The backlash to Democrats’ hard-left politics in the first two years of the Barack Obama administration created a red wave in the 2010 midterms that cost them control of redistricting in a large swath of key states. They hoped to return the favor in 2020, banking on Donald Trump’s unpopularity to win back control — or at least some leverage — in several potential swing states. That would have allowed Democrats to protect their House majority, and hopefully expand it to an unbeatable bloc.
Instead, Democrats miscalculated on messaging and strategy, and wound up on the losing end even in a record turnout election cycle. Despite winning the presidency, Democrats failed to flip even one state chamber — a massive miss, and perhaps a historical anomaly, at least in the modern era. Today, the Washington Post gives a good look at the decade-long consequences of that failure:
Democrats failed to pick up any state legislative chambers this November, and they could face the consequences of that for the next decade.
That’s because next year, states will redraw electoral maps for congressional and state legislative districts. It’s something the Constitution mandates every decade based on new census data.
In many states, it’s up to politicians in state legislatures to do that. Republicans controlled the mapmaking process in most states after a stellar 2010 election and were able to draw state and congressional districts that made it harder for Democrats to regain power at all levels. After a stronger-than-expected performance this November, Republicans will control map drawing in a majority of chambers next year, too, although to a slightly lesser degree.