GOP Redistricting Won't Carry Weight It Did 10 Years Ago (Gerry Broome/AP)
By Eric Mack | Tuesday, 18 May 2021 12:09 PM
Republicans have "considerably smaller" margins for potential House gains from 2021 redistricting than they did in 2011, but needing to just overtake five seats now, it is not an insurmountable task.
"If people voted exactly as they did in 2020 in Democratic and Republican wins, redistricting might give Republicans enough advantage to retake the House, but it depends so much on details," said Princeton Gerrymandering Project founder Sam Wang, whose work and tweets support liberal ideology, as even his podcast adopts President Joe Biden's Build Back Better slogan.
"The number of places where [Republicans] can draw a partisan advantage is considerably smaller than 2011."
Wang noted the gerrymandering process will be far more public, technical, and tactical politically this go-around.
"The technology is now in the citizens hands as much as it is in redistricters’ hands," Wang told The Hill. "Citizens have ways of giving input, and they have free software for mapping.
"It's going to be ugly, but it's going to be in public in a way that it was not in 2011."
Still, the numbers favor Republicans. They hold the line-drawing power in 20 states that send 188 members to the House.
Democrats have the power in just seven states that send 72 members to the House, while 16 states are divided or independent, and the remaining seven states send just one at-large member to the House.
Ultimately, it is about winning races and not just winning the technical aspects of politics, National Republican Redistricting Trust Executive Director Adam Kincaid told The Hill.
"People have this conception that we're at 213, and if we pick up five seats through redistricting we win the House – that's not how it works," Kincaid said. "Neither party is going to draw 218 safe seats for themselves. We will gain in redistricting, but we still have to win competitive races to win the House."
The big states most concerning for Democrats are Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina – which send 92 members to Congress and Republican hold complete control of redistricting.
"If they draw extreme gerrymanders, by our estimation they could pick up 11 seats which they wouldn't otherwise have with fair maps," National Democratic Redistricting Committee Communications Director Patrick Rodenbush told The Hill.
That group is headed by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder.
Wang tweeted a Twitter thread on his gerrymandering project with this conclusion in late April:
"Bottom line: Republicans seem likely to get a net advantage from redistricting. But it's mainly because of single-party redistricting in states like Florida and North Carolina – not b/c of reapportionment.
"It comes down to redistricting, citizen input, and effective reforms."