The perennial process of congressional redistricting results in some weirdly warped districts, but it may also be warping the nation's politics.
With richly detailed intelligence about the voting habits of particular neighborhoods, the people who redraw the congressional maps every decade can influence the outcome of races with ever-greater accuracy. In the 2012 national elections, House Democrats received more of the popular vote, but House Republicans kept their majority.
"In the nation as a whole, Democratic candidates for Congress won 1.1 million more votes than Republicans, according to a tally of the popular vote kept by David Wasserman, the House editor of The Cook Political Report," reported the New York Times. "But Republicans maintained their control of the House — making this one of a handful of elections in the last century where the party that won the popular vote for Congress did not win control of the House."
How does the redistricting process exert such influence over election outcomes? Does it mean that Republicans will have a lock on the next round of congressional races? And could the process ever backfire on the party in power?