Tuesday, January 26, 2021

And While You're Worrying About Things, Don't Forget About Redistricting!

Yes, it is happening, yes, it will affect 2022 elections substantially and yes the GOP has the advantage (gulp).
David Wasserman lays out the landscape:
'Between COVID-19-related Census delays and a few other events consuming the political world, the decennial redistricting process is off to a slow start. Yet in a few short months, phalanxes of cartographers and lawyers — and perhaps some normal people — will descend upon state capitals and courts in a bare-knuckled race to reshape the nation's political boundaries for the next decade.
The stakes couldn't be much higher: Democrats hold their narrowest House majority since the 1930s, and even tiny line changes could tip control in 2022. Although it's become fashionable to decry gerrymandering, the Supreme Court in 2019 refused to rein in the practice and Democrats' efforts to curb it in Congress appear to be headed nowhere absent ending the filibuster in the Senate.
That all but assures the parties will be locked in a high-tech arms race to maximize their seats in states they control, and initial analysis shows Republicans could gain enough seats through new maps alone to make the House a Toss Up.
In 2011, Republicans leveraged their huge state-level gains in the 2010 midterms to clobber Democrats in the redistricting process, enshrining their House majority for three straight elections until 2018's "blue wave." And had courts not invalidated GOP-drawn maps in Florida (2016), Virginia (2016), Pennsylvania (2018) and North Carolina (2020), Nancy Pelosi likely wouldn't be speaker today.
A lot has changed since ten years ago. Redistricting has exploded in the public's consciousness — especially on the left —guaranteeing more scrutiny of a process notorious for backroom deal-making. And thanks to reform-minded state ballot initiatives and more Democratic governors, independent commissions and Democrats will wield slightly more influence this cycle.
Both parties have prepared extensively for this war. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by Eric Holder and executive director Kelly Ward Burton, and the National Republican Redistricting Trust, led by finance chair Scott Walker and executive director Adam Kincaid, serve as their parties' strategic and legal clearinghouses and will spend over $100 million.
In particular, Democrats are much better-prepared and funded than last time, when they were blindsided. The NDRC and its affiliates have raised over $80 million (the NRRT has set a public goal of $35 million) and have already quietly spent millions on successful pushes to pass new commissions in Michigan and Colorado, overturn GOP maps in court and elect more Democratic governors.
Republicans may not be as dominant as they were in 2011 when they redrew nearly five times as many congressional seats as Democrats. But they still hold far more raw power. They fared well in 2020's state legislative elections and maintained control of several huge prizes: Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, which are collectively poised to gain six seats from the Census.
Our initial forecast is that Republicans might reasonably expect to net between zero to ten seats from new maps. In other words, they could gain all six seats they need for House control from reapportionment and redistricting alone.
But keep in mind: as large as redistricting looms over the 2022 House fight, it can't and won't determine control by itself. There will still be dozens of competitive districts next year (especially in states where commissions or courts end up drawing maps), and candidate recruitment and the larger political environment will still end up helping decide which party captures 218 seats."
Daunting, no? Democrats really, really need a good two years if they hope to hold onto Congress after 2022. And you know what I think about how to get those good two years.
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