Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Coastal Flooding in Congress

In politics as well as culture, geography is becoming destiny. This month’s election, a study finds, brings New York and California Democrats the highest percentage ever of seats in the House despite continued Tea Party domination of the body.

Blue opposition to John Boehner’s control will be bi-coastal, leaving huge red swaths inland. University of Minnesota analysts note:

“California and New York hold 29.4 percent of seats in the Democratic caucus but just 18.4 percent of U.S. House seats overall for a +11.0-point differential.

“The largest previous differential was seen after the Civil War in 1866 when Democrats from the two states held 25.5 percent of their caucus' seats and the total representatives from the two states accounted for 15.0 percent of House seats overall.”

Even with its population inequality, the Senate shows similar tendencies. New members from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine will be in the Democratic caucus against Mitch McConnell’s heartland troops.

What is the geographic divide trying to tell us? Gerrymandering aside, how deep is America’s political chasm?

When the new Congress convenes in January, divisions will be tested against a reelected President’s resolve to bridge them. Rationality will be pitted against culture as well as politics, even as dating sites arise to match couples for ideological compatibility.

One bitterly contested House seat is finally settled as the GOP’s motor mouth Allen West finally concedes in Florida. One more Eastern Democrat will be seated, albeit from much further south than so many others.

Will it augur some coastal flooding of good sense in Congress?

1 comment:

John said...

Gerrymandering is a very big deal in the Midwest. The Republicans have been highly strategic in their redrawing of districts. The problem is likely to be with us a long time.

The big challenge for Democrats is to get out the vote for mid-term elections. That is when a lot of governors are elected.