With the census nearly complete, states next year will redraw congressional and legislative lines. Thanks to high tech, gerrymandering–creating districts in such a way as to give particular parties or incumbents a decisive advantage–has reached a level of near perfection, with district boundaries resembling a Jackson Pollock painting on crack. Competition is critical to a functioning democracy, just as it is to free markets. As more than one wag has put it, politicians in this country pick their voters rather than the other way round.
Gerrymandering is why California’s legislature has become notoriously dysfunctional. After the last census Sacramento politicians cynically drew congressional boundaries so that all incumbents would be protected. Iowa is about the only state in the Union that makes a genuine effort to create competitive races for both Congress and its state legislature. [Forbes]