Big GOP victories plant the seeds of broad, deep and enduring majority
posted at 12:31 am on October 30, 2010 by Patrick Ishmael
I’ve been writing a lot lately about the Republicans’ odds of taking back Congress, but one thing I haven’t really talked about is how a decisive vote this year could affect the long-term political environment, the effects of which will be clearly seen in the House.
Obviously one great way of affecting long-term political change is by controlling post-Census reapportionment through the election of governors and state legislatures, as dozens of House seats could come the GOP’s way simply through the creation of new seats in growing, Republican-controlled states and by Republican-controlled legislatures and governorships redrawing of the lines of Congressional districts. Indeed, Republicans may be leading many more states after Tuesday; after averaging the responses of the nearly 1200 participants to the Midterm Election Challenge, readers have predicted that Republicans will control 32+ governorships after this election. (Full results at the link.) Paired with similar gains among the state legislatures, that’s a lot of redistricting power.
But assume for a moment that there was no Census: no structural advantage to be had in the coming years. Where are the ideas of the Republican Party resonating? Perhaps a picture will help tell the tale.
The following map takes the House delegations of each state in 2004 — the last term Republicans held the majority — and compares them to the hypothetical delegations that’d result from a 63 seat GOP pickup in 2010 (that is, the 67 best pickup opportunities for the GOP, minus the four best Dem pickup opportunities.) Gray states indicate that the 2010 Republican delegation would return to its 2004 levels, neither losing nor gaining seats. Red states signal net Republican pickups above 2004. Blue states signal similar pickups by Democrats.
If this sort of an election comes pass — and that’s a big IF until people get out there and vote — it suggests that there is a regional party in America. And it’s the Democrats. (Also worth noting: the Midterm Election Challenge predicts a House take in the high 60s/low 70s, so imagine the map accordingly if you like. If Republicans can win a single race in Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts and hold the seat in Hawaii, what a picture that will paint, too.)
Republicans are set to command a coalition that’s not just growing in the South, but in the West and Midwest while largely regaining its pre-2006 footing everyplace else. From gains in liberal leaning states in the Northwest to the old Democrat stomping grounds in the Steel Belt and around the Great Lakes, Republicans are positioned not only to “hit the reset button” in 25 states and return to their previous delegation levels, but expand their delegations in an additional 17 states. Meanwhile, Democrats are left after four years in power making gains, and oftentimes very modest gains, in only eight states.
A strong showing in the House will be a symptom of larger political strides being taken by the Right that will shape our country for years to come. Presented with a fertile political landscape, it’s now up to us to keep the movement growing.