Partisan redistricting of congressional seats has, of course, been a major factor in the gridlock that cripples Washington. Virginia provides a striking example of what it is doing to the states. In its recent general election, only 27 of 100 House of Delegates seats were contested by a Democrat and a Republican. All the rest had been so gerrymandered as to be safe enough for one party or the other that potential candidates from the other side deemed their prospects so dismal they didn’t even run.

A recent investigation by ProPublica reveals that the groups that influence redistricting are “bankrolled by corporations, unions, and other special interests.”

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Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly.