Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker has raised interesting points about this in an article that maps the districts of Republican representatives who signed a letter urging Speaker Boehner to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund Obamacare.
Representative Mark Meadows, who drafted the letter, represents North Carolina’s 11th District — one that Mr. Lizza notes was gerrymandered after the 2010 census to become the most Republican district in the state.
There are 80 of these members, and Mr. Lizza points out that “[t]he ability of eighty members of the House of Representatives to push the Republican Party into a strategic course that is condemned by the party’s top strategists is a historical oddity.”
“These eighty members represent just eighteen per cent of the House and just a third of the two hundred and thirty-three House Republicans. They were elected with fourteen and a half million of the hundred and eighteen million votes cast in House elections last November, or twelve per cent of the total. In all, they represent fifty-eight million constituents. That may sound like a lot, but it’s just eighteen per cent of the population…
“Obama defeated Romney by four points nationally. But in [these] districts, Obama lost to Romney by an average of twenty-three points. The Republican members themselves did even better. In these eighty districts, the average margin of victory for the Republican candidate was thirty-four points.
“…these eighty members represent an America where the population is getting whiter, where there are few major cities, where Obama lost the last election in a landslide, and where the Republican Party is becoming more dominant and more popular. Meanwhile, in national politics, each of these trends is actually reversed.”