DeSantis Fights For GOP Congressional Majority
Is anyone else sick of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell running around yapping about “when we get the majority back we’re going to…” do something we should have done the last time we had the majority?
And what’s even worse than McCarthy and McConnell yapping about what they’re (really) going to do this time is the arrogant assumption that voters will automatically hand them the majority – that somehow their lack of attention to the just demands of the GOP, and failure to engage in commonsense best practices to win political campaigns, will be ignored.
We find it particularly galling to listen to McCarthy and McConnell’s yapping when they have done next to nothing to gain the advantages that this year’s House redistricting should have bestowed on the GOP.
David Wasserman writing for the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter reports the surprising good news for Democrats: on the current trajectory, there will be a few more Biden-won districts after redistricting than there are now — producing a congressional map slightly less favorable to the GOP than the last decade's.
A Cook Political Report with Amy Walter analysis finds that in the completed states, Biden would have carried 161 of 293 districts over Donald Trump in 2020, an uptick from 157 of 292 districts in those states under the current lines (nationwide, Biden carried 224 of 435 seats). And if Democrats were to aggressively gerrymander New York or courts strike down GOP-drawn maps in North Carolina and/or Ohio, the outlook would get even better for Democrats.
How could this be when Republicans control more state governments than do Democrats? Simple, the Republican establishment refuses to fight for better maps, even when they control the process.
The Cook team has reported all cycle that redistricting was never going to be the GOP bonanza depicted in some sky-is-falling narratives on the left. Yes, Republicans wield the authority to redraw 187 seats compared to 75 for Democrats. But that's less lopsided than in 2011, when Republicans had nearly a five-to-one advantage. And many GOP-controlled states are already gerrymandered, limiting Republicans' ability to wring them for additional gains.
In Texas, Republican mapmakers' main objective was to shore up their own vulnerable incumbents, not seize a lot more Democratic seats. Republicans passed on going nuclear in Indiana and Iowa, and for parochial reasons appear unlikely to dismantle remaining Democratic seats in Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri. In fact, so far Republicans have only gone on offense in Georgia, North Carolina and Ohio — all of which face court scrutiny.
Meanwhile, Democrats unabashedly gerrymandered Illinois, New Mexico and Oregon. They scored highly favorable maps from commissions in California and New Jersey, and to a lesser extent Michigan. Republicans' only mild commission "wins?" Arizona and Montana. And five states where the GOP had exclusive authority back in 2011 — Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — are now under split or commission control.
The only place we could find where Republicans are fighting for a better map is in Florida, where principled limited government constitutional conservative Republican Governor Ron DeSantis refused to let the state legislative leaders cave and OK a map worse for the GOP than today’s map.
DeSantis came up with his own map and then vetoed the establishment GOP plan when they didn’t pass his map. Now he’s called a special session of the legislature and it looks like the Governor’s plan is the one that’s going to pass.
The DeSantis administration formally submitted its plan Wednesday to the GOP-controlled Legislature where leaders in that chamber have already signaled they would accept whatever proposal was offered to them. Legislators are scheduled to hold a three-and-a-half day special session next week to adopt a new map after the governor vetoed a previous plan.
DeSantis — breaking from how previous Republican governors handled redistricting — in January proposed his own maps that called for dismantling two seats now held by Black Democrats. Florida picked up one congressional seat in 2022 due to population growth for a total of 28. Republicans hold a 16-11 edge, but a map approved along party lines and sent to DeSantis would have boosted the number of seats won by Trump in 2020 to 18.
DeSantis has now released a proposed map for the special session that would help Republicans capture 20 of Florida’s 28 congressional districts and dramatically change the seats now held by Black Democrats Lawson and Demings.
POLITICO reported Wednesday’s move is a signal of the power DeSantis wields in the now-Republican-dominated state. Redistricting in Florida may help shape the composition of the U.S. House for at least the next decade.
POLITICO’s Gary Fineout reports the map prepared by the governor’s office would dismantle the North Florida seat now held by Rep. Al Lawson, a Black Democrat, and instead create new districts across the entire region that would likely elect Republicans. The map would potentially lead to flipping the seat in the Tampa Bay area now held by Rep. Charlie Crist, who is not seeking a new term because he’s running for governor. The central Florida district held by retiring Rep. Stephanie Murphy would also become a GOP-friendly district.
DeSantis argues that the Fair Districts standards conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal constitutional requirements.
Citing Lawson’s current district, which stretches from the Tallahassee area to Jacksonville, DeSantis said on Tuesday that he is intent, instead, on crafting a “race neutral” seat in North Florida.
Christian Ziegler, vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida, hailed the proposal on social media, proclaiming that DeSantis “lets no fight go unfought for conservatives.” Mr. Ziegler is right, but it is particularly galling that the conservative governor of Florida is the only national Republican figure to adopt this take no prisoners attitude toward the redistricting battle that might very well decide whether constitutional liberty prevails in America after November 2022.
Florida redistricting map
Florida special session
Rep. Al Lawson