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Analysis: Something *very* important for our politics happened on Tuesday

January 13, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 18.2%. 1 min read.

While the eyes of the world were focused on the impeachment efforts against President Donald Trump in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan of neighboring Maryland did something extremely important in beginning the long process of unwinding our current political polarization.

The Republican governor announced that via executive order he had created an independent commission he will task with redrawing the state's congressional and legislative lines following the decennial reapportionment later this year.

What that has meant, in the main, is that when Democrats control the state capitol and, therefore, the line-drawing process, they create districts that are as favorable as possible for their side.

But these exceptions notwithstanding, the dominant trend produced by partisan politicians drawing the congressional district lines is this: The vast majority of members of Congress, on both sides of the aisle, represent what we would call "safe" districts -- meaning that their only chance of losing their job would be in a primary, not a general election.

Independent or bipartisan commissions to redraw the maps in states -- as Hogan is trying to do in Maryland -- work to reorient the incentive structure for members by creating districts that are far more competitive between the two parties in general elections.

The state's congressional districts have regularly changed hands between the parties, with Republicans winning two previously-held Democratic seats in the 2020 election.

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