The country is more divided geographically than ever, it seems. Take the House of Representatives: Democrats gained eight House seats in this month’s elections but their House membership is now increasingly dominated by just two states — New York and California. Even though those two states make up only 18.4 percent of all House seats, nearly 30 percent of the Democratic caucus will be from those two states. Throw in gerrymandered Illinois and Massachusetts, and 40 percent of all House Democrats will hail from ZIP codes in just four deeply blue states.
The University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog reports that over the last 50 years, the percentage of the Democratic caucus coming from just the Empire State and the Golden State has risen by more than two-thirds. The share has gone from 17.4 percent in 1962 to 29.4 percent in 2012; New York has lost 14 House seats and California has gained 15 during that period.
Republicans have their own geographical imbalance, though a milder one, resulting from their dominance in the South. The House Republican caucus has over 20 percent of its members elected from Texas, Florida, and Georgia. But those states make up almost 17 percent of the House’s overall membership.