By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
October 2, 2017

Good morning.

The Supreme Court this week will have an opportunity to address a festering problem that it played no small part in creating: partisan gerrymandering. The Court’s insistence that the constitutional standard for judging redistricting plans is limited to “one-person, one-vote” (every district in a state must have the same number of people) and protection of civil rights (plans cannot disenfranchise minorities) has, in combination with high-powered computing and copious data, given free rein over the last four decades to creating ever wilder political maps. That’s led to partisan ghettoes and helped breed an entire generation of politicians who have never learned the art of appealing, or even talking, to voters from the other party.

Why should this matter to readers of CEO Daily? Because, as Harvard’s Michael Porter has argued, political dysfunction is the biggest economic problem facing the U.S.. The nation’s complete inability to address the most obvious economic problems – health care, education, infrastructure, the corporate tax system, budget, etc. – offer plenty of evidence. In March of this year, Porter and his colleague Katherine Gehl published an analysis of the U.S. political system in Fortune using Porter’s famous tools of competitive analysis, and concluded it is a classic “duopoly” – which works well for the duopolists, but not for the customers (American citizens). Gehl and Porter recently elaborated on that analysis in a piece published by Harvard Business School, which you can read here.

Creating a less partisan methodology for drawing congressional districts is not a silver bullet solution to the nation’s political problems – indeed, many political scientists argue it’s not a solution at all. But anyone who has closely watched, or participated in, the national political discourse over the last four decades can’t help but conclude gerrymandering has played a role in its demise. And the court could begin to fix its error with this case. Emily Barone of TIME has done a smart look at the upcoming case, here. Or you can take a deeper dive with this analysis on Scotusblog.

More news below.

Alan Murray


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