Crimson vs. Indigo

Ever since the 2000 elections we have settled in to the designation of Democratic states as blue and Republican as red. More recently we have seen reference to purple states. But if the 2012 results are any indication, we will soon have to come up with a new identification for states that are deep red and deep blue.

Two stories appeared this week that suggest the political landscape is shifting so that states are further from the mythical middle than ever. An Associated Press piece notes that half of state legislatures now have veto-proof majorities and only three – Iowa, Kentucky and New Hampshire – have split control of their two legislative houses between the two parties.

Couple this with a Smart Politics analysis showing the U.S. House Democratic Caucus will consist of almost 30 percent New Yorkers and Californians – up from 17.6 percent in 1990.

What this will mean for good governance is open for debate, but it will make for a fascinating civics experiment. What will happen as the dominant party in each of these states enacts its wish list? As the difference in policies becomes starker, how will population shifts be affected, and who will move where? Will all future Presidential elections become even more of just a battle for a handful of evenly split states?

Split government at the federal level will make it easier for each state government to go its own way, but how would one-party control of the federal government affect the opposing party’s agenda in states it controls?

Good and bad, we are going to see things in the political arena we haven’t seen in our lifetimes.