October 23, 2016


To Win the House, Democrats Need to Change Their Message : Appealing to more moderate voters, not changing district lines, is the path to controlling the lower chamber. (Josh Kraushaar,  Oct. 23, 2016, National Journal)

One of the Demo­crat­ic Party's biggest pri­or­it­ies after this elec­tion is to re­draw con­gres­sion­al lines in states where Re­pub­lic­ans have cre­ated bound­ar­ies to their polit­ic­al ad­vant­age. The ef­fort shouldn't be a sur­prise, even as the party over­states the num­ber of seats that could change hands by changes in polit­ic­al geo­graphy. But it's a telling peek at how the Demo­crats would rather make sys­tem­ic changes so they can main­tain their lib­er­al ideo­logy than nudge the party to the middle so it can com­pete in dozens of GOP-lean­ing seats.

The Demo­crats' dis­ad­vant­age in the House isn't primar­ily a res­ult of re­dis­trict­ing. It's be­cause non­white and lib­er­al voters tend to cluster in dense urb­an areas, di­lut­ing their polit­ic­al im­pact. Re­pub­lic­ans cur­rently hold 246 seats in the House, the highest level of rep­res­ent­a­tion since the Hoover ad­min­is­tra­tion. Even if Demo­crats sweep in­to power in or­der to re­draw state maps after the 2020 elec­tions, they'll make only a small dent in the GOP's fun­da­ment­al ad­vant­ages. (And that's not even tak­ing in­to ac­count that Demo­crats already have drawn con­gres­sion­al dis­trict lines in a par­tis­an man­ner in Illinois and Mary­land.)

The GOP will certainly do well in the '18 midterm, because the size of this rout will sweep out many seats they hold naturally under normal circumstances.  But the size of the reverse tide will be determined by how far Hillary veers from the center towards the left. Indeed, her own fairly bleak shot at re-election depends on same.

Posted by at October 23, 2016 9:11 AM