Do Dems really “win” in redistricting – in the face of voter restrictions and GOP extremists?

After the 2020 census, the redistricting process by which congressional districts were redrawn was not as devastating for Democrats as many observers feared. The consequences, however, could still be dire for democracy: The latest round of Republican commanders threatens to undermine the political power of voters of color and push the Republican Party back. more extreme Trumpist side.

Despite months of alarm that Republicans could regain control of the House through redistricting alone, recent analysis by nonpartisan Cook Political Report with Amy Walter and leftist Data for progress found that the redistricting cycle was going surprisingly well for House Democrats.

Instead of redrawing Democratic counties into Republican counties, the GOP mainly focused on transforming existing counties created in extremely active 2011 regional redistricting cycle while some Democratic-led states have not yet ceded redistricting to independent committees, such as Oregon and Illinois, has been actively trying to add potentially Democratic seats. Even those who think Republicans are redrawing 187 House seats, compared with 75 Democrats, that’s a significant improvement over the 5-one advantage the GOP held in 2011.

As a result, “regional redistricting is going surprisingly well for Democrats,” wrote Joel Wertheimer at Data for Progress, noting that some states are already too red to allow Republicans add seats. Dave Wasserman of the Cook Politics Report writes: “There will be a few more districts won by Biden after the redistricting than there are currently.

RELATED: Democrats fear a bloodbath – but new analysis shows “surprising” good news for them

But the surprisingly good news isn’t really all good — and not least because both analyzes also predict that Republicans will likely regain control of the House this year regardless of the redistricting pattern. . Wasserman warned that Democrats already hold 11 of the 15 seats “newly tilted to the Democrats,” meaning there is only a handful of chances, while Republicans currently hold only one in nine seats. favoring the Republican Party.”

“Because Democrats currently hold a large share of the marginal seats, estimating the actual effectiveness of the new lines in 2022 still points toward a washout or slight increase in the GOP,” Wasserman writes. Wasserman wrote. And states that haven’t completed redistricting, like Florida, Tennessee and New Hampshire, could further cut Democratic gains.

“We start with a baseline of bad maps,” said Michael Li, a zoning expert at New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. “This new round of redistricting will” he continued, “engaging people in states like Texas and strengthening.” “Republicans are not trying to convert Democratic seats into Republican seats, but they’re being very defensive to make sure they stick with what they have.”

In Texas, where Biden has 47% of the vote, Democrats would have to win about 58% of the vote to win more than 37% of the House district. In North Carolina, Democrats were able to win 53% of the vote but only 28% of the seats, while Republicans could win 72% of the seats with just 47% of the vote.

Focusing on the number of “Biden districts” doesn’t tell you much, says Li, “because of the quantity [Democratic] counties were “artificially depressed” in the final wave of the investigation.

Voter and suffrage groups have sued over the new congressional map of North Carolina, raising the prospect that a court could redraw certain counties. State Court Thrown out an older congressional district map in 2019 as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander and in 2016 forced lawmakers to redraw their map of an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Suffrage groups sued after the latest redistricting round said the new map was “irresistible” and a “grotesque partisan gerrymander.”

Multiple lawsuits are also challenging extreme Republicans in the Ohio and Georgia. But while Democrats were able to beat some of the past decade’s leaders in court, legal remedies were limited after the Supreme Court rule As of 2019, federal courts have no jurisdiction over partisans (considered “political” matters), although they can still hear cases about racial gerrymanders ethnicity. As a result, most of these cases will be heard in state courts in predominantly Indian states, where Republican governors appoint a large percentage of state judges.

Federal courts may eventually weigh in on some maps where suffrage groups have accused racists.

Most legal analysis of the latest round of bidding, Li said, “doesn’t take into account how the people doing this work are done, which is mostly at the expense of communities of color.”

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For example, even though Texas won two congressional seats in the census and people of color (mostly Latinos) accounted for 95% of the state’s population growth, Republican cartographers have creating two more white majority counties where Republicans are likely to win. Ministry of Justice last month File a lawsuit alleging that the new state maps violate the Voting Rights Act.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said: “Texas violated Section 2 by creating redistricting schemes that denied or revoked the right to vote of Latino and Black voters because of race, color, or identity their membership in a minority language group,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement.

The lawsuits come as Democrats ramp up their latest push to advance voting rights legislation, which includes a ban on gerrymandering parties. Democrats will need to change the Senate’s filtering rules to advance their bills but they have faced stiff opposition, and not just from infamous trash fans like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Li said he was worried that the “not too bad” analysis could reduce the urgency of passing voting rights bills, and warned Democrats not to make any “victory rounds” yet. any.

“When people say, ‘Well, these articles say it’s not so bad,’ talk to a voter in Texas,” he said. “Better talk to a voter of color in Texas – it could be a really dark blue state and the Republicans will still have a two-to-one advantage in the congressional delegation. asked a Texas voter if it was fair ‘not so bad.’ It’s a real danger, because people have taken part of the story and presented it as the whole story, and I think that’s a dangerous thing to do.”

Former Black Caucus Congress Speaker GK Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat, chose to retire last year after the Republican state legislature rewrite his district in ways that he said would hurt Black voters.

“The map issued recently by the legislature is a partisan map. It’s racist. It will be detrimental to African-American communities across the 1st congressional district,” Butterfield said. said last month.

In Georgia, Representative Lucy McBath’s district was redrawn to be heavily Republican, forcing her to run for the same district as Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux, a black Democrat. Voting rights groups have submitted a federal lawsuit earlier this month about the changes, alleging that the map was unconstitutional because it denied the right to represent Black voters.

“These maps intentionally discriminate against people of color in Georgia by silencing our voices in the country,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia, the lead plaintiff in the case. vote Box”.

This trend is even more pronounced at the state level. North Carolina cartographers have mapped the counties of four Black senators and five Black state representatives in ways that could easily cost them seats, New York Times reported last month. The South Carolina Republican Party drew four Black state representatives into counties currently represented by other Democrats. Ohio mappers also changed the counties of four Black state representatives or attracted them to other counties.

The Justice Department, in its case against Texas, argued that the state’s legislative districts also violated the Voting Rights Act because they resulted in “minority voters having fewer opportunities than other citizens to participate in the political process and elect the legislators of their choice.”

As the redistricting cycle draws to a close and lawsuits over new maps increase, one major damage to these new maps is clear: competitive elections.

The number of competitive precincts, defined as those where either Trump or Biden won by less than five points, have fallen about 58 percent this cycle and are on track to decline by a third, according to the report. Cook political report. In Texas, the number of counties where Biden has won more than 15 points has increased from eight to 12, while the number of counties by which Trump has won 15 or more has nearly doubled, from 11 to 21. In four of the states with the most points. – Texas, North Carolina, Ohio and Georgia – the number of counties that Trump won by 15 points or more increased from 27 to 39.

Although the number of competitive seats has long since declined, it is well understood that competitive elections tend to have a regulatory effect on both parties. Parties are more likely to nominate moderate candidates when they face a competitive race in the general election and are more likely to nominate candidates who strongly appeal to voters base when there is little risk they will lose the championship. For the Republican Party, that could mean more candidates like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, who aren’t seriously worried about losing to Democrats in the race. their bold red districts despite alienating many voters.

“You’re looking at a [Republican] Li said. “This could be a case where Republicans have been in the classic case of ‘Be careful what you want, because you can get it.’ I don’t think people have admitted it yet: They actually surrendered to the MAGA wing of the party. “

Read more about the redistricting war:–in-the-face-of-restriction-laws-and-extremists/ Do Dems really “win” in redistricting – in the face of voter restrictions and GOP extremists?

Huynh Nguyen

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