Democrats face a daunting future of severe Republican gerrymandering that could flip control of the House in 2022 and suppress diverse younger generations’ political influence for years to come, according to a new study released today. Those findings underscore the stakes in Democrats’ efforts to pass national legislation combatting such electoral manipulation.
The four big states to watch are Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, where the GOP enjoys complete control over the redistricting process, says Michael Li, a senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice and the author of the new report on how congressional redistricting could unfold following the 2020 census. “Those four states, which are seat-rich and where Republicans control the process, could decide who controls the next Congress,” he told me.
Over the longer term, Republican states could impose gerrymanders that prevent the nation’s growing nonwhite population from building political power commensurate with its numbers—even though voters of color accounted for about four in five newly eligible voters in the past decade, the study found.
The report, which was provided exclusively to The Atlantic, comes as Democrats prepare to advance two bills to guarantee voting rights and reshape the rules regarding federal elections: a new Voting Rights Act and the omnibus legislation called H.R. 1. Both bills, which the Democratic-controlled House approved in the previous session, are likely to pass the chamber again this year—with H.R. 1 potentially winning approval as soon as early next month, House aides say. But both are virtually certain to be blocked in the Senate by a Republican filibuster—unless Democrats change the upper chamber’s rules to allow them to pass with a simple-majority vote.