Big Wins and Partisan Divides

… Polls may show that voters want members in Congress to work together, but voters don’t vote that way. In other words, it’s not that “safe seats” are a new concept. Even back in 1992, 82% of House Democrats and 79% of House Republicans won their seats by more than 10 percentage points. But these safe seats, and their constituents, are different.

You can see the differences in the geography of the House. Republicans and Democrats used to be spread across the country in different states. But over time both parties have solidified into more regional casts. …

States and regions are more likely to be represented by one party or another. Moderate Yankee Republicans are extinct and southern Blue Dog Democrats are a small fraction of what they once were. And it’s not just redistricting that has pushed the Democrats out of Arkansas or the Republicans out of Connecticut. There are bigger demographic and cultural changes afoot. [cont.]

Dante Chinni, Wall Street Journal