Democrats were left to scrounge for bright spots in a dark night, most notably their victory in flipping the Michigan Supreme Court, which could have an important role in legal fights related to redistricting. And they tried to take a longer view, pointing out their considerable gains in 2018 that they were, with a few exceptions, able to maintain this year. Post ticked off more than a dozen states where Democrats will have, if not full power, at least a foothold, whether it’s a governor who can veto gerrymandered maps, or one or more chambers of the legislature. “We are in a way better position on January 1, 2021, heading into these redistricting sessions than we were in January 2011,” Post said.

Yet that is little solace for many in the party who had far grander ambitions for 2020, and who must confront the reality that in large states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, Democrats will have no voice at all. As they surveyed the outlook in state capitols across the country, both in the fight over policies and in the battle for long-term political power, Democrats found that they could sugarcoat only so much. “The ability of state legislatures to solve serious crises in people’s lives is going to be more challenging,” Squadron told me. “It’s going to be harder.”