WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — While most of the attention during the 2020 Election was focused on the White House, it also decided which party will control the redistricting of the nation's Congressional & State Legislative Districts for the next 10 years – and will control the U.S. House of Representatives for the next decade. Clearly, Americans delivered better down-ballot results for Republicans than Democrats – meaning the nation is likely headed for another 10 years of GOP election gains across the American Electoral Map.
In fact, despite the poll's and "expert's" again inaccurate predictions, GOP victories in State-Level Elections will now pay dividends long beyond the presidential election thanks to their influence over next year’s state-conotrolled redistricting process.
In 2018, Democrats were able to win the U.S. House and several State Legislatures thanks to shifting growth patterns in the nation's suburbs, but Republicans will now have the ability to redraw Congressional & State Legislative Districts in many key states after their 2020 Election victories.
Every 10 years, after the census, Congressional and State Legislative Districts are redrawn to account for population changes. This gives whoever is drawing the maps the power to maximize the number of districts that favor their party – a tactic known as gerrymandering. And the 2020 Election represented the last chance for voters to weigh in on which party would draw those maps.
Both parties went into the election with a chance to draw more Congressional Districts than the other, but the results of American's 2020 voting preferences delivered just about the best-case scenario Republicans could have asked for.
As a result – and as the adjacent map shows – Republicans will now control the redistricting of 188 Congressional seats — or 43% of the entire U.S. House of Representatives.
Democrats will control the redistricting of, at most, 73 seats, or 17%.
How did Republicans pull that off? By winning almost every one of the most critical 2020 elections in which control of redistricting was at stake:
- The GOP kept control of the redistricting process in Texas by holding the state House. Given that Election Data Services estimates Texas will have 39 congressional seats for the next decade, this was arguably Republicans’ single biggest win of the 2020 election.
- The GOP kept control of the state House in Iowa, with its four congressional districts.
- Republicans maintained their supermajorities in the Kansas Legislature, enabling them to pass a new congressional map (worth four districts) over Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto.
- In an upset, Republicans managed to keep their majority in the Minnesota State Senate, thus ensuring Democrats wouldn’t have the unfettered ability to draw the state’s projected seven congressional districts. The parties will share redistricting responsibilities there.
- In Missouri (home to eight Congressional Districts), Gov. Mike Parson was elected to a second term, keeping redistricting control in Republican hands.
- Republicans surprisingly flipped both the state Senate and state House in New Hampshire (worth two congressional districts), seizing full control of both the state government and the redistricting process.
- Republicans held the majority in both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, which will enable them to draw an expected 14 congressional districts all by themselves.
- Republicans successfully defended the Pennsylvania Legislature from a Democratic takeover, although they’ll still need to share redistricting power over its projected 17 congressional districts, as Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has veto power.
- Finally, Amendment 1 passed in Virginia, taking the power to draw the state’s 11 congressional districts out of the hands of the all-Democratic state government and investing it in a bipartisan commission made up of a mix of citizens and legislators.
Regardless of New York's outcome, the overall redistricting picture is the same: U.S. House Congressional Districts should favor Republicans in the coming decade at a greater rete than any other point since the 1970s.
The GOP is certainly in as good a position as it was during the last redistricting process in the early 2000s, when the GOP controlled the drawing of 55% of Congressional Districts – while Democrats controlled only 10% after 2010’s Republican red wave.
That said, while Republicans are postioned to draw a significantly larger number of Congressional Districts than are Democrats, they will potentially control the design of fewer Congressional Districts than in 2011 because of a more recent development – the creation of "Independent State Commissions" in states such as Colorado, Michigan and Virginia. Such commissions will now oversee the drawing of at least 165 districts – or approximately 35% of the U.S. House – up from some 145 seats in 2011 after the passage of "independent commission" ballot measures in recent years.
Ohio and Utah have also passed new measures to encourage the drawing of more neutral maps.