Friday's Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on Pennsylvania congressional districts, "Redistricting: Home to Roost," by Jeanne Cummings. It discusses the way Republicans used redistricting in 2000 to try to maximize their hold on the state delegations.
Note this paragraph:
So Mr. DeLay and House Speaker Dennis Hastert turned to their allies in the statehouses to redraw congressional disrict boundaries to erase Democratic seats and give Republicans new ones. "We wish to encourage you in these efforts, as they play a crucial role in maintaining a Reublican majority," the two leaders wrote in a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers.
The article focuses on the 6th congressional distrct, which was drawn specifically to be a Republican stronghold.
It also touches on the role of organized labor. Note: "They began to put together a pattern: Republican-held House seats where Democrat John Kerry narrowly won or lost also included high concentrations of union members."
One parting comment:
"If Republicans had been a little less aggressive, they could have won several of those seats. If they gave the Democrats one more seat, they could have shored up by several percentage points the other seats," says Nathaniel Persily, a politcal scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Let's hope whoever is in control in 2010 remembers these lessons.