] 'While the headlines screamed loudly about the race to
] win control of the Congress and huge money poured into
] those races that were close, most legislative races in
] fact were completely noncompetitive. Our Center for
] Voting and Democracy's pre-election projections of who
] would win and lose more than 75% of U.S. House races held
] up with an apparent perfect score -- the same model
] projected 929 of 930 winners accurately in 1996-2000.
] Within days we will issue our projections for the
] November 2004 elections (yes, that's right -- the
] elections two years from now) in some 350 House races
] with the same degree of confidence.
] We can confidently make these projections without knowing
] anything about the quality of the candidates and
] inequities in campaign finance because we use
] "winner-take-all" elections in districts that generally
] tilt clearly toward one party or the other. This lean is
] no accident, as state after state enacted incumbent
] protection plans in redistricting over the past year.
] With only a few exceptions, incumbents and party leaders
] gerrymandered districts to guarantee the reelection of
] incumbents, as well as the over-representation of
] whatever party controlled the redistricting process in
] their state. In California, the Democratic Party
] incumbents actually paid "protection money" in the amount
] of $20,000 apiece to have their legislative districts
] drawn to guarantee them a safe seat, an audacious example
] of political "insider trading." '