With Redistricting in Mind, Dems Focus on the States

This year’s midterm races are nearing the finish line and politicos are already looking to 2020, but not all of the future focus is on the next presidential contest. The coming decade will signal another round of the U.S. Census and a chance for states to redraw the lines of congressional districts. Although some liberals have worried aloud that Democrats’ failure to give adequate attention to state races has left them at the mercy of Republican gerrymandering, this cycle’s renewed focus on the local level could begin to turn the tide.

“The Democrats have finally figured out that legislative and governors’ races are more valuable than senators,” said Keith Gaddie, political science professor at the University of Oklahoma. “The best place to put money is in state races.”

The national Democratic Party has been accused of being obsessed with capturing and keeping the White House at the expense of attention on legislative contests and statehouse races. During the Obama years, Democrats lost over 900 legislative seats — the most significant number under any president since World War II.

The timing of many of those losses coincided with the 2010 census, giving Republicans significant control over how the new congressional districts were drawn. Accusations of gerrymandering have led to several legal cases. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently agreed the districts in the Keystone State were unfairly partisan and redrew the configurations. Republicans had a 13-5 advantage previously, but with the new map they have almost no advantage.

Read more at RealClearPolitics.