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Charlie Cook and his team at The Cook Political Report are out with eye-popping new data that help show why Congress is frozen — and why happy talk about working together to do big things, whether by optimistic centrists or by people in power who need to put points on the board, is belied by data.

Expand chart
Data: 2017 Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index; Map: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Key trends — all 20 years in the making, but hardened and in some cases accelerated by the "hyper-polarized" election of 2016 — from the 20th anniversary "Cook Political Report Partisan Voter Index," by David Wasserman and Ally Flinn:

  • The decline of crossover districts: Only 35 of the nation's 435 House districts went for presidential and House candidates of opposite parties, down from 108 in 1996. 23 Republican House members are from districts Hillary carried, and 12 Dems are from districts Trump carried.
  • Persistent volatility: 21 House districts that voted for Obama in '12 switched and went for Trump. 15 went Romney in '12 but Hillary last year.
  • The decline of swing districts: In 1997, voters in 164 of the nation's 435 House districts were relatively split by party. Now, only 72 districts are in the same range — less than one-sixth of the House.
  • Amazing stat: 78% of Democratic-leaning seats got even more Democratic, and 65% of GOP-leaning seats got even more Republican.

What it means: We are increasingly moving next to people who share our political views — and then following and sharing like-minded news on social media when our doors are closed. This can't be fixed with better redistricting laws.

See a chart from Quorum of Dem House members in the top R-trending districts, and GOP House members in the top D-trending districts.

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Go deeper

Updated 55 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

4 hours ago - Health

WHO: Not yet known whether Omicron leads to more severe disease

Photo illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The World Health Organization on Sunday said that it is not yet clear whether the newly discovered Omicron variant is more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus.

Why it matters: The agency's statement comes as the variant, discovered in South Africa, has already been detected in European and Asian countries.

10 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.