On Sunday, writing for the Wall Street Journal, Aaron Zittner and Chad Day reported that there will be significantly fewer competitive congressional seats after this year's gerrymandering process is completed. "[O]ne trend is clear: State lawmakers, who in most cases draw the maps, have created more districts where voters skew heavily toward one party, eliminating many districts where voters are more evenly divided in their political preferences... Republicans are likely to gain the most political power from redistricting. The number of districts with a strong Republican tilt has grown to 77, up from 64 in the current maps, the analysis finds. Districts considered safe terrain for Democratic candidates have grown from 59 to 61."
One problem is "that compromise in Congress becomes harder when House districts are dominated by one party, as the winner of that party’s primary contest usually goes on to win the seat. This can push candidates to appeal to their party’s most ideologically driven supporters, rather than focusing on the larger and broader set of general-election voters.
The biggest change is in Texas, the largest state to complete redistricting. It will have a single competitive district under its new maps, down from 11 competitive districts currently, after the Republican-led legislature shored up incumbents. Some 21 GOP-held seats are now considered safe for the party, up from 11 under the old maps. Consolidating Republican voters also meant creating 12 safe Democratic districts, four more than before.
The process will give an easier path to re-election for GOP lawmakers such as freshman Rep. Beth Van Duyne, who represents suburban Dallas-Fort Worth. Voters elected her while backing Biden by more than 5 percentage points. Next year, she will run in a district that backed Trump by 12 points.
Van Duyne, an unhinged far right sociopath and Know Nothing, has been chomping at the bit to out-perform the rest of her party's lunatic fringe-- the Boeberts, Traitor Greenes, Gosars and Cawthorns-- but she has been advised that she would lose reelection in a suburban swing district like hers if she started spouting QAnon and Big Lie nonsense. That will not be a worry going forward as her district has become more rural and filled with more ignorant victims of Fox brainwashing. Expect a lot more craziness and hysteria from Beth-- and others like her-- going forward.
But that's only one way the Republican Party has been undermining democracy and only one reason it is increasingly seen as an anti-America party. Yesterday, in a column titled America’s Anti-Democratic Movement, David Leonhardt wrote that American politics may be "in the midst of a radical shift away from the democratic rules and traditions that have guided the country for a very long time. An anti-democratic movement, inspired by Donald Trump but much larger than him, is making significant progress, as my colleague Charles Homans has reported. In the states that decide modern presidential elections, this movement has already changed some laws and ousted election officials, with the aim of overturning future results. It has justified the changes with blatantly false statements claiming that Biden did not really win the 2020 election. The movement has encountered surprisingly little opposition. Most leading Republican politicians have either looked the other way or supported the anti-democratic movement. In the House, Republicans ousted Liz Cheney from a leadership position because she called out Trump’s lies. The pushback within the Republican Party has been so weak that about 60 percent of Republican adults now tell pollsters that they believe the 2020 election was stolen-- a view that’s simply wrong."
The main battlegrounds are swing states where Republicans control the state legislature, like Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Republicans control these legislatures because of both gerrymandered districts and Democratic weakness outside of major metro areas. (One way Democrats can push back against the anti-democratic movement: Make a bigger effort to win working-class votes.) The Constitution lets state legislatures set the rules for choosing presidential electors.
“None of this is happening behind closed doors,” Jamelle Bouie, a Times columnist, recently wrote. “We are headed for a crisis of some sort. When it comes, we can be shocked that it is actually happening, but we shouldn’t be surprised.”
If you thought for a moment that corporate America was going to help quell the move towards fascism... time to wake up. This morning, Karl Evers-Hillstrom reported that America's "biggest companies have steadily ramped up their donations to GOP lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election results, largely ending the giving freeze instituted following the Capitol riot. Less than a year after the Jan. 6 attack, PACs affiliated with Fortune 500 companies and their trade groups have contributed $6.8 million to the 147 Republicans who objected."
Corporate contributions to traitors like Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise dried up entirely. They've since received corporate bribes to the tune of $255,000 and $202,000 respectively. Corporations are more interested in exercising influence for their own special interests among Republicans than they give a hoot about maintaining any semblance of a healthy democracy.
The Credit Union National Association is the top PAC donor to the election objectors, shelling out nearly $177,000. The American Bankers Association, which represents industry giants such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, is second, with nearly $166,000 in donations.
General Dynamics-- which contributed roughly $162,000 to more than 50 GOP objectors-- is the top donor among Fortune 500 corporations, followed by fellow defense contractors Raytheon Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as shipping giant UPS.
Other companies have resumed their PAC donations for the first time in recent months, including UnitedHealth Group, which gave a combined $50,000 to a dozen Republican objectors in October through its PAC, Federal Election Commission records show.
...Some advocates said they were disappointed but not entirely surprised by the steady uptick in donations to lawmakers who attempted to override the 2020 election. Still, they said they hoped corporate America would push to leverage its financial power to rebuke the objectors.
“For a few weeks there, just after Jan. 6, there was this moment of clarity and a recognition that this is really dangerous both in the short and long term,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor at Stetson University who specializes in campaign finance law. “But I feel that a lot of the corporate PAC leaders just slid back to business as usual.”
...No Fortune 500 company PACs donated to Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who has said that Trump won the 2020 election “by a landslide” and argued prior to the insurrection that “this is our 1776 moment.”
However, several corporate PACs, including those affiliated with General Dynamics, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, donated to Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX), who wrote in a Jan. 6 opinion piece that Trump was unfairly denied a second term.
Only a small handful of companies, including AT&T, Comcast, Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, Google and Microsoft, have stuck with their pledge to cut off donations to the 147 Republicans. However, many of those firms’ PACs have bankrolled party committees or leadership PACs that provide financial support to those lawmakers.
Scott Prosterman, this morning: "The Republican Party was once an honorable organization. When Dwight Eisenhower was president, its platform included protection for refugees, expanded social services and social security, unions’ right to organize, secure unemployment benefits and supports to secure the agricultural sector. More than sixty years later, Republicans are trying to end democracy as we know it, and install permanent, single party Republican rule. With strong financial backing, election deniers are running for local offices throughout the country. The January 6 insurrection has morphed into a nationwide, grass-roots effort to rig elections and judicial posts at all levels. Now the January 6 Select Committee led by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), has found deeper connections to the Trump White House and the Republican Party than previously known. In the days leading up to January 6, Trump’s former Chief-of-Staff Mark Meadows gave audience to people such as retired army Col. Phil Waldron, who were scheming to keep Joe Biden from becoming president. Waldron created a Power Point presentation laying out talking points for preventing the Electoral College vote count and keeping Trump in office. He also urged Mike Pence to reject electors from 'states where fraud occurred.'... Many states are passing laws to ensure Republican control of city, county and state election boards, city councils, county supervisor boards and judicial posts. The raging constitutional crisis in Washington is seeping down to the lowest levels of local government. Referring to the crisis as a 'Five-Alarm fire,' Michigan’s Secretary of State Jocelyn said, 'If people in general, leaders and citizens, aren’t taking this as the most important issue of our time and acting accordingly, then we may not be able to ensure democracy prevails again in '24.' ... Along with climate and abortion denial, book banning, gerrymandering and voter suppression; questioning the legitimacy of any election they don’t win is now a tenet of Republican orthodoxy. Just as they financed the January 6 insurrection, wealthy Republicans are financing the local campaigns to oust any public official not loyal to Trump and Stop the Steal. Eisenhower’s Republican Party is dead, and the GOP has now embraced the very fascism Eisenhower defeated as Supreme Allied Commander in 1945."