Lost amid the “wave” metaphors in the election coverage was the fact that in California, Florida, and Minnesota the voters approved initiatives that will de-politicize the upcoming redistricting of House seats based on the 2010 census. I think this is a pretty big deal. The ability (thanks to GIS software, largely) to draw very “safe seat” districts has contributed greatly, IMO, to the rancorous tone of debate: many representatives have little incentive to compromise with the other party, since there are so few of them in their district. And, of course, the 2 parties collude in maintaining that system: in California, they banded together to support a proposition to undo the independent redistricting commission. It was soundly rejected by the voters (a rare success of the proposition system, I think, but that’s a topic for another day.) There are a few other states who already do this, so maybe it will spread. But it faces a lot of entrenched politicians.
See the slide show from Slate here that features a bunch of the craziest gerrymanders, including one from my own back yard and several from my native homeland. (But also note that even they don’t mention the results above in their intro.)
And, by the way, I’m sad I didn’t get any love for my 2-column formatting below.