That's not to say that the system of government could never be improved but if your argument starts out with a premise that doesn't really seem true I question whether the whole idea isn't a little half baked.
This animation visualizes the increasing partisan nature of Congress over the last 60 years:
So the trend does not seem to be ideal here.
It seems like the proposed act will directly impact this increasing split.
More details: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/04/23/a-stu...
I've worked in government, and when we were asked to generate reports, there was a conclusion that they wanted to draw and they were looking for data to back it. If you ever hear something like "during the Carter era" it's likely because that's the only time the data showed what we wanted to make a point.
In this case, I would need to see why they chose 60 years rather than say 100 years. 60 seems like an arbitrary number that needs to be investigated. They may be right, but having read their pitch, there are a bunch of red flags that scream that this is ideologically driven rather than actually being "fair".
I'd be interested if someone did a deeper analysis.
It's not clear to me how this proposal would change that fact. And it could very well do the opposite. If 51/49 super-districts are always electing one Republican and one Democrat, what incentive does either representative have to play to the center?
They don't though, for instance the dixiecrats ultimately had to choose between (to use the political compass's axis) left or authoritarianism with no party providing both. I'm sure there are left-authoritarian or right-libertarian voters in either main party which have to choose which they value most, unable to vote for any party which actually represents them as US politics puts them not just on a linear axis but on a completely bipolar one.
Here is an article on this divide during the Civil Rights era which, proportionally, was supported more by "Republicans" than "Democrats" but the true story is a little more complex (and largely geographical).
This makes election not driven by general population, but party faithful during primaries and closed door maneuvering.
I agree that we should be careful trying to change things and use minimal actions -- the current system is not horrible
That said, gerrymandering has two effects, one negative, one positive. On the negative side, there is little competition, on the positive side, the vast majority are happy with the result. Moreso than that of a 51:49 split.
If you ask me competition is healthy, if I look at the previous election, people don't like close elections.
(Take an outcome matching the rightmost example at the top of this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/01/this-... )
edit: Actually, no need to say "majority" above, the 2 rightmost examples end up with people being denied representation.
HRC has nothing to do with this.
Ranked choice gives smaller parties a chance while preventing them from being a spoiler, I think it's great because it would actually force the two incumbent parties to actually work for their vote instead of assuming you have no real choice (hey, you're pro-choice/pro-life so you HAVE to vote for us or the other guys will have their way, ha ha).
See the congressional job approval numbers
> If HRC had won, we would not be seeing these calls for reform gain attention
Does it matter what inspired people to ask for reform? They have a valid point that for solidly held districts, the minority's voice is completely erased in Congress.
This proposed legislation has nothing to do with presidential elections and the debates, legislative fights, lawsuits, calls for reform have been going on for many years. You're confusing something you hadn't noticed with something not receiving much attention.
"The Fair Representation Act (HR 3057) gives voters of all backgrounds and all political stripes the power to elect House Members who reflect their views and will work constructively with others in Congress."
What incentive is there to "work constructively with others" in this system?
I agree that there's probably a better way, but I fear that it could be at the cost of either ease of use or methodological clarity. Ranking candidates is relatively intuitive, and so is sequential elimination with votes reassigned to the next preference.
I recognize that you could transform the rankings people provide into head to head match up, but if the methodology is too opaque to the layperson, it's going to breed distrust in the system, and I fear that that would be overall worse (if it discourages participation) than having a minority of elections be won by the 'wrong' candidate versus better approaches.
I recognize that this could also be an argument in favor of FPTP. I do think there's a continuum here of conceptual difficulty, and I think finding the sweet spot of correctness vs intuitiveness is tricky.
No way this actually passes, though, since it's against the interests of most congresscritters - whose seats in their own gerrymandered districts are safe, even if it puts their party at a disadvantage.
Overall I think this is better than single member districts with plurality voting, but IMHO there are simpler reforms that offer better mathematical properties.
MMP  (used in Germany, New Zealand) ensures proportional representation and still allows for small geographic-based districts. The overhang allocation mitigates the incentive for gerrymandering. A minor but significant enhancement would be to use approval voting instance of plurality to elect the single winner district MPs.
RRV  (not implemented anywhere I'm aware of) is similar to STV in that it uses multi-member districts, but uses a simpler range ballot (think amazon 1-5 'star' ratings for candidates) rather than a ranked ballot.
The Center for Election Science  has some very good resources on this general topic. Electoral reform is a terribly important issue that is very difficult to make progress on. My hope is that we start to see some reforms at the state and local levels that can provide indication that these reforms are legitimate and are not being done to game the vote.
Speaking of, "Gaming the Vote"  is a really good book on this subject.
I think reforms like HR 3057 are well intended but I think it's too early to attempt this at the federal level. Voters in the US have very little context for electoral reform and it's an issue that tends to (perhaps legitimately) cause people to be suspicious.
A half-way solution is a confederation, Switzerland-style. Weak central government, large variation in laws between cantons. Good luck trying to pull power back from a central government, and make people of California agree that people of Alabama should be allowed to live according to their [add derogatory terms] principles, and vice versa.
One of the problems with democracy is that governing a state is a job that should require certain qualification, experience, etc, but voting does not require any of this. Presumably the elected officials should be the experienced, reasonable people good at governing the state and making the least harmful compromises. But it's only a presumption. (Authoritarian governments are usually no better in this regard, too.)
Districts, and more specifically FPTP single-member constituencies are a huge part of the issue, they're a large reason for the bipolarisation endemic to the US (for both voters and candidates) since they promote, nay, can only result a 2-party system in which voters and representatives have to align or be ignored entirely.
I hope people will soon recognize that they're not going to get major change in the way government operates just by changing the people who get elected. We need to change HOW people get elected.
Furthermore, the OP is mostly about the problems with geographic districts. They take any voting system, and make it waaaay worse by adding aliasing.