Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the 2010 Reapportionment?

In the past few days there has been a raft of stories in the political press warning of the  potential harm population shifts from the blue states to the red states will have on the Democratic Party, both in its quest to win presidential elections as well as its ability to maintain control over the House in the decade to come. Donald Lambro, for one, writing in the conservative rag that is The Washington Times, explains under the headline "Population shift likely to boost GOP" that,

Ongoing population shifts from the North to the Sun Belt states will benefit Republicans more than Democrats in future House races and could enlarge the Republican Party's electoral count in presidential elections, political analysts say.

Analysts say Democrats have offset the Republicans' Sun Belt advantage with gains in the Northeast and parts of the South and Southwest, but that the size of the migration by the end of this decade likely will give the edge to Republicans.

Louis Jacobson, writing for the more non-partisan Washington paper Roll Call (sorry, subscription required), reports,

When Election Data Services late last month released projections of which states are poised to gain and lose Congressional seats based on the 2010 Census, Republicans cheered.

The numbers showed that GOP-leaning states in the Sun Belt continue to outpace the more Democratic Northeast and Midwest in population growth. But projecting whether the Republicans truly will gain ground after the post-2010 reapportionment requires a more micro-level look at the states in question.

According to the EDS, the states that are set to gain at least one seat after 2010 - if current demographic trends hold - are Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Utah. Each voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004, and the GOP controls both the Legislature and the governorship in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Utah. The GOP also controls one chamber plus the governorship in Nevada.

The explosive population growth in traditionally Republican states coupled with the relatively lower rate of growth (and even decline in population, in some cases) in states that tend to back the Democrats, certainly could, in and of itself, redefine the national political environment in ways that make it more difficult for the Democratic Party to succeed. In particular, the prospect of growing electoral and congressional clout for states like Utah and Georgia, which both of which are among the 10 states that give President Bush his highest approval ratings, should cause real concerns for Democrats both inside and outside of Washington.

Nevertheless, it would be wholly improper for Democrats to embrace a defeatist mentality or even to become pessimistic about their chances in the next decade without keeping a number of things in mind. First, the people moving into these so-called "red states" are not necessarily similar demographically to the current residents. In fact in many cases these new voters are significantly more amenable to Democrats -- or at least less tied to the Republican Party -- than the current inhabitants. To take Texas as an example, the exploding growth of Hispanics is already having a tangible effect in both congressional and statewide elections, with Democrats picking up two seats in the state in 2006, one of which was clearly swung in the Democrats' favor as a result of increased support from Mexican-American voters, and incumbent Republican Governor Rick Perry being held below 40 percent of the vote in a four-way race, including barely more than 30 percent among Latinos, who he actually lost to Democrat Chris Bell. If these trends hold, it's not inconceivable that the Democrats will be able to at least maintain their current number of Representatives from the state in the next decade and perhaps even have a serious chance at carrying the state in presidential elections in the future, which they haven't done in some 30 years. To take another example, in Arizona, Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano won a second term by close to 30 points and Democrats picked up two US House seats in 2006, so clear shifts within the electorate are already beginning to be seen. What's more, the redistricting process in the state is controlled by an independent commission, so even if the Republicans were to continue to control the legislature in the state and win back the governorship in 2010 they would not have the capacity to gerrymander their way to success.

A second equally important point to keep in mind is that the Democrats are solidifying their positions in blue states, not only in the Northeast but also in the Great Lakes region and along the Pacific Coast. Following the 2010 reapportionment, it's quite possible that they will be able to squeeze more Democratic seats out of states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, California and even New York, more than offsetting the loss of seats from states like Massachusetts. What's more, the changing political climate within individual states could move some like Ohio from being a pure swing state to one that has a Democratic lean (as perhaps presaged by overwhelming Democratic victories in the state's governor and senatorial races last fall).

In short, these population shifts, both in and of themselves but also taken in combination with other political changes around the country, should not necessarily worry Democrats about their future in the next decade. Rather in some ways, they present the Democrats with new opportunities to reshape the electoral map in their own favor to perhaps help them achieve a new political reality in the country.

Tags: 2012, House 2012, reapportionment, Redistricting, White House 2012 (all tags)

Comments

56 Comments

Increase partly due to rising housing prices

I know a number of people who moved from California to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, or Texas because that's where they could afford to live. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case across the country. Why live in Cali, where $400,000 barely buys a decent townhome when you can get a 4000sqft house on an acre of land for half of that in Texas? Heck, I'd probably follow them if I knew I could find a job. That wouldn't change my politics, though -- and to my knowledge it hasn't changed the politics of those who made the move. If anything, the "liberal" influence of the coast moving inland following cheaper housing combined with immigration means that the "red" area of the country is shrinking.

by poserp 2007-01-09 03:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

Please. I hear this crap every single year: RED STATES GAINING, BLUE STATES LOSING. DEMOCRATS TO HIDE UNDER ROCK, SHRIVEL UP, AND DIE?

by raginillinoian 2007-01-09 03:56PM | 0 recs
Why Pombo is no longer in the House

well, there are many, many excellent reasons why Richard "Sell the Parks, Kill the Animals" Pombo isn't in Congress anymore, but one of them is that Bay Area voters are seeping further and further east, adding a bluer and bluer hue to more exurban/rural districts.

by chiefscribe 2007-01-09 04:02PM | 0 recs
Dont Forget

some of the loss is people leaving the blue states for the red states. Such as my life long Democratic parents, who are retiring to Arizona, but will be certainly still be pulling the D lever, even in the red, turning purple state!

by epv72 2007-01-09 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

Yeah.  This never made sense to me.  If you assume that red state people are always red and blue state people are always blue, then the GOP should be shaking in their boots as we blue staters infiltrate their electoral holy land.

by David in Burbank 2007-01-09 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

Well the problem is the new Democratic votes could well be wasted -- say the percentage of Dems in Utah or Georgia is 35%, then x number of people move in t the state, equivalent to 5% of the electorate. Say they are all Democrats from Mass. The percentage of Dems goes up to 40% thanks purely to immigration from blue states, but the overall rise in the population gives the state another Congressional seat, which the GOP-controlled state govt can then gerrymander so that all those new Democrats are not concentrated enough to actually swing any seats in our favour. Meanwhile Mass loses a congressional seat, so all those blue transplants cost the Dems net 2 seats.

But Sasha Abramsky has an excellent piece in the new Nation reminding us that the west is growing too, and the states out there are much closer to the tipping point where they actually become majority blue.

by thesleepthief 2007-01-09 04:14PM | 0 recs
Fixing bad Maps

Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Florida, and Michigan all have maps that were drawn under 1-party Republican rule.

Democrats have managed to eliminate the GOP advantage in PA and NY, but not the other 3. If we can hold the Gov' Mansion in MI (tough) and OH (easier), we'll be in good shape to get at least bipartisan drawn maps in those states, which will make a big difference.

Plus maybe a better map in Oregon, and who knows what the South will look like.

by niq 2007-01-09 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Fixing bad Maps

Can't speak to other states but the NY map was NOT drawn up under 1 party Repub  rule.  The lines are drawn by the State legislature which is split (the Gov has no sign off authority on Congressional lines in NY) and the House map ends up in court every 10 years (1982, 1992, 2002).  The lines are close to what the court drew and lean Dem.  You don't get the 20-9 Dem delegation in 2002 and 2004 or the 23-6 Dem Cong delegation we now have under a Repub gerrymander.

by John Mills 2007-01-09 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

This completely ignores the fact that we control many legislatures and governors in those blue states losing population. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that for example, the 2 member loss in New York will be offset by kicking off 2 Republican seats, and same for Pennsylvania. Therefore it's a net gain for Democrats if say 2 new Republican seats are created in Georgia.

The redistricting will not be all bad, we will have a chance to finally solidify the blue states which I will say now will definitely yield us many more seats than the GOP will gain from any sun belt gains.

by need some wood 2007-01-09 04:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

It would be hard if not impossible to lose 2 republican seats in Pennsylvnia. The problem in pennsylvania it  would be very hard to gerimander.

by orin76 2007-01-09 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

How so? You've got what has been a basically Democratic leaning swing state overall. Before the last redistricting it was more balanced and before the recent pickups it was quite lopsided and even now it's hardly how it ought be.

You could redraw around western PA to put some of the 14th into the 18th to add some more liberal city democrats to balance out the exburb reagan democrats. I could see redrawing the lines to fiddle around philly to remove Gerlach and make Sestak, Carney and Murphy safer.

Consider the blue trends around Erie and some other areas and I could see us moving towards 3 or 4 more seats.

by Quinton 2007-01-09 09:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

Since we are going to lose two seats in 2010 there will be no 18th or 19th district which means your going to have to redistribute York,adams and cumberland counties, and do something with that mess in the 18th district.

by orin76 2007-01-10 03:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

If you can tell me what the hell they are going to do with the extra half million conservatives they are going to have to redistribute from the pa 19th district your better at it than I am

by orin76 2007-01-10 03:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

It's a dangerous game -- you could push some of Gerlach's district into Sestak's or Schwartz's, but that would depend on each being seen as a "safe" place to put more Republican voters.  And Schwartz's district was designed to be close, taking some Dems out of it and into PA-08, which was then Greenwood's.  As a result, near-sighted gerrymandering gave Patrick Murphy his margin of victory.

by Adam B 2007-01-10 04:48AM | 0 recs
Redistricting in NY,
In New York. The Democrats can make New York US Congressional Delegation entirely Democratic.
Out of the 6 Republican House members from New York- two are from the NYC metro area(King and Fosella). Both of their Districts can go Democratic if they are heavily targeted. With regards to the upstate NY Districts. We can put both McHugh and Walsh in a single district and Reynolds and Kuhl in a another district.
by CMBurns 2007-01-10 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Redistricting in NY,

Call me dense, but wouldn't that leave two Republican districts? (One held by McHugh or Walsh, and another held by Reynolds or Kuhl.)

by bschak 2007-01-10 03:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Redistricting in NY,

That is true.

by CMBurns 2007-01-11 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Redistricting in NY,

The non freshman Democratic house members of NY represent blue district. With regards to the freshman reps. Hall's district which is in the NYC metro are is trending Democratic-(Hamilton Fish old district). Arcuri represents a swing district- but he is likely to hold on for multiple terms. Gillibrand represents a red district- That district was Jerry Solomon's old district plus Gillibrand got elected due to scandals involving her predecessor.

With regards to the 6 Republican House members from NY. King and Fosella are from the NYC Metro area- Their seat is likely to go Democratic- no need to gerrymander their seat. same thing with McHugh and Walsh. Reynolds and Kuhl represent ruby red districts.

I would merge Slaughter and Reynolds in the same district as well as Higgins and Kuhl.

by CMBurns 2007-01-12 11:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Redistricting in IL

Bean is the only Democratic that represents a red district and Kirk is the only Republican to represent a blue district. Roskam's and Weller's district which are in the Chicago area are trending Democratic. I would just combine Schimkus and Johnson in the same district.

by CMBurns 2007-01-12 11:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Redistricting in IL,NY,PA

Illinios- We first have to protect Bean. I would take away McHenry and give it  to Manzullo(IL-16). I would merge Bean's District with Kirk's(IL-10)Lake  County. Create a new District in the Northern Cook County. Merge- Roskam and Biggert in a DuPage District. Create a new District in Will County including some parts of Cook County. Eliminate Weller's seat.

New York- We have to protect Hall,Gillibrand and Arcuri. With Hall,  I would give Hall's Orange County Base to Engel(make Engel's  district similar to Ben Gilman's old district including Bronx. Engel will sacrifice his parts of his Rockland County base to Lowey who will sacrifice parts of  her Westchester County base to Hall. With Gillibrand and Arcuri. I would expand Gillibrands disrict to the Canadian Border-Clinton County(McHugh's District)and give Arcuri(Onondaga)-(Walsh's District). Merge McHugh and Walsh in the same district. I would then merge Reynolds and Kuhl in the same district. I would make King's District similar to the pre 2001 census. Split Fosella's Staten Island base in 1/2.  give parts of Staten Island to Nadler- who gives parts of his Brooklyn base to Fosella.

In Pennsylvania- I would make PA-10 similar to the pre 2001 census-. I would merge Pitts and Platts in the same district(safe Red)and give the remaining Democratic areas chester County to gerlach-6.

by CMBurns 2007-01-13 12:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population

If this does turn out to really be a problem we might have to convert liberal blogs into dating services so we can repopulate the blue states.

by nibit25 2007-01-09 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

The "population" shifts are over blown. Look closely at the data and you will see a lot of padding in the "growth states." This is an issue well worth investigating in minute detail.

by smacfarl 2007-01-09 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the
I echo the comment made by "need some wood", we stand to gain in Blue states which were out of our control in the last redistricting. Demographics are changing and it is true that alot of California Democrats are now populating Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida. The Gop is going to be hard pressed to turn one or two new Florida Districts their way, they pushed the envelope on the last Gerrymander and we nearly picked up 3 seats last year under the current plan. A good legal fight/legislative battle by the Dems could put the brakes on another Gop Gerrymander there, plus demographically FL should be picking up Dems from other states and hopefully the elderly voters will abandon their love affair with the Gop, who could give a crap about their needs for services.
Calfornia should see the return to a Dem Governor in 2010, so we should be able to hold if not increase our advantage there.
Thanks to demographic shifts and our re-taking Blue States, all is not bleak.
by Predictor 2007-01-09 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

I don't see any source for your optimism in Florida. "Pushed the envelope" in 2002 only demostrated to the GOP that they can marginalize Democrats by jamming them into super-DEM districts without impunity and there is nothing to stop them in 2012.

While the DEM's gained a few seats in the House this year, there were no gains in the Senate and we lost the governor's race again. With the Florida Democratic Party's inability to mount challengers in Republican districts to the point where they have won a majority even before election day, this trend won't change wither.

If Florida goes from 25 to 26 congressional seats after the 2010 census, the Democrats will hard pressed to keep more than 6 seats in the 2012 election.

by kansasr 2007-01-10 02:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

It's hard to be optimistic in Florida.  The Gov's race was dissapointing.

About the only good news is that Florida's growth is clearly slowing.  Florida went from 15 House members in the 70's to 25 today.  

The rise in property values and the associated costs of insurance are beginning to price people out of Florida.

by fladem 2007-01-10 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

My point is that the Republican Gerrymander of FL is already maxed out and shifting demographics will make it more difficult for the Gop to keep the hold they have. Legal challenges to gerrymanders are always a possibility.

by Predictor 2007-01-10 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats

The Population increases are mostly due to new people moving to the US both legally and not.  The Republicans are like the South before the Civil War.  They get to count the slaves for population in house seats and president but do not have to allow them to vote.  Most of these new people when they become citizens will vote democratic (70%-80%) but currently they count for population but not for voting.  The Congress needs to change the law allocating House seats from gross population to citizen population.  This would shift 20 seats north and east and would stop this additional loss of 20 seats.  The additional 20 house seats would have meant that Gore and Kerry would have been elected and the House would have been retaken in 2002.  The law needs to be changed.

by chalkdust 2007-01-09 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats

Uh, no, allocating House seats based on citizen population (whatever one may think of the idea on the merits) would be whoppingly bad for Democrats Have you every looked at actual facts about where non-citizens live? 40% of non-citizens live in NY or CA, and 63% live in states that voted for Kerry.

The Kerry States were 8.6% non-citizen in the 2000 census, while the Bush 2004 States were 4.7% non-citizen. (And the modest increase in immigration to Deep South states doesn't change things much.)

Here are the top 15 states in non-citizen population percentage: California (15.9), New York (11.0), Nevada (10.0), Texas (9.5), New Jersey (9.4), Florida (9.2), Arizona (9.0), DC (9.0), Illinois (7.5), Hawaii (7.0), Massachusetts (6.9), Washington (6.1), Rhode Island (6.0), Colorado (5.9), Oregon (5.6). 10 out of 15 voted for Kerry and for Gore.

And here are the bottom 15: West Virginia (0.49), Montana (0.77), Mississippi (0.84), South Dakota (1.1), North Dakota (1.1), Wyoming (1.2), Alabama (1.2), Maine (1.3), Kentucky (1.3), Louisiana (1.3), Ohio (1.5), Missouri (1.6), Vermont (1.8), South Carolina (1.8), Tennessee (1.9). 13 out of 15 voted for Bush twice.

In fact, if you run the apportionment algorithm using "citizen population" for the data, you'll find that Democrats (and California in particular) would be the big losers. CA would lose 6 seats compared to its actual current allocation, and FL, NY, and TX would each lose 1. Nine states would each gain one seat: IN, KY, MI, MS, MT, OK, PA, UT, and WI. (Also, SC would be close to taking a seat from NJ.) Net gain for Bush in 2004: four electoral votes. The reason that's a really big deal is that Kerry would have lost the 2004 election even if he had taken Ohio.

Where the inclusion of non-citizens really makes a difference is in drawing lines within a state. For example, New York City would end up with only 10.6 House seats instead of 12.2. (That means that New York City would lose 1.6 seats, while the rest of the state would gain 0.6 seats!) Even though IL wouldn't lose any seats overall, Chicago would go from 4.4 seats to 4.1 seats. Los Angeles would go from 5.8 seats to 4.4 seats.

Finally, it's the Constitution, not statute, that says that states are assigned seats based on their populations. Let us all thank the Constitution for preserving us from ideas like yours.

by bschak 2007-01-10 06:45AM | 0 recs
No doom
Its true, the whole "GOP gains clout with reapportionment" angle is wildly overplayed. Lets look at some simple math here. If the six states mentioned in the article gain an expected 1+ seats, then thats a total of 6+ seats. Its not a good thing that we're losing 6+ electoral votes, but put in context its 6+ out of 538- which will be about 1.5% of the total electoral votes. I'm aware that Al Gore lost the electoral vote by something like 4 votes, but still, 6+ is not going to fundamentally change the political landscape by any means.
Also though, the changing demographics represents a new opportunity for Democrats to win in states they have previously have not. For example, without the enormous and rapidly changing demographics of northern Virginia, James Webb would have never won his Senate race. Yet now, because of those changes, VA has gone from red to purple. Certainly its a stretch to see Dems competing in Georiga or Utah anytime soon, but Nevada is already on the cusp and Arizona isnt out of the question. If Nevada gets an extra seat and we carry the state, then there are 6 new electoral votes for the Dems, which will almost equal the reapportionment-based gains for GOP itself!
by AC4508 2007-01-09 05:14PM | 0 recs
Re: No doom

Gore lost by one electoral vote, and Nevada has been blue in the last two elections.  (surprise, surprise - Las Vegas doesn't go in for the religious right)  Other than that, good points - Arizona could very easily turn blue, as could Virginia, Colorado, Ohio, and a few other states.

Say Ohio actually holds fair elections next time out - that's 20 electoral votes for the Dems.  That more than offsets any losses to population shifts.

by schroeder 2007-01-09 06:31PM | 0 recs
Re: No doom

Dunnu what you mean saying
"Nevada has been blue in the last two elections."

It went for Bush in 2000 and 2004, re-elected
a Repub Senator over Jack Carter in 2006.

"Trending blue" would be correct. The Repub's
margins have been shrinking, and even Kerry
had good reason for optimistically putting
heavy efforts into the state.

Probably forgotten in the dust raised by the
stampede of other states to destroy the DNC's
carefully calculated schedule for the early
caucuses and primaries, a Nevada caucus
was given an early slot to help build the
Democratic brand in that state.

by Woody 2007-05-09 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

I have two answers:

1. By then, Dean's 50 State Strategy will really be paying off (if we don't nominate a DLC'er in 2008)

2. We need some big Dem states (cough, IL, cough, PA) to start playing by Texas rules

We should think offensively about redistricting, lets figure out how to do more and win more instead of thinking worrying about incumbent protection.

by Bob Brigham 2007-01-09 05:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

This is why the 50 state strategy is so important.  Relying solely on the West Coast, the Midwest and the Northeast-Mid Atlantic is a losing strategy long term due demographic shifts.  Good news is that gains in those areas helped get us back to power in Congress while we build the party elsewhere.  

by John Mills 2007-01-09 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

Republicans control the Pennsylvania State Senate.

by bschak 2007-01-10 06:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Reapportionment?

Someone above stated that the NY map was drawn under complete GOP control.  In fact, the Democrats have held the majority in the Assembly since 1974.

Also, looking at net gains and losses by state ignores the demographic changes within.  Downstate NY continues to gain population while traditionally Republican upstate NY has been losing population.  Thus, it would be difficult to eliminate seats without endangering GOP Congressmen.

by Francis Vecellio 2007-01-09 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Reapportionment?

Good point.  I made the same one above.  Plus, the Gov has no say in drawing NY lines so it is up to the legislature which is split.  That's why it generally ends up in the hands of a court master.

by John Mills 2007-01-09 06:28PM | 0 recs
Ok, let's go into detail.

States that lose a seat:

New York.  We have the governorship this time, and by the time the 2010 elections are over the State Senate should be ours or close to it.  If we get the State Senate it seems to me we could wipe out the congressional Rs: Peter King, Vito Fossella, Jim Walsh.  Maybe let Tom Reynolds and John McHugh survive, and maybe redistrict Jim Walsh into Randy Kuhl's seat, so Walsh can keep his Appropriations Committee juice going, and we can rid the state of Shotgun Randy.  Hopefully John Hall will still be in the NY-19 and we can shore up that seat, as well as Gillibrand and Arcuri.  New York looks ok; we could easily come out of redistricting with more, and safer, seats than we had going in.

Pennsylvania:  Rendell is termed out in 2010, but apparently Casey is gonna take his place.  Don't know who's moving into the Senate seat.  If we pick up more seats in the House, we'll be in a decent position going into redistricting.  We could make our new freshmen safe, maybe even save Chris Carney's ass if he hasn't lost yet.  The current map is a GOP gerrymander, so losses should come off of the GOP column.

Ohio:  same as PA.  We hold the governorship this time, dunno about the lege, but the state is so damn gerrymandered that losses have to come out of the GOP's hide.  The better we do in legislative races in 08 and 10, the stronger we'll be.  Probably won't have the kindof strength required to weaken any GOP seats (like Pryce in Columbus), but should be able to hold all our seats despite the reapportionment, and maybe strengthen Zach Space's district if he hasn't lost already.  If we could knock off Pryce in 08 or 10, we could get Columbus redrawn as a Democratic district.

Louisiana is gonna suck.  Charlie Melancon could get screwed.  It'll be interesting to see what happens if Boustany leaves Chris John's old seat to run against Landrieu.  His successor, from either party, would be the most junior member of the delegation in 2010.

Dunno about Iowa.  We should have a reelected governor at least.  Someone somewhere said the action is going to be around Boswell and Latham's districts.  

We seem pretty weak statewide in Missouri, though Blunt has to face reelection in 2008, not a sure bet for him.

States gaining seats:

Nevada: this one has got to go to us.  We have the State Senate at least, and we might even beat Governor Gibbons in 2010.  But we damn near beat Jon Porter in 06, we might do it for real in 08, and no matter what, a four-seat Nevada has got to go 2R 2D.  If we're lucky we get two safe seats, if we're unlucky they get two safe seats and make the third a swing that we have to fight for every damn cycle.  I wonder if Tessa Hafen gets to claim the new seat; 2012 is six long years away.

Utah: Matheson should be made safer with a contracted district, unless the GOP decides to fuck with him and split his base.  Only the laziness of their own incumbents (not wanting to face a challenge from Matheson) would prevent them from trying.  Hope he's a killer fundraiser.

Arizona:  nonpartisan redistricting.  Hopefully will make Harry Mitchell safer.  A reconfigured AZ-01 might be easier to win.  Other Dems already safe.

Texas:  I've got a hunch the voting rights act will require that one of the two new seats go to Hispanic Democrats.  Texas GOP may use the chance to try to resurrect Bonilla, or create some other Hispanic Republican district.  San Antonio and Bonilla are probably their only chance, and I don't think they'll be able to pull it off.  Also Texas Dems might have the lower chamber back by 2010???  At any rate, Texas Democrats have already been wiped out at the Congressional level to the maximum degree acceptable to the SCOTUS.  I suppose they could take another shot at Doggett and Chet Edwards.  And I'm assuming Lampson will have given up on TX-22 by that time for a statewide something.  So actually, we do have a couple seats to lose in Texas, and the GOP will probably be in control of the process.  Still, we'll get one of the new seats, and if all goes well we won't lose Edwards or Doggett.

Florida:  ugh.  We need Mahoney to win long enough for us to protect that seat.  Ideally we want someone to win in FL-13 too.  And we want to be in a position to give the GOP the new seat, in exchange for protecting Mahoney and Jennings.  I don't know that we'll be able to do it.  We need to turn the ship around in Florida sometime.

Georgia:  well, with Sonny Perdue reelected, and Saxby Chambliss maybe coasting as well, I guess we can officially give up in Georgia.  They'll just keep moving Barrow and Marshall around until they lose.  I was surprised to see Barrow barely hang on in a very Democratic year.  Marshall had a tougher district, and might run against Chambliss, but basically Georgia is gonna suck for the next ten years, until the GOP has had time to run the state into the ground.

Conclusion: it's not quite as bad as it looks, particularly because we've won new control over the process in most of the states that are losing districts (OH, PA, NY, IA).  The voting rights act should help us in Texas, and nonpartisan redistricting should help us in AZ, and sheer demographics should help us in Nevada.  Matheson, Melancon, Barrow, Marshall, Edwards, Doggett, Mahoney had all better be worried.  But in general, we've been so badly wiped out in these states (particularly FL, GA, and TX) that we have not all that much left to lose.

by texas dem 2007-01-09 06:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

Pennsylvania:  Rendell is termed out in 2010, but apparently Casey is gonna take his place.  Don't know who's moving into the Senate seat.  If we pick up more seats in the House, we'll be in a decent position going into redistricting.  We could make our new freshmen safe, maybe even save Chris Carney's ass if he hasn't lost yet.  The current map is a GOP gerrymander, so losses should come off of the GOP column.

Don't read too much into the fact that the current Pennsylvania map was drawn by Republicans. Democrats have done very well here, currently holding 5 seats (4, 7, 8, 10, and 17) that were meant to be Republican and decisively holding one more (13) that was meant to be competitive. Pennsylvania will lose one seat after 2010, about .3 of which will come from Philadelphia proper. We should be able to hold our five Philly-area Dem districts, pick up one in western PA, and make a couple Republican districts (including the 10th, which we will likely lose in 2008) more competitive, but I wouldn't expect much better than 11 (maybe 12 at the most) seats drawn to be Democratic out of 18.

by bschak 2007-01-10 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

no we are going to lose 2 seats in 2010 under the current situation

by orin76 2007-01-10 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

I'm getting the sense that there are population forecasts out there that I'm unaware of. I'm using the Census Bureau's 2010 projections released in 2005, which indicate that Pennsylvania is virtually certain to lose one seat, and has some chance of losing two. If there are other good projections out there, I'd be really interested to see them.

by bschak 2007-01-10 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

17 was supposed to flip right back to the Republicans, too, after the Democrat won the district gerrymandered to get rid of him, and two elections later, he was for all practical purposes unopposed in a Republican district in 2006. I suspect 10 will do the same.

The Republican Party is in disarray in the state. There's a lot of infighting that's so loud it hits the newspapers. Many of the liberal Republicans in the Philadelphia suburbs have registered as Democrats now, but others like them across the state persist in the GOP even though they can't stomach many of the candidates and platform planks. If their 2008 presidential candidate is centrist, that would help the Republican Party in the state, but I don't see that happening.

by joyful alternative 2007-01-10 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

The dynamics are a bit different there then they are in Sc pennsylvania. The York,Adams and Lancaster county areas, are what I'm talking about any district those counties are absorbed into will pretty much make them unwinnable for a democrat.

by orin76 2007-01-10 07:51PM | 0 recs
Iowa has nonpartisan redistricting

The only certainty is that Polk County (Des Moines) is over 50% of one district.

by jdeeth 2007-01-10 02:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

Illinios- Democrats right now occupy the Governorship and the State legislature.
Melissa Bean is the only Democratic House member from Illinios that represents a ruby red district(NW Chicago Exurbs). She won both of her races by narrow margins. We can shore up Beans district by getting rid of McHenry County- give that Manzullo.(IL-16). Manzullo give DeKalb to Hastert(IL-14). Hastert gives DuPage to Roskam(IL-6). Roskam gives his Cook County Base to Bean(IL-8).
Dismantle Biggert(IL-13). DuPage goes to Roskam(IL-6).Will goes to Weller(IL-11). Cook goes to Lipinski(IL-3). Move Rush(IL-1)and Jackson(IL-2)South covering the Northern Part of Will County. Create a new District in the South Central Chicago Area. Add the Southeast portion of Cook County to Weller(IL-11).
With regards to Mark Kirk(IL-10). We can move Schakowsky's District(IL-9) up north to cover parts of Lake County. We could give portion of Shakowsky's Chicago's District to Kirk(IL-10).

IL-15 and IL-19 gets combined.

New York- Make Kings(NY-3) District Similar to the Pre 2001 Lines. Which included South Shore of Nassau County- Towards the North(Oyster Bay). King's Suffolk(Islip) Base will go to Isreal(NY-2)

Give Fosella(NY-13). Nadler(NY-8) Southwest Brooklyn Base. and give Nadler(NY-8). Fosella's NorthEast Staten Island Base.

Give portions of Hall's(NY-19) Orange County Base to Engel(NY-17). Engel loses Portion of his Rockland County Base to Lowey(NY-18). Who gives portions of her Westchester Base to Hall(NY-19).

Trade Portions of Gillibrands (NY-20) Saratoga Base with Portions of McNulty's (NY-21) Albany Base.

Trade Hinchey's(NY-22)Tompkins CO Base with Arcuri(NY-24)Tioga Base.

Combine McHugh(NY-23)and Walsh(NY-25). and Reynolds(NY-26)and Kuhl(NY-29).

by CMBurns 2007-01-20 01:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, let's go into detail.

Pennsylvania- Make PA-10 similar to the pre 2001 lines. Combine PA-6(Gerlach)and PA-15(Dent).

by CMBurns 2007-01-20 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Ok, N'awlins is sunk

I only know what I read in the papers, oh,
and on the blogs. But I've read forecasts
that the population of post-Katrina NOLA
is likely to settle at about half its 2000 Census
total of 400,000 plus.

The redistricting could be tough on somebody,
but not sure it will be Charlie Melancon.

I'd say Dollar Bill Jefferson could easily lose out.
Of course, the Voting Rights Act will require
a majority-minority district, but it's hard to
see how one could be fashioned around
inner city NOLA without becoming 40% or 45%
majority, that is, absorbing much of Melancon's
suburban turf.

I'd guess that in a showdown between a black
with stacks of cold cash in his fridge and
a decently liberal white incumbent that enough
black voters would put race aside to put
Melancon over Dollar Bill in a primary.

All that speculation, of course, if Dollar Bill is
not himself in the cooler by then.

But even if Dollar Bill is away, I could see a
3 into 2 merging of the Barton Rouge district
held by Jindahl (R) now heavily populated with
resettled refugees from N'awlins with Malancon's
and with the current central city NOLA  district.

We could end up with both of those surviving
LA districts.

by Woody 2007-05-09 11:11AM | 0 recs
People's politics do change

Despite what some have said, the average person who's fairly moderate and doesn't think about politics all that often has been found to switch their politics if they move from a very liberal to a very conservative area (or vice versa). The two theories are that your neighbors rub off on you and that the landscape matters (eg. cities breed interdependence).

Interesting both for how migration matters and how people's beliefs get formed.

by CT student 2007-01-09 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: People's habits do change
Yes, another important reason for the
50 State Strategy. If someone moves
into a district where the Democratic Party
is nearly dead, where few if any Democratic
candidates ever campagn for office, if
no Democratic TV commericials ever air,
if few yard signs and bumper stickers in
support of Democrats are ever seen, then
the low-information, uncommitted newcomer
will tend to do in Dixie as Dixiecrats do,
and vote Repub.
by Woody 2007-05-09 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

We can move Congressional seats around all we want, but at the end of the day we are gaining population.

And more people in a confined space means bigger and denser urban areas.  And urbanization almost universally creates more liberal leaning voters.  That is why you have Democrats representing large cities in very conservative states.

Combined with the Republicans screwing themselves with the Latino population, I expect the Dems will be doing fine after 2010.

One other thing, we have to fight for statistical sampling in the 2010 Census, as opposed to the hard count the Repubs want.  They got it in 2000 and it short changed the urban areas, where most of the undercounted live.  If we get statistical sampling, we will get more official population in the cities.  Consequently, districts will have to be shifted more towards urban areas, picking up seats for the Dems, even in the South.

by parmenides 2007-01-09 11:20PM | 0 recs
Re: One path to victory

The three population groups that vote the least are all clearly Democratic: hispanics, blacks, and , perhaps, especially, young voters.  Democrats need to do more than take these groups for granted and show up every two years.  

Just look at voter turnout for 2004 and 2006.  What congressional districts have the fewest votes in each state?  Indiana?  Indiana 7 (Julia Carson).  New Jersey?  NJ-13 (Bob Memendez/Albio Sires).  North Carolina?  NC-1 (Butterfield?).  Arizona?  AZ-4.  All Democratic districts.  Iowa records voting turnout by age (percentage of the population, not registered voters, IIRC) and young voters lag everybody else by about 20% (60% vs. 80%) in a Presidential year.

Democrats in places like Colorado, Nevada, Virginia (not much turnout in Bobby Scott's district) have a path towards improving their electoral count.

BTW, look at Texas voting in the FDR era.  Lyndon Johnson was being elected to Congress basically unopposed with 14,000 votes while in competitive West Virginia, 140,000 or 150,000 votes were cast in a district.  Noncompetitive elections reduce turnout.

Give voters a real choice in 2008 and a real reason to vote.  See the difference.

by David Kowalski 2007-01-10 03:07AM | 0 recs
Make it a campaign issue?

Can we make this an issue for state legislature races in 2008 and 2010? Maybe make a pledge campaign for candidates to sign on to saying they will enact some sort of fair redistricting.

Although, alternately I'd love to see every D legislature do a TX/PA/FL style power grab. Then at least those would be compensated for, and maybe the absurdidy would make it a big enough issue to drive an amendment to the US Constitution to require fair redistricting in every state.

by bolson 2007-01-10 06:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Make it a campaign issue?

It will be very hard to take back the pa state senate the way the republicans have cut up the map i'd say maybe 3 or 4 of the seats currently held by republicans that come up in 2008 are even possible to take, to do more than that you'd have to figure out how to win a city in Central pennsylvania outside of any major city

by orin76 2007-01-10 10:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Make it a campaign issue?

opps you'd have to win a district outside a major city

by orin76 2007-01-10 10:23AM | 0 recs
The "Red" State of Colorado

calls BULLSHIT on all of this.

And Colorado's population has doubled in the past 30 years... making us more blue than ever.  Where did all these new people come from... blue states!  And they keep voting Democratic!

The primise of this article is ignorant and false.  What, so I move from a "blue" state to a "red" state... and now I vote like a Republican?  Ha!  Not likely.

by pacified 2007-01-10 07:35AM | 0 recs
thumbs down-"forget the south" argument

This is just another reason that the "forget the south" / "all we need is win ohio or florida" arguments are bad logic.  We need to continue to do better in the south, southwest, and mountain west because that is where the population is growing.

by KickinIt 2007-01-10 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Do Population Shifts Doom the Democrats in the

I am one who has made the move.
There are people of ALL political views making the view hence there is no "there" there.

But there is one aspect to this story.  When election day draws near; minus a year or so.... the evangelical political machine sends their "MISSIONARIES" into the heathen areas of America to save souls, bring the word, and sign up to vote.  After the elections, they go back where they came from sometimes... sometimes they stay.

This is a flexibility this political machine has that is seldom discussed.  I have seen it and it is real.

by Yellowbird 2007-01-10 05:56PM | 0 recs

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