Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Redistricting: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

Not that it couldn't have been worse. By recent standards the Democrats' disadvantage in the redistricting process is comparatively modest. But a disadvantage doesn't have to be large to seriously affect the Democrats' chances of holding the House in 2022, given their current razor-thin margin.
From David Wasserman's excellent piece at Cook Political Report on the redistricting landscape:
"There was a much smaller shift than expected: only seven seats shifted between states, not the ten some estimates suggested. Texas was the big winner, picking up two seats. Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each picked up one seat....
The power shift from the Frost Belt to Sun Belt and western states is a familiar trend. But even states without a gain or loss will have to redraw lines to adjust for population changes in time for 2022 (except the six states with only one district).
Republicans have the final authority to draw congressional lines in 187 districts, down from 219 seats in 2011. Democrats will have final authority in states totaling 75 districts, up from 44 in 2011. New bipartisan commissions passed by voters in Colorado, Michigan and Virginia bring the number of commission-drawn districts to 121 up from 88 ten years ago. And there are 46 districts in states where control is split between the parties, down from 77.
Republicans' biggest redistricting weapons are Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina - and they could conceivably pick up all five seats they need for the majority from those four alone."
Like I said, could have been worse. But it ain't good. This underscores the stakes for the Democrats in 2022 to maintain message discipline, aggressively pushing popular achievements and goals and avoiding unpopular ideas and rhetoric like the plague.
See Wasserman's article for many useful maps and tables. Also Bill Frey's article for Brookings and Kyle Kondik's for Sabato's Crystal Ball are full of useful information and graphics (linked to below).

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