Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


The safe seats of the US House of Representatives

The distribution of different types of seats over the past six elections.
I’ve moaned about American politics before, but I don’t think I had any statistics to back me up last time.

However, Nate Silver has written an excellent article on Five Thirty Eight about the the development of ultra-safe, strongly partisan seats in the House of Representatives. He writes: “As these figures make clear, the number of swing districts has been on a steady decline since at least 1992, and the number of landslide districts on a steady rise.”

I think the obvious solution would be to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians, but for some bizarre reason this doesn’t always seem to appeal to Americans.

2 thoughts on “The safe seats of the US House of Representatives

  • Trond Engen

    The main problem is the inability of the system to represent local minorities, and the acceptance of gerrymandered safe seats as a band-aid. This might be somewhat better with non-partisan redistricting, e.g. following a transparent,pre-accepted mathematical rule. But that’s too difficult, and there would be a never-ending debate over changes to the rule, with barely disguised partisan motives behind the arguments for a certain mathematical or statistical method.

    A better solution would be to turn each state into a multi-seat consituency. That system could even incorporate a distribution of seats between states after actual votes delivered. It wouldn’t surpise me if you’ve run a simulation of that sometime.


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