Great NYT oped:
Next term the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Wisconsin’s election maps that could lead to a precedent-setting ruling against partisan gerrymandering — the problematic process whereby incumbents draw legislative boundaries to help their fellow partisans. But would politically neutral redistricting in itself yield significantly more competitive and less polarized politics? Would it ensure greater political diversity and increase the legitimacy of Congress?
The answer is no. Regardless of how you slice the map, the vast majority of Americans will live in so-called landslide districts, in which either Republicans or Democrats win by overwhelming margins. Today’s voters rarely split their tickets and are self-sorting such that the median county in the 2016 presidential race was won by more than 40 percentage points — triple the median margins in the 1990s.
Try as you might, you’re not going to carve out many winnable districts for Republicans in New York City and the West Coast, and you’re not going to elect many Democrats in rural America. The resulting lockdown of the House is breathtaking. Last year, 98 percent of House incumbents were re-elected, and 402 of 435 races were won by more than 10 percent.
That doesn’t means voters in the minority aren’t there. Although Hillary Clinton easily won Massachusetts, Donald Trump won more votes there than the total votes cast in each of 16 states. Yet because Republican voters are dispersed, Democrats have won every House race in the state — 108 straight victories — since 1994. Such distortions are common, including Republicans winning every seat in a block of 10 states running from Arkansas to Utah.