Daily Resource Highlight - 4/19/2021

Posted by on April 19, 2021 at 4:25 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.

4/13/2021 -  Unite America: Primary Elections Determined 83% of the House. Wait, What!? 

I know this subject line feels like click-bait, but Unite America has done the math. In fact, elections for the 2021 U.S. House of Representatives were actually less competitive than it looks (numbers come from page 9 of the report):

  • 361 out of 435 (83%) congressional districts had a rating of “Likely Dem/Rep” or “Safe Dem/Rep” by Cook Political Report*
  • In 210 of those districts (48% of the U.S. House), there was a competitive primary, meaning that primary voters in those districts (10% of the electorate) determined nearly half of the House
  • In the remaining 151 districts (35% of the U.S. House), there wasn’t even a competitive primary

In other words, more than ⅓ of the U.S. House of Representatives was “elected” from districts where voters didn’t have a choice. Meanwhile, and as mentioned above, almost half of the House was effectively elected by primary voters. 

Unite America also released a video explaining why this is problematic and proposing some solutions. For instance, Unite America advocates for both open primaries and ranked choice voting (page 17), which -- as you may know -- are championed by Bridge Alliance members Open Primaries and FairVote (as well as others like IndependentVoting.org). You can read about additional proposed reforms on page 22 of the report.

*Republicans ended up winning two races that were rated as “Likely Democratic.”


4/15/2021 - R Street Wants to Help Build a Congress We Can Be Proud Of

We have previously told you about TechCongress’ efforts to update technology in Congress -- a process that was turbocharged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you may have realized, though, outdated technology isn’t the only challenge that Congress is facing. That’s why a multitude of stakeholders were excited by the creation of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. The Committee, which was created with a nearly unanimous vote, has now passed nearly 100 recommendations -- a remarkable feat considering that the Committee has an equal number of representatives from each party.

Recommendations, though, are only effective if they are implemented, which is where the R Street Institute hopes to make an impact. Their new website -- “Guide for a Modern Congress” -- is dedicated to advocating for action. They have taken the Committee’s 97 recommendations and consolidated them into 65 “solutions.” And among these solutions, they have identified 11 as “High Priority,” including (for instance) expanding staffing and collecting better data on staffers.