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The Republicans Are Counting On Gerrymandering Their Way Back Into Power In 2022



This past November, 77,545,341 people voted for Democrats in Congressional races and almost 5 million fewer voted for Republicans-- 72,877,981. That translated to 222 Democratic seats and 213 Republican seats (212 + Tenney would is about to be declared the winner in NY-22). If the Republican gerrymandering of districts proceeds as expected, the Democrats could maintain the same margin of victory in the popular vote and still lose enough seats to flip control of the House from blue to red. Many people think that's exactly what is going to happen. The GOP has already started targeting Democratic congress members, like Tim Ryan (OH), Lizzie Fletcher (TX) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA) with redistricting extermination.

Sam Wang, the director of the Princeton Gerrymandering Project also expects Republican state legislatures to draw Republican districts in North Carolina and Florida. Democrats could offer a truce-- nonpartisan districts in New York, Illinois and Maryland in return for nonpartisan districts in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. California already tried cutting a deal like that with Texas and Texas demurred. So California disarmed voluntarily and allows a non-partisan commission to draw the districts. If California wanted to play hardball, the legislature could rescind that and it would be mathematically possible to reduce the Republican delegation from 11 to 4. But they're softball players. New York Dems are not as soft as Republicans. Over the weekend, the NY Times reported that in that state, "where Democrats control redistricting for the first time since 1991, half of the Republican congressional delegation-- either seven or eight members, depending on the outcome of one undecided race-- could see their districts disappear if Democrats pursue the most aggressive gerrymandering available."

The Times reported that "While partisan warfare on Capitol Hill draws most of the national attention, the battles over redistricting are among the fiercest and most consequential in American government. Reapportionment and redistricting occurs every 10 years after the census, with states with the fastest-growing populations gaining seats in Congress at the expense of those with slower-growing or shrinking populations. The balance of power established by gerrymandering can give either party an edge that lasts through several election cycles; court challenges-- even if successful-- can take years to unwind those advantages. This year, Texas (with potentially three new seats) and Florida (two) are expected to be the biggest winners, while Illinois, New York and, for the first time, California will each lose seats once the Census Bureau makes the reapportionment figures official. That could give Republicans an inherent advantage in the midterm elections in November 2022-- regardless of Mr. Biden’s popularity then."

Democrats will try to forestall as much as they can via court battles but that rarely goes well for them with conservative control of most courts as well as the court with the final say.

Republicans have, for the most part, adopted an elections-have-consequences attitude toward the mapping process. Adam Kincaid, the executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, the party’s main mapmaking organization, said his energy will be directed toward the inevitable legal battles that will follow this year’s partisan map-drawing.
“If it wasn’t for lawsuits that were brought in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and Florida, Republicans would be in the majority today,” Mr. Kincaid said. The things to focus on, he said, were “defending maps drawn by Republican legislatures and also being more aggressive about going after Democrat gerrymanders in the blue states.”
As they look to reframe the electoral maps, Republicans are debating how aggressive they should be. They can push the boundaries and try to win the most seats possible in 2022, which puts them at risk of losing more seats in future years in the growing suburbs that are attracting waves of Democrats. Or they can aim for a smaller number of Republican districts that can create a more durable majority, with the potential to last the decade.
The central redistricting battlegrounds will be in Texas and Florida. Though both states are controlled by Republicans, the population growth has come largely from people of color and suburbanites-- demographics that have trended toward Democrats during the Trump era.
“Their ability to manipulate the map to the tune of 30 seats like they did last time is no longer on the table,” said Kelly Ward Burton, the [incredibly incompetent, worthless] president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. “If the map plays out fairly, we will end up with more competitive seats than we have now.’’
Still, the combination of sophisticated mapmaking software and the abbreviated map-drawing period will give Republican lawmakers a far freer hand to put into effect favorable districts in the next year. And Republicans in states like Texas and Georgia will benefit from the Supreme Court decision in 2013 on the Voting Rights Act, which lifted the requirement that they get federal approval for redistricting.
“I’m very concerned,” said Manny Diaz, the former Miami mayor who this month became the new chairman of the Florida Democratic Party. He is spending his first weeks as chairman devising a plan to challenge and offset Republican efforts.
A decade ago, Mr. Diaz led the Fair Districts Now effort, which proposed a constitutional amendment offering guidelines for redistricting in Florida. Voters approved the measure in 2010, in time for the 2011 redistricting. But Republicans in the legislature ignored many of the principles, installing a highly gerrymandered map that helped Republicans win 17 of the 27 House seats in 2012 while President Barack Obama won re-election.
...“We’ll continue to see racial gerrymandering and partisan gerrymandering in terms of packing in the urban areas,” said Allison Riggs, the interim executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, referring to a gerrymandering tactic of creating a heavily partisan district by “packing” it with supporters. Ms. Riggs argued gerrymandering lawsuits against the 2010 Republican-drawn maps in Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

And the Senate is... hopelessly, constitutionally gerrymandered and should be just an honorific body that can't interfere with policy decisions.



©2000 by Howie Klein. Leading The Progressive Fight Online Since 2000

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