Dan Shea, professor of government and director of Colby’s Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, was interviewed on Fox News about the midterm elections. Shea noted that many states are projecting tight races but, despite popular opinion, said redistricting is not the cause. Shea attributes the wide “hardening of partisanship” to a phenomenon political scientists refer to as geopolitical sorting. This sorting is characterized by people’s tendency to relocate to communities that are ideologically in sync with their own political positions.
According to Shea, increasingly conservative Republicans are moving to typically conservative communities while increasingly liberal Democrats are moving to liberal communities, rendering a homogenization of electoral districts. When asked what geopolitical sorting means moving forward, Shea said ideologically pure districts will be sending members to Congress, noting, “I’m not sure we’ll see a lot of compromise springing from this election.”