Thursday, December 04, 2008

Will The Next Spree Of Gerrymandering Help The Republicans Get Back Control Of Congress?


Illinois' 17th CD-- kind of gerrymandered, huh?

Unless a lot of people flee the Bush Economic Miracle by moving to Canada, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica or Poland-- yes Americans move to all those places-- the 2010 census is likely to show that the population of the country has grown from 281 million to 315 million. That means for the sake of reapportioning Congress, a seat will represent approximately 722,000 residents.

Most of the population growth has been in the South and Southwest, which means they'll be gaining seats (at the expense of states in the Northeast and Midwest). The shift may well have an adverse effect on the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans, primarily because the GOP controls more than half the legislatures of the states that are likely to gain or lose seats in Congress and they will make use of that control to gerrymander the districts. Here's a likely scenario:

Arizona should gain 2 seats, bringing it to 10. Reapportionment is nonpolitical and not influenced by the state legislature of governor. After three losses since 2006, Democrats currently control 5 of the 8 seats.

California, which grew by 8% since 2000, will actually lose a seat bringing their House delegation down to 52. Democrats control both houses of the state legislature and they will redraw the districts, although the governor can veto their plan. Currently California's districts are based on an incumbent protection plan and there's no reason to think that will change.

Florida will gain 2 seats (for a total of 27) and the legislature, which is extremely corrupt and partisan and expert at gerrymandering is controlled by the GOP, which also controls the governor's mansion.

Georgia will gain a seat and is in the same situation as Florida.

Illinois loses a seat, bring it down to 18. Democrats control everything so it's likely the GOP will lose one here.

Iowa will lose one of its 5 seats. Democrats control both houses but the districts are not gerrymandered and the lines are drawn by a nonpartisan commission.

Louisiana loses a seat. Both houses are controlled by Democrats but the governor, who can veto their plan, is a Republican. I can't imagine how they will take away the one Democratic seat (New Orleans), although if Carmouche wins in Shreveport Saturday, his new seat could be in jeopardy.

Massachusetts has 10 seats but will lose one. They're all Democrats and the whole state government is as well.

Michigan loses a seat so their 15 member caucus (8 Democrats and 7 Repugs) will become 14. The legislature consists of a Republican Senate and a Democratic House and the governor is a Democrat.

Minnesota has 8 seats and will lose 1. Democrats have both houses of the state legislature but the governor is a partisan Republican hack and he can veto their plan. Currently there are 5 Democrats and most people in the state would love to see a way to gerrymander Michele Bachmann out of existence.

Missouri has 9 seats-- 5 Republicans and 4 Democrats-- and will lose one. Both houses of the state legislature are in Republican hands but there's a Democratic governor who can veto their plans.

Nevada has 3 seats and will gain 1. Both houses are held by Democrats, as are 2 of the 3 current House seats. The governor is a Republican, Jim Gibbons, but few people think he'll last much longer and the Lt Governor, also a Republican, is probably going to prison as well.

New Jersey's 13 seats will be reduced by 1 and the redistricting is done by a commission set up by the state legislature; very political. Dems are in control though. It's likely that the Republicans will lose one of their 5 House seats and hopefully it will be Scott Garrett's.

New York's 29 member delegation will shrink by 2 and the Democrats control both houses and the governor's chair. There are only 3 Republicans left in the House delegation and that should shrink by one or two.

North Carolina will go from 13 seats to 14 seats and both branches of the legislature (and the governor) are Democrats. There are currently 8 Democrats and 5 Republicans (if you count Heath Shuler as a Democrat).

Ohio's 18 member delegation will shrink by 2 (9 Dems, 9 Repugs and one still countin'). A commission draws up a plan and the governor, a Democrat, can veto it.

Oregon's 5 seats will increase by 1 to an even half dozen. Democrats control everything.

Pennsylvania will lose a seat bringing it from 19 to 18. There are currently 12 Democrats and the state legislature is split with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House (and a Democratic governor who can veto the plan).

Backward little South Carolina gains a seat to give it's reactionary state delegation 7. Republicans control it all.

Texas is the big winner in 2010, with a pickup of 4 seats. Both houses of the legislature are Republican and viciously partisan. The governor is the same. The 20 GOP members will probably become 24. There are 12 Democrats currently. Bad scene because Texas Republicans are more like Nazis than actual Republicans.

Utah will gain a seat to 4 and the whole state is run by the Mormon Cult. The U.S. should take away statehood and make it a territory again, like Guam.

DC is likely to finally be given a House seat... at least.
Democrats now control legislatures in 27 states, compared with the GOP’s 14. Of the 21 states expected to gain or lose House seats, state legislatures draw district boundaries in 17. Of the 21 lose-or-gain states, Democrats control 11 legislatures; the GOP controls 6.

But the states held by Democrats represent a net loss of 8 seats; those controlled by the GOP represent a net gain of 9 seats. The states legislatively controlled by Democrats have a combined 113 Democratic House seats and 49 GOP House seats. The states legislatively controlled by Republicans have a combined 35 Democratic seats and 53 GOP seats.

Is it possible that despite controlling more state legislatures in gain-or-loss states, the Democrats could actually lose seats in the House through reapportionment and redistricting? State legislators are politicians. Within the limitations set by law, they will use redistricting to protect their parties’ interests.



At 2:42 AM, Blogger ordinaryperson said...

It's really a shame how they'll gerrymander these seats, because the reason these states are gaining population (and therefore, House seats) are relocated Democrats and Progressives. What it means is a closer U.S. House but more trouble for the Republican party at the state and local levels, as well as when the state becomes an amorphous voting blob (e.g. Senate and Prez elections). As rural folks have even less in common with the urban and suburban dwellers, the big debate will be around splitting up the electoral college by House district (where the last-of-a-dying-breed Republicans' gerrymandering work can shine through!)


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