Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Is Congressional Redistricting Partisan Destiny?

Drawing new House districts to advantage your own party is not as easy as it seems.

Is Congressional Redistricting Partisan Destiny?

PA will lose one House seat in redistricting
PA will lose one House seat in redistricting

Every 10 years, politicians and the media obsess about the process of remapping U.S. House districts. There's a widespread belief that the party which controls the most state legislatures in the nation can set themselves up for dominance in the House for the next decade; after all, the state lawmakers draw the lines based on Census data and, with some exceptions, it is legal to do it in as partisan a manner as they want - as long as each district has almost exactly the same number of residents.

Not so fast, argues CQ's Bob Beneson. Recent history shows that it isn't all that easy to lock in congresisonal victories, since remappers have to make educated guesses about future voting behavior based on current patterns, a notoriously difficult task. Voters have been in a volatile mood, and the 2010 midterms represented just the latest of a series of "waves" - this time favoring the GOP.

Republicans now control the full legislature and the governor's offices in 18 states, responsible for the boundaries of 202 districts. Democrats are fully in charge in only six states with 47 House districts.

Inquirer Politics Writer
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Tom Fitzgerald
Thomas Fitzgerald Inquirer Politics Writer
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