Journalist Bill Bishop's 2008 book, "The Big Sort," detailed how Americans have self-segregated themselves into like-minded communities, and how that phenomenon has made it very difficult to create political districts that encourage moderation or compromise. He subtitled the book, "Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart."
Even so, California's independent redistricting process enabled this state to produce a few districts that are genuinely competitive -- not because they are politically moderate, but because they encompass multiple communities in which the sorting by education, income, ethnicity and other factors has produced conflicting political results. That is the case with Ventura County's 26th Congressional District. It is a competitive district not because it is politically moderate, but because it is politically schizophrenic.
I wrote yesterday about the city-by-city results, and how they show the extreme differences among communities within Ventura County. But on a micro level, the sorting is even more extreme.
Poring through precinct-by-precinct results I came upon a few that stand out for their political homogeneity.
Consider two precincts in Downtown Oxnard that encompass homes and apartments on A, B and C Streets. In precinct 4342, Democrat Julia Brownley beat Republican Tony Strickland 745-158, or with 85 percent of the vote. In neighboring precinct 4361, Brownley won 406-58, which was an even bigger landslide, with 87.5 percent.
Meanwhile, up in the residential palaces around Lake Sherwood, at precinct 7050, Strickland trounced Brownley 563-180, winning 76 percent of the vote.
This is the polarized political world in which we live. Is it really any wonder why our elected representatives have problems with the concept of compromise?
VOTE TURNOUT IN CALIFORNIA: Based on results reported thus far, plus the number of unprocessed ballots reported this morning by the secretary of state, it appears turnout in California will exactly match the turnout predicted last week by the Field Poll: 70 percent (or 70.2 percent, to be precise).
That's a significant dropoff from four years ago, when turnout was nearly 10 points higher. But it roughly matches the turnout from 2000 and is significantly than 1996's paltry 65.5 percent.
By the way, there are 3.3 million ballots yets to be counted -- almost, but not quite as many as the 3.7 million ballots already counted that were cast for Mitt Romney.