Nation: The Shape of the Legislatures

The vast bulk of the laws under which Americans live are passed not on Capitol Hill but in the state legislatures.

Probably not one voter in 20 can name the state assemblyman from his district; yet the struggle for control of the legislatures produced some of the most remarkable results of the election. For example:

∙NEW YORK. Democrats carried both houses for the first time since 1934. Down to defeat went both G.O.P. Senate Majority Leader Walter Mahoney and Assembly Speaker Joseph Carlino, both of whose names had become synonymous with entrenched power. It all...