1. As we’ve gotten more aggressive in partisan redistricting, one effect of this … has been the drastic diminishing of the number of swing districts. So what this means is that districts are becoming more and more red, or more and more blue. If you’re going to win in a red congressional district, then that means you have to be as right wing as possible in the primary – the guy who’s the most conservative wins. And then, really the general election doesn’t count because it’s a red district. The same with a very blue district — you have to be all the way to the left and that’s the person who wins. Those individuals who come to Washington are not individuals who are predisposed to view anything with the desire to compromise. And we saw this phenomenon take place most recently in 2011 rather dramatically with the debt ceiling debate. There have been studies that have shown that the people who were most apt to vote for the debt ceiling deal were people from the swing states and the people least apt to vote for it — the people who were keeping us on brink of default — were those who came from very, very hardcore districts, in this case, usually red districts, Republican districts. And so yeah, it’s a matter of some concern, as we see the intensifying gridlock in Washington, D.C., there’s no question that redistricting has played a role in that.

    — Robert Draper on how redistricting has led to an increasingly polarized Congress

  2. Robert Draper


    partisan politics