Republicans have secured total victory in the redistricting battles that promise to play a major role in November’s mid-terms. That marks a major turnaround over the course of the last several months.
If you go back to February and March, what you’ll find is lots of joyous liberals celebrating what they felt was total domination over Republicans in regards to redistricting. They lauded the GOP maps that were struck down and praised gerrymanders in places like New York and Illinois. In their minds, they had out-hustled their opposition and set up an advantage going into November’s mid-terms.
That turned out to be highly premature. With various outlets now crunching the numbers of what the final tally will be at the national level, the reality is becoming clear: Republicans, even in the face of several ridiculous court decisions, look to have actually gained ground.
We’re down to two possible outcomes of 2022 redistricting: a partisan wash or a modest GOP gain, depending on the final ruling on Dems’ NY congressional map.
Predictions from a few months ago of a much less skewed House map now look premature.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) April 27, 2022
Dave Wasserman works for Cook Political Report and describes himself as “non-partisan,” but if you follow him, you know he’s anything but. If he’s making this admission, you can bet it’s happening with much loathing. I do love the way he says things could be a “partisan wash” while at the same time lamenting that things won’t be “much less skewed.” Are things only less skewed when Democrats gain an advantage?
But I digress, this is a complete turnaround from where things were earlier in the year, and it’s the result of one thing: Republicans actually deciding to fight.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t roll over the way the establishment attempted to do in Florida and Missouri. In particular, the way Gov. Ron DeSantis played things in his state was an absolute masterpiece of political gamesmanship. For months, he duked it out with his own party members (some of whom criticized him publicly), went to court to lay the groundwork, and eventually bent his opponents to his will. In the face of wailing and gnashing of teeth, he forced a fair, compact map in Florida that got rid of long-standing racial gerrymanders that benefited Democrats despite the fact that the governor has no official role in the process. That’s what winning looks like.
Republicans also stiffened their spines against challenges in Alabama and Ohio, winning both fights when they weren’t expected to. That really only leaves New York in the pipeline, where all of the smart set insisted Democrats had prevailed. But in a surprise ruling, the state’s Supreme Court struck down the Democrat gerrymander because it obviously violated the state’s fair map provisions.
Yet, even if the GOP loses that particular fight, they are still going to either come out ahead or break even, and both of those outcomes are a big victory given where things stood previously. Further, North Carolina’s “fair” map, which was forced by a liberal judge, will almost certainly be struck down in 2023, which means Republicans will likely gain more ground before the 2024 election.
There’s a lot of work left to be done regarding the GOP, but what’s clear is that things are changing. Where folding was the name of the game in the past, a new generation of leadership is standing up and fighting fire with fire. It’s good to see, and it’s going to pay dividends in the fall.
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