The next time a journalist tells you are politics are broken, I want you to think of a teen age girl sitting behind the wheel of a car which is stopped on the side of the road. What's wrong with her car? "It's broken" she'll sadly tell you. It's the same with journalists and our political system. There is nothing broken about it that we didn't intentionally break. But that they can't seem to figure out what specifically is wrong doesn't means the answer is some great mystery.
In a word, it's gerrymandering. Nancy Pelosi can come out with a statement that she would like to intentionally infect African children with Cholera in order to depopulate Africa and help global warming, and while there may be a grumble at how poorly thought through this is, she will absolutely get reelected. The reason this is so is because there is a consensus in her district about all things political. Her constituents would sooner vote for a crazy Democrat than a sane Republican. There is a similar thing in some Republican districts, but like most things which involve a perversion of our constitutional process I suspect it's probably worse for Democrats.
What those idiot journalists should really be thinking very seriously about is changing the gerrymandering rules. Whats a good solution? I don't know, but someone certainly does. How about a rule stating that no district can have irregular borders or more than 5 sides? How about no interior angle greater than 180 degrees (no concave angles)? The idea being that the districts should be kept simple in structure and not include those long thin spider legs like my district in NJ has always had.
The same rules would apply to Republicans of course so it's certain to be fair. But the problem is our journalists are even more clueless than our politicians. It never occurs to them that an issue like geography could have an effect on how diametrically opposed our politics has become. Instead of whining about how broken our political system is they should be thinking of ways to make it less safe to be a politician. Make more districts more of a horse race, and things will operate much more smoothly.
Does that mean we can "move forward" (one of my most hated political terms) or that Congress will "get more things done"? Maybe, maybe not. It does mean that more reasonable people will be part of the conversation. Instead of 10 people who are in districts safe enough for them to think like Nancy Pelosi we'll only have two (or whatever). The rest will be afraid of getting reelected and will therefore be more responsive to the vox populi. That can only improve things because 'the people' are far more willing to accept the reality (because they have a stake in it) than our carefully protected politicians currently are.