Halfway there to 2010's Reapportionment, Redistricting; DCCC strategy Reform
by Jerome Armstrong, Sun Dec 26, 2004 at 01:52:14 AM EST
These are the rules for the game, while the Republicans have used them to go for maximum gains; Democrats have mostly opted for safety...
Democrats have a downside of about 195-200 seats; likewise, a similar shift in size is possible to the upside of holding 210-215 seats.
If the Republicans cast aside moderation and consensus in favor of the radical-right and corporate agenda, it will work toward their undoing. But even if Republicans alienate a majority of the public, the severity of redistricting for incumbent and partisan control makes it a tough haul to an actual Democratic majority in the House--near parity maybe, but not control.
Unless the ingrained allegiance toward incumbent Republican representatives massively declines, which the recent election numbers and trends do not suggest as likely, a Democratic majority in the House seems out of reach until the next round of redistricting.Looking at it post-2004, it's still pretty sound that 2012 is the next best shot that Democrats will have an opportunity of regaining control of the House, so the mid-decade analysis of the 2010 reaportionment due to chaning census population numbers in the states is worth noting:
Reapportionment Factors Seat-loss R-D Delegation Governor Legislature New York 2 9-20 R R-D Ohio 2 12-6 R R-R Illinois 1 9-10 D D-D Iowa 1 4-1 non-partisan Louisiana 1 5-2 D D-D Massachusetts 1 0-10 R D-D Missouri 1 5-4 R R-R Pennsylvania 1 12-7 D R-R Seat-gain R-D Delegation Governor Legislature Texas 3 21-11 R R-R Florida 2 18-7 R R-R Arizona 1 6-2 non-partisan California 1 33-20 R D-D Georgia 1 7-6 R R-R Nevada 1 2-1 R D-R Utah 1 2-1 R R-ROn the face of it, it'd be too much conjecture to accurately predict the outcome of events that are 7 years away in coming; at least it points toward where the Democrats are going to have to hold sway with either the governing or legislative power when the reapportionment maps are drawn. But how in the world is Tom DeLay going to stack three more Republicans in the Texas delegation; and how could Florida Republicans possibly advance from their 72% representation of the state at the CD level? I dunno, but I'm sure they'd love to have the opportunity to attempt the matter.
For 2006, is it at all possible that the Democrats in the US House via the DCCC might try something different? I know it's against the odds to hope against what's become an entrenched minority, but as a alternative tactic look at what the Democrats in the NY Senate have done. For many years, they attempted to take over complete control of the NY Senate in one election, and failed. So, beginning with the 2004 election, they set a goal of taking away 2 seats this cycle, 2 seats in the 2006 cycle, and from there, just 3 seats from the majority, they could work on the final goal. Well, the strategy worked, with New York Democrats taking 3 (4 pending) of the 7 Senate seats needed to regain the majority.
What are the odds of the Democrats making an attempt at taking away 15 seats from the Republicans in 2006? Not very good at all. In fact, the chances for the Democrats are worse in 2006 than for the last 5 cycles in the minority. So try something different. It'd be a much viable strategy to publically shoot for gaining 6 seats in each of the next two elections, and figure out where to get the extra 3 seats along the way. Combined with the fielding candidates in every seat across the nation, with financial (say, $100K in resources each) backing(see 2004's CO 4th & PA 8th expendidtures by the GOP for why), and I think there's an opportunity. If that strategic path were taken, then I could see the potential of a majority by '08 or '10 for the Democrats in the House. Otherwise, following the same 1996-2004 strategy, means 3 more cycles of the same failure.
Bush won 9 of the 10 fastest-growing states, the exception being DE. "If the trend continues at its current pace," northeastern and midwestern states that "have been population powerhouses since the 19th century will lose their dominance to Sun Belt states by" '10. NY, now the 3rd most populous, "will likely be overtaken" by FL in 5 years. NJ, now 10th, could be passed by NC in 3 years. Election Data Services pres Kim Brace says based on the latest population estimates, NY, PA, OH and IN each would lose a House seat. AZ, FL, TX and UT each would gain a seat. CO "lost more people to other states than it gained" for the 2nd year in a row, but immigration and births increased population by 1.2% (El Nasser/Overberg, USA Today, 12/22).
OH's population growth "isn't keeping up with the nation's," and "unless that rend changes," it "stands to lose two more seats -- and political clout -- in Congress," starting '10. The '10 reapportionment projection, based on Census estimates, found only one other state -- NY -- "in jeopardy of losing two House seats." 6 others might lose 1: IL, IA, LA, MA, MO and PA. The "biggest winners" would be TX, which could gain 3 seats, and FL, which might get 2. AZ, CA, GA, NV and UT would gain 1 seat each (Knox, Akron Beacon Journal, 12/22).