‘Control of the House of Representatives could teeter precariously for years as each party consolidates its dominance over mirror-image demographic strongholds.
That’s the clearest conclusion of a new analysis of the demographic and economic characteristics of all 435 congressional districts, conducted by the Equity Research Institute at the University of Southern California in conjunction with The Atlantic.
Based on census data, the analysis finds that Democrats now hold a commanding edge over the GOP in seats where the share of residents who are nonwhite, the share of white adults with a college degree, or both, are higher than the level in the nation overall. But Republicans hold a lopsided lead in the districts where the share of racial minorities and whites with at least a four-year college degree are both lower than the national level—and that is the largest single bloc of districts in the House.
This demographic divide has produced a near-partisan stalemate, with Republicans in the new Congress holding the same narrow 222-seat majority that Democrats had in the last one. Both sides will struggle to build a much bigger majority without demonstrating more capacity to win seats whose demographic and economic profile has mostly favored the other. “The coalitions are quite stretched to their limits, so there is just not a lot of space for expansion,” says Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the political-reform program at New America.
The widening chasm between the characteristics of the districts held by each party has left the House not only closely divided, but also deeply divided….’
— Ronald Brownstein via The Atlantic