The next election will reflect the results of the 2020 Census. That means a net shift of seats from Democrat-controlled states to those governed by Republicans. As a result, CA, IL, MI, NY, OH, PA, and WV will lose one seat. Winners will be CO, FL, MT, NC, and OR gaining a seat and Texas taking home the grand prize of two new seats.
How this plays out is left up to state legislatures. Republicans control the legislatures in 30 states. In 23 of those, they also control the statehouse. In Kansas and Kentucky, a Democrat governor faces a veto-proof Republican majority in the state legislature. In Democrat-controlled Colorado, redistricting is controlled by a “nonpartisan” commission.
Seven current Democrat congressmen were elected from districts that President Trump carried. Nancy Pelosi is House Speaker by only five votes.
In an ordinary year, the GOP would be considered poised to take back the House. This is not an ordinary year. The nation is becoming disenchanted with Democrat duplicity and malfeasance. The utter goat-f*** that was the 2020 Election has sensitized conservatives to the vulnerabilities in our election system, and 17 states have passed 28 different laws that the looney-left Brennan Center deems to be “restrictive.”
Into this waded the US Supreme Court. On July 1, in a case originating in Arizona known as Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, the Supreme Court made federal judges meddling in elections much harder.
Brnovich vs. DNC on Scribd
When combined with the decision in Rucho v. Common Cause, which told federal courts that partisan gerrymandering was real and outside the scope of review by federal courts, a lot of potential exists for the GOP to crack open occupied zones within Red States and change the entire playing field, at federal and state level, for the next decade, so it won’t surprise you to find that the loudest voices against doing this are from the GOP.
Kentucky’s GOP congressional delegation entered the redistricting cycle with an unusual request for their state legislative counterparts: leave Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth alone.
The group, which includes Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, wants the state’s Republican supermajority to refrain from cracking Yarmuth’s Louisville-based district into three, even if that might deliver them control of all of Kentucky’s six House seats.
“It’s been my experience in studying history that when you get real cute, you end up in a lawsuit — and you lose it. And then the courts redraw the lines,” said Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.). “So my advice would be to keep Louisville blue.”
This kind of redistricting debate — over how aggressively Republicans should try to eliminate the remaining Democratic enclaves in red states — is playing out in cities across the upper South and Midwest. Local Republicans, eager to grow their numbers in Congress and provide launching pads for ambitious state legislators, might be more inclined to carve up those blue pockets. But others in the GOP are wary of a rapid and unpredictable political realignment that complicates the drawing of new maps — and the threat of the legal behemoth Democrats have assembled to counter them.
Unabashed partisan gerrymandering that was commonplace after 2010 is now giving some Republicans pause. Top party strategists are urging state mapmakers to play it safe and draw lines that can withstand demographic change throughout the decade and lawsuits.
It’s been my experience that negotiating with yourself is something that losers are very good at. In the words of Mark Twain:
“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.”
In the case of Kentucky, Yarmuth is not a minority, so he is not going to get shelter from the unconstitutional “majority minority district” nonsense. If the GOP cracks the Democrat district and gets sued, one of two things happen. They either go to status quo ante, or they win. This is a no-risk proposition.
Besides Yarmuth in Louisville, Republicans will also have to consider whether to take the knife to the seats of Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) in Nashville; Reps. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) in Kansas City on both sides of the border and perhaps even freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Ind.) in northwest Indiana. Also potentially on the chopping block: the city of Omaha, the “cracking” of which could shore up Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) in one of the nation’s swingiest seats.
If you are OCD and prone to counting things, you’ve noticed that five seats can be flipped by simply breaking up huge Democrat majorities. None, I say again, none of those five seats are among the seven seats currently held by Democrats from districts carried by President Trump in 2020. So that is looking like twelve seats with de minimus effort.
I completely understand the desire to not reduce safe GOP seats to battleground status for the sake of turning out some Democrats. That would be dumb. What is dumber is not knocking off Democrats where there is literally no risk. Why then would you not do this? A couple comes to mind. First, at some level, the GOP is convinced that by not targeting highly vulnerable Democrat districts, they will convince the Democrats in NY, CA, IL, and MI to spare GOP districts. I don’t know why they’d believe that, but I have watched the Stupid Party in action enough to know that someone, somewhere, is whispering that in McConnell’s and McCarthy’s ears. A second possibility is that those state parties find fundraising on a lone Democrat to be useful and, all things being equal, would rather have the money generated to throw a, for instance, John Yarmuth out of office than actually to throw him out.
Unfortunately, there is a third possibility.
Years ago, football great Peyton Manning did a skit for Saturday Night Live, back when it still pretended to be something other than a woke preach-fest, called “Mentor.” Manning plays the role of himself using football to teach values to a group of kids. There are lots of parts apropos to this post, but one part is exactly on target:
“Do you wanna lose?”
Yes. A lot of Republican officeholders want to lose in a collective way. They want to stay in office, but they don’t want actually to fight because then the Washington Post or New York Times or Joe Scarborough, or Chris Wallace might say mean things about them. And they’d have to socialize with those nasty populists who love America and who are the butt of cocktail party jokes and David French essays. It is safe to be in the minority where you don’t have to answer for anything because you don’t have to do anything. And unless we let these people know that being a happy loser is not a career path, we will be stuck with them forever.