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"I'm just tired of the Republican Party being the stupid party." ~Joe Scarborough

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Todd Akin isn't the fringe. He is the Republican Party:

Take a look around key committees of the House and you’ll find a governing body stocked with crackpots whose views on major issues are as removed from reality as Missouri’s Representative Todd Akin’s take on the sperm-killing powers of a woman who’s been raped.

On matters of basic science and peer-reviewed knowledge, from evolution to climate change to elementary fiscal math, many Republicans in power cling to a level of ignorance that would get their ears boxed even in a medieval classroom. Congress incubates and insulates these knuckle-draggers.

Is it so wrong to want Congress people who respect science and knowledge?

It's counter-intuitive.... but if you want more sane Republicans, you have to be willing to make safe seats competitive (on both sides) by financially supporting sane Republicans over nutjobs in their primaries, and sane Republicans over safe-seat Democrats in the generals.

Let no congresscritter or other electard have a safe seat. Safe seats encourage polarization!

What are safe seats? Are they the result of gerrymandering?

a safe seat is one where the incumbent typically and repeatedly wins with 55% or more of the vote. How gerrymandering is generally done is to 1) lock your most powerful/senior legislators of your party into massively lopsided districts (i.e. Nancy Pelosi's 94%) 2) wall off the most extreme (or senior if you're making a deal) legislators of the opposition into equally as lopsided districts and 3) carve up the rest of the state into as many 55% districts as you can create so as to give your guys as much of a numeric advantage as you can so you can either make your guys do a few terms in the farm league before carving him a better district in 10 years or make the opposition spend tons of money to keep the seat.

At any rate, the system lends itself towards polarization. In the safest seats, the party activists or party machines control the primary so you will get people who know the truth of who butters their bread, and even when a state house changes hands that pattern is reinforced.

It seems like the system was designed to protect safe seats -- I didnt even know they existed!

Changing that will be impossible because it requires those in power to give up certainty.

_most_ congressional seats are safe... not sure about after this year's reapportionment, but as of 2010 about 360 seats were in the safe category.

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