Census Gives More Congressional Seats to Republican Regions


Conservatives’ former foe,
the Census Bureau, is about to new data that will
increase their power in Congress. Earlier this year, many
anti-government activists refused
to fill out their census forms, and Republicans worried the boycott
would mean fewer of their voters would be counted. But that appears not
to be the case. On Tuesday, the Census numbers are expected to show
population gains for GOP-held states like Texas and Georgia–meaning
they’ll get more members in the House of Representatives–and losses in
Democratic strongholds like New York and Massachusetts.

The
bad news for Democrats is compounded by their losses in the midterm
elections, in which Republicans captured a majority of state
legislatures, The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman
reports. The state houses will redraw congressional district lines,
presumably for the majority party’s advantage. In Texas, for example,
Republicans have a big majority and the governor’s mansion, and
redistricting consultants expect district lines–which will include
three or four new seats–to the GOP’s advantage. Still,
the changes won’t do much to change the dynamics of presidential
elections. The data would only strip President Obama of seven of the
365 electoral votes he won two years ago.

Some reactions to the news:

  • GOP Must Avoid Overreach, National Journal’s Jim O’Sullivan
    writes. Pennsylvania Republicans controlled
    redistricting last time, but “the political boundaries they so
    painstakingly fashioned hardly produced a stable gain for the party.”
    Republicans and Democrats traded control of the state’s delegation
    election after election.

The lesson from Pennsylvania, for both
parties, is to pad safe districts, funneling voters from the opposition
party into as few districts as possible, rather than go for the maximum
number of winnable seats. The temptation to grow overly aggressive can
be even greater in swing states, where the parties try to gain more
congressional seats instead of opting to consolidate and defend. That
creates districts where the electorates are closely divided and
lawmakers are vulnerable to every shift in the voting trends–a
situation that has been especially pronounced in the last three
election cycles, when Democrats picked up 55 seats in two consecutive
elections only to see all of their gains (and then some) wiped out in
November.

  • And Latinos Could Complicate Matters in Texas, O’Sullivan
    adds. “How much the GOP can expand the 23-to-nine advantage it will
    enjoy next year in the congressional delegation is open to question
    because the state’s demographic growth has been fueled by Latinos.
    Complying with the Voting Rights Act’s mandate will make it hard for
    Republican redistricting officials to create more GOP districts without
    unbalancing their incumbents’ voter base.”
  • Dems Look to Minimize Losses in North  New York
    Democrats, explains Politico’s Alex Isenstadt, who share reapportionment duties with their foes, will go
    after freshmen Republicans in the upstate area. Illinois Democrats, who
    control redistricting, will go after a Republican and weaken four
    Republicans in Chicago’s suburbs. For the first time, a bipartisan
    commission will redraw lines in heavily-gerrymandered California. In
    Texas, Republicans will try to pack Latinos into two districts to make
    Republican seats more conservative. North Carolina Republicans will try
    to weaken Democratic districts.
  • Can’t Build a Majority If You Don’t Have Babies, Ed Driscoll
    says at Pajamas Media. Noting that Seattle and San Francisco have the
    lowest birthrates among American cities, Driscoll writes that “it seems
    rather difficult to build an emerging Democratic majority when two of
    the most prominent ‘liberal’ cities in America (very much in name only,
    given the mammoth regulatory mazes and bureaucratic armies these cities
    come equipped with) have such poor future demographics.”
  • Americans Are Voting with Their Feet, Doug Powers
    argues at Michelle Malkin’s blog.

Americans are fleeing traditional Democrat
strongholds … In the big picture,
there are two ways Democrats can deal with this: Admit that their
tax-happy, regulation-loving, fiscally incompetent, union favoring,
public sector nurturing, debt ridden, sharp edges rounded off,
politically correct, smoke free, salt free, fat free, common sense-free
social and economic experiments have been colossal disasters–or they
can continue to try to nationalize every aspect of America and pursue
the extinction of greener pastures as fast as possible so people have
nowhere which to escape. Which will it be?”

  • Demographics Explain the GOP’s Strength in the South, The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost
    notes. Fifty years ago, the GOP’s “historic heartland” in the Northeast
    went blue, so Republicans decided to split JFK’s coalition of the North
    and South. This is why the GOP is conservative. Post-New Deal, Rockefeller Republicans “could only survive electorally by blurring the distinctions between
    themselves and the Democrats.” Every GOP president candidate till 1980
    followed this strategy, except Barry Goldwater.  “His candidacy was an
    electoral disaster, of course, and ironically it gave LBJ the kind of
    congressional majority needed to implement the very agenda Goldwater
    was running against. But in the long run it was the South and the West
    that gave the Republican Party the ability not only to win, but to win
    as a conservative political coalition and to offer something more than
    a ‘Dime Store New Deal.’

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