Politics State-Legislative Redistricting Is a Big Deal, Too

02:00  05 may  2021
02:00  05 may  2021 Source:   nymag.com

Census: Texas gains Congress seats, Calif. loses first time

  Census: Texas gains Congress seats, Calif. loses first time WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's political center of gravity shifted further to the Republican-led South and West on Monday, with Texas, Florida and other Sun Belt states gaining congressional seats while chillier climes like New York and Ohio lost them. Altogether, the U.S. population rose to 331,449,281, the Census Bureau said, a 7.4 increase that was the second-slowest ever. The new allocation of congressional seats came in the U.S. Census Bureau's first release of data from a 2020 headcount.

“With some effort, GOP-run state legislatures could draw state legislative districts so they’re tilted still more in the Republicans’ favor.” “Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news and developments.” — Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report. “The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom — nicely packaged, constantly updated…

As a result, state legislative seats are likely to see the most far-reaching changes. In our new book, “Gerrymandering the States,” we studied how states redrew 95 state legislative district maps during the 2011 redistricting cycle. To identify partisan gerrymandering, we used actual After 2011 redistricting , we found that state legislatures with extreme Republican gerrymandering were more likely to pass voting rights restrictions. Since former President Donald Trump’s “ Big Lie” that fraud stole the election from him, Republican legislatures have been working to further restrict voting rights.

Everyone in U.S. politics is on high alert for the decennial redistricting process as it reflects U.S. House districts. We’ve already gotten the Census data that determines reapportionment of these districts (their allocation among the states), but state legislatures (and, in some states, redistricting commissions) will soon have the more granular data affecting congressional maps.

a statue of a man and a woman standing in front of a building: Georgia is one of the states where Republicans are likely to perpetuate their control by drawing their own district maps. Megan Varner/Getty Images © Megan Varner/Getty Images Georgia is one of the states where Republicans are likely to perpetuate their control by drawing their own district maps. Megan Varner/Getty Images

For all the understandable focus on Congress, it’s important to keep in mind that state-legislative districts are about to be redrawn for the next ten years as well. And as a new report from the Washington Post’s the Monkey Cage notes, that’s where current Republican advantages in control of the redistricting process could have the greatest impact:

New census data to give Texas, North Carolina congressional seats

  New census data to give Texas, North Carolina congressional seats States in the Midwest and Northeast are poised to lose congressional seats.The bureau released its apportionment counts Monday, as well as the total population for each state, according to the 2020 Census. Apportionment determines which states gain or lose congressional districts based on their total population.

Redistricting will take place in 2021after the 2020 U.S. Census. Republicans made gains in state legislatures , which could lead to more gerrymandering. Democrats have been unable to flip even a single state legislative chamber as of Friday afternoon, but they remain hopeful that one or both of Arizona's legislative chambers will flip. Vote counts are still underway in the Grand Canyon state. Meanwhile, Republicans gained two new state trifectas in New Hampshire and Montana, after the GOP ran up majorities in the New Hampshire House and Senate and flipped the Montana governorship.

Why is it a big deal ? Because redistricting comes around only once every 10 years in most states, and because it is such a complicated process – involving heaps of Census data and all kinds of insider terminology – it’s something only the most politically inclined tend to follow. But often, it can lead to significant Basically, once those two parties gained both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion, they decided it was a good time to draw new districts that could benefit their party. But such an action can come off as a political power grab, and Texas Republicans in particular, led by

We found that, after 2011, 45 state legislative maps had been drawn with extreme partisan gerrymandering. Of these, 43 favor Republicans, while only two help Democrats. Because of these gerrymandered maps, Republicans held onto power after losing the statewide popular vote in Virginia in 2017, and in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in 2018.

Having the power to gerrymander state-legislative districts is important enough, but sometimes it is offset by the governorship being held by the other party (as in the four states just mentioned above). Gerrymanderers can also aim at producing supermajorities that neutralize gubernatorial veto powers:

In North Carolina, Republicans need only three seats in the house and two seats in the senate to achieve the 3/5ths majority required to override a governor’s veto. In South Carolina, Republican majorities in both houses fall just below the two-thirds veto override threshold. Several other Republican-led states may also be just one map away from veto-proof power.

US marks slowest population growth since the Depression

  US marks slowest population growth since the Depression WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. population growth has slowed to the lowest rate since the Great Depression, the Census Bureau said, as Americans continued their march to the South and West and one-time engines of growth, New York and California, lost political influence. Altogether, the U.S. population rose to 331,449,281 last year, the Census Bureau said Monday, a 7.4% increase that was the second slowest ever. Experts say that paltry pace reflects the combination of an aging population, slowing immigration and the scars of the Great Recession more than a decade ago, which led many young adults to delay marriage and families.

The only role for state legislative leaders is in whittling down the list of applicants before the members — five Republicans, five Democrats and four independents — are randomly selected. Michigan had been expected to be a big redistricting battleground in the 2020 legislative elections. When one tabulator told the ardent supporter of President Donald Trump she was leaning too far over a yellow line on a Milwaukee conference-hall floor meant to keep observers 3 feet away, Cerny bristled. Cerny is part of a large contingent of pro-Trump observers participating in a recount the president requested and

Legislative redistricting for both houses in Texas routinely occurs. the first odd-numbered year in a decade. Which of the following is true of members of the Texas Senate? If a state legislator is a member of the National Guard and is called to active military duty for more than 30 days, what will happen? The legislator appoints a qualified replacement who must be approved by the appropriate chamber. Which of the following is not true regarding special sessions of the Texas legislature?

Conversely, Democrats narrowly hold a supermajority in both chambers of the California legislature, but (a) they also hold the governorship in the Golden State, and (b) California utilizes a voter-imposed independent redistricting commission to draw its maps.

Figuring out state-legislative redistricting and its potential consequences can be like a game of three-dimensional chess with all the variations it involves, but it’s a highly consequential game. Parties that control legislative map-drawing can and often do perpetuate their power from decade to decade. And that’s why Democratic underperformance in state-legislative contests in 2020 was such a very big deal.

Reapportionment's hidden surprises for 2022 .
Predicting reapportionment’s consequences is impossible without taking into account the convoluted landscape of redistricting. Every state has its own process for redrawing lines. An accurate tally requires close examination in nerdy detail. Seven seats changed hands, the smallest shift since 1920, when rural legislators fearful of losing power stopped reapportionment from happening entirely. The resulting changes to the House of Representatives, and the corresponding Electoral College votes, are therefore small by historical standards.

usr: 2
This is interesting!