David Broder
Journalist, The Washington Post
01:46

Re: Is the American political system broken?

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Stop the gerrymandering, Broder says.

David Broder

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David S. Broder is best known for the twice-weekly political column he writes for the Washington Post, where he has been on staff since 1966. Before joining the Post, he worked at the New York Times, the Congressional Quarterly,the now-defunct Washington Star and the Bloomington, IL Pantagraph. Broder appears as a frequent pundit on television programs such as Washington Week and Meet the Press. In addition to the Pulitzer, which he received in 1973, Broder was the receipient of the 1990 Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College. He is the author and co-author of six books, most recently The System: The American Way of Politics at the Breaking Point, with Haynes Johnson(1996). Broder taught at Duke University from 1987-88. Since 2001, he has held a tenured professorship at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. After receiving his AB in 1947 and his AM in 1951, both in Political Science, from the University of Chicago, Broder served in the United States Army for two years. Ideas recorded on: 9/13/07
Transcript
The system is pretty badly bent if it’s not broken. And it is beyond our capacity as reporters to fix it. I think a lot of it has to do with institutions. Start with the fundamental structure of the Congress; the ___________ in which Congressional districts are now drawn makes it almost impossible to have the House of Representatives function in its historical role of representing short-term swings in public opinion. Because so many of those districts have been gerrymandered to fix permanently for one party or the other. The political parties themselves have been weakened over the years, though they have come back somewhat in financial terms. And the relationship at the personal level between members of the two parties is as poisonous as I’ve ever seen it, and that is something that they have to solve. We can’t solve it for them.

I think it would be changing the way in which we draw the Congressional districts to make more of them competitive. I think if we had 200 competitive House races every two years instead of 30 or 40, you’d have a totally different kind of Congress – one where issues would be dealt with, not kicked down the road. Recorded on: 9/13/07


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