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Our Broken Politics

February 1, 2017

The facts speak for themselves.

Voters in just 35 congressional districts, or 8 percent of the total, elected a House member from one party while preferring the presidential candidate of the other party — the second election in a row where the share of ticket-splitting seats was in the single digits. Before that, 1920 was the last time the number of such crossover districts fell below one out of every nine.

The voters’ monolithic behavior was even more historic in the results for the Senate. For the first time since 1916 — which was the second election with senators chosen by popular vote — not a single state divided its political preferences. Republicans won 22 contests, all in states carried by President Donald Trump. Democrats won the other dozen races, each in a state where Hillary Clinton prevailed.

The statistics are the latest, compellingly quick way to illustrate how dramatically the nation has divided itself into clearly delineated pockets of ruby red and navy blue — and how the places where the partisan true colors bleed together have become fewer and farther between. 

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