us by the department of justice. not based on politics and personal preference.>> on "after words" this weekend on booktv on c-span2.
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present - - the issue of white supremacy and racial injustice. and u.s. news and world report looks at how presidents have handled crisis. from franklin d roosevelt to donald trump. check your program guide for more information. strengths and weaknesses of president trumps foreign policy and the role of conservative nationalism. >> welcome to the carnegie endowment it is a great pleasure for me to welcome all of you to this book discussion of colin dueck "age of iron"