Been keeping an eye on redistricting this year. Last time the nation went through this agonizing re-drawing of legislative districts the nations governments went more conservative even though the country went more liberal. Redistricting was the reason Republicans took back the U. S. House. It was also why they took it back in record numbers. I was concerned that after years of working to reverse this last decade debacle the country was poised to do it all over again. Let’s face it. Republicans have given up on winning any election or argument on the merits of their case. No sensible person wants their drivel. So, to keep power and force their opinions and policies on us, they cheat. Wherever possible, they cheat. Redistricting is the primary way they cheat to takeover the U.S. House.
Even after a pretty good election cycle for Democrats in 2020, Republicans were able to keep control of at least 26 state legislatures. In addition, they had closed the gap in the House, nearly taking control of the body. Redistricting had also added 3 seats to Texas and Florida. States notorious for leaning heavily Republican in their legislatures, it seemed destined for these seats to go from Dem to Rep. Add the midterm election incumbent curse for 2022. It all was adding up to a return to a Republican House in 2023 – 2024 and Kevin McCarthy as Speaker.
But something happened on the way to inevitability. The Pundits might actually (gasp) be wrong. Turns out, there are even less Republicans in 2022 than in 2010, at least by percentages. Of the 26 legislatures that have Republican control, that really wasn’t much of a net gain. Turns out 24 states usually have at least 1 chamber that is Republican. Often there are at least 18 legislatures that both Chambers (if they have one) Republican. Further analysis suggests Republican’s drastic redistricting in 2010 just about pushed their advantages to max. In simpler terms there are only so many tricks you can turn to make a district Republican. I mean there are a lot of Democrats and Democratic leaning voters. Eventually you run into a wall. You have to have a Democratic district whether you want it or not. There just aren’t enough Republicans left to whitewash or pack into a district to change its natural designation.
It appears Republicans may have met that limit. Oh sure, there will be adjustments, some tinkering to try to move the needle. But there just aren’t enough Republicans to help out. Hey, they don’t have an agenda or platform. Why would you want to join any organization that doesn’t have a purpose? Plus, after the last debacle, a number of states have implemented new anti-gerrymandering laws. These are severely reducing the ability of many states to make any significant changes. Also, a number of legislatures have Republican majorities, but face Democratic governors with veto power. Take Wisconsin for example. Last time Republican legislature, Republican governor. This redistricting year, Republican legislature, Democratic governor. Odds are not going in the Republicans favor.
The result so far? Well Republicans are solidifying their gains instead of extending them. They are making their current districts even more solidly Republican and letting the Democrats have the rest. It is driven by greed as well as much as a desire to keep what they already have. The Democrats on the other hand have decided to go after it. Expand wherever they can. Having been defeated in the Courts, including the Supreme Court, in their suits against gerrymandering, they reversed their course and are embracing gerrymandering. (If you can’t beat them, join them!) In the 24 states they have control of the legislatures they are aggressively gerrymandering, excluding Republicans wherever they can. Basically, in those states, the Republicans are being hoisted by their own petards and the Democrats couldn’t care less. They just let the Republicans whine.
What has happened so far is that Democrats have gained advantage in 15 seats, where Republicans have gained only about 6. While the redistricting is not yet finished and there are numerous lawsuits yet to be decided (mostly against Republican redistricting maps) so far it appears that Democrats haven’t really suffered any setback in redistricting this time around. In fact, there is a possibility that Democrats might even have net gain in probable seats in the House. Stay tuned to find out.
If this trend keeps going (and it looks like it may) Republicans may have to rely on their positions, arguments, and financing to regain control of the U.S. House. Which everyone in the know, knows they don’t have any positions or arguments and fundraising against Democrats is lacking. Their final opportunity may rest upon the ‘mid-term curse’ and low Biden approval ratings. Piecrust foundations easily made and easily crushed. The price of gas goes down, inflation recedes, the pandemic goes to page 2, and Bidens approval ratings easily gain the five points they need to be positive. As for the midterm curse, well it is like all ‘curses’. A figment of imaginations born of flimsy results, no basis in logic and easily repudiated with a simple win.
Not saying Democrats have this election cycle. But for sure Republicans shouldn’t start measuring the drapes. It could be interesting. Makes one wonder what happens to the Republicans if they and McCarthy and McConnell lose again. We can only work and plan to find out the answer to that question.
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