No contest

Redistricting strategies are making elections less meaningful
When Americans go to the polls in November to select their representatives in Congress, this great exercise in democracy will be tarnished by the fact that in most cases the outcome is virtually predetermined. This year only 36 of the 435 contests for the House of Representatives are regarded as competitive—meaning that either the Republican or the Democrat has a reasonable chance to win. Over 90 percent of all seats are “safe” for one party or the other.

The number of competitive races has dropped sharply in the past decade or so. A study by the Cook Political Report estimates that there were 40 to 45 competitive races in 2002—a drop from about 150 in 1992.


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