Research shows that partisans aren’t purposefully walling themselves off. There is no intentional Big Sort.
Such geographic polarization—where supporters of one or the other party cluster together in homogeneous enclaves, producing localities with lopsided distributions of political preferences—has been growing steadily in the United States since the 1970s. According to a recent paper by the economists Ethan Kaplan, Jörg Spenkuch, and Rebecca Sullivan, the U.S. is more geographically polarized today than at any point since 1860, when a geographic cleavage in political preferences was about to send the nation into the Civil War.
Source: Why Are Americans So Geographically Polarized? – The Atlantic