Republicans Gain 6 Electoral Votes

Republicans may be in the midst of a losing at the polls but they continue to pick up seats in the House and Electoral College thanks to the decennial census.

Texas will lose some influence in Washington when President George W. Bush leaves the White House, but a new study finds that the Lone Star state will be the big winner in the upcoming congressional reapportionment. The study, from the firm Election Data Services, projects that Texas will pick up three seats in Congress. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each. Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania would each lose one.

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The new study’s findings highlight trends that have been in place for the last two decades: Population growth has been stagnating in the Northeast and the Midwest and surging in the Southwest and through much of the South.

The projections offer a glimmer of hope for congressional Republicans, battered after losing 51 House seats in the last two election cycles. Of the eight states it says are likely to lose seats, seven will be represented by majority-Democratic delegations at the beginning of the 111th Congress. Meanwhile, three of the six fast-growing states have majority GOP delegations — and President Bush won all six states in both 2000 and 2004.

The old saw in comparative politics studies of the developing world is “the election is a census, and the census is an election.”  It’s not nearly as true in the United States.   The Deep South was once Solid Democrat, then Solid Republican; now it’s a mixed bag.  Virginia, where I live, was thought of as a Red State as recently as six weeks ago but it has a Democratic governor, two Democratic U.S. Senators, and six of its eleven U.S. Representatives are Democrats.   California was a slam dunk Republican state at the presidential level for decades that became a lock for Democrats starting in 1992.  Things change.

There are no signs that the movement from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt is about to change.  It’s easy to imagine, for example, the domestic auto industry surviving only in the South.  But these people moving from the Northeast to the South bring their attitudes and cultures with them, which largely explains why Virginia and North Carolina (and the greater Atlanta area) are suddenly so friendly to Democrats.

In the interim, though, the Republicans will take any help they can get.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Pug says:

    This is good news for Republicans . . . temporarily. The bad news is the demographic shift occurring in all of the Southwest toward Latinos.

    The impact in the long run will be huge in Texas where the most popular name given to new Texans born there in the last decade is Jose.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Be careful of the persistence theory. There’s no such thing as a permanently Republican state any more than there is a permanently Democratic one.

    Note, too, that winner-take-all systems in states tend to support regional parties.

  3. RW Rogers says:

    Good points, James. I’m not so sure that California is a good example of a slam dunk, however. California’s voting pattern probably had more to do with the fact that popular Californians were on the GOP ticket in 1948, 1952, 1956, 1960, 1968, 1972, 1980 & 1984.

  4. charles johnson says:

    In the interim, though, the Republicans will take any help they can get.

    Hopefully they won’t get much. We need the Party of Stupid to be out of power for a few years so we can try to clean up some of their damage.

  5. fester says:

    James — I think most of the shift will be favoring the GOP at the Presidential level only (as TX should be a generic GOP state for at least the 2012 and 2016 cycles), but the House seats will balance a bit.

    At least one, probably two of the new Texas seats will be Hispanic minority-majority districts which are highly likely Democratic seats, and potentially the marginal Florida seat will be minority-majority as well. On the flipside, the states of Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are all losing seats, but the current maps are very GOP favorable gerrymanders. Even losing a seat and going to a ‘neutralish’ map could see the Dems pick up net seats in the north — for instance, eliminate PA-18 (Tim Murphy- R- Upper St. Clair) and put the pieces into PA-12 (Murtha (D), PA-14 Doyle (D-Pittsburgh) and PA-4 (Altmire (D)) while shifting the central portion of PA-12 into either PA-5 or PA-9 which are both solid GOP Appalachian districts, and that takes care of wiping out the seat PA needs to eliminate. At the same time, pit Gerlach against Dent in a redrawn PA-6 in the Philly Burbs and that opens up PA-15 (a generic Dem. district represented by Dent (R) for a competent generic Dem. challenge…..

    I could easily see PA add at least one more Democratic Rep in 2012 by moving to a neutralish map even as the state loses a seat. Now if you want to draw a map that unpacks PA-1, PA-2 and PA-13 (the Philly districts) and insure that there are no D+20 or more districts in the state, I can draw a map that makes at least 10 districts safe or strongly lean Dem, and three more Dem favored districts…

    That is going to be the question, how do the 2000 GOP favorable gerrymanders in the north and Florida get modified? Is it incumbent protection, neutralish maps or hard Dem counter-gerrymanders.

  6. superdestroyer says:

    As Democratic voters from the Northeast and Midwest migrant South and bring their voting tendencies with themselves, how can the Repubican Party survive in the long run? In addition, as the Hispanic populations in Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado grow; the Republicans probably have zero long term prospects in those states.

    The best question for the future in what will politics look like without a relevant Repubican Party. Will the U.S. be a one party state where the Democratic primary in the only relevant election (See Maryland and Mass. for good examples) or will some group inside the Democratic Party break off to form a new party.

    My guess is that the U.S. is becoming a one party state.

  7. James Joyner says:

    The best question for the future in what will politics look like without a relevant Repubican Party. Will the U.S. be a one party state where the Democratic primary in the only relevant election (See Maryland and Mass. for good examples) or will some group inside the Democratic Party break off to form a new party.

    You’re presuming that “the Republican Party” is a static creature. It’s decidedly not. The Democrats are, in most ways, more “conservative” than their 1980 or 1988 predecessors while the Republicans are generally speaking less “conservative” on issues that have moved left over the last few years.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    Even if the Republicans have moved left, they have lost the black, Hispanics, Asian, and Jewish vote by about the same margins for decades. The Republicans could move to the left of the Democrats and not get one more black vote than they get if they moved more to the right.

    The Republicans have the choice of either dying from the cancer of changing demographics or committing suicide by becoming Democratic-Lite. Either way, there is no more Republican Party and no more conservative influence on politics.

  9. James Joyner says:

    The Republicans have the choice of either dying from the cancer of changing demographics or committing suicide by becoming Democratic-Lite. Either way, there is no more Republican Party and no more conservative influence on politics.

    I wouldn’t draw too much from a 6 point win in an election that was almost a perfect storm for Democrats.

  10. superdestroyer says:

    The Republicans need to look at more than the Presidential election. For two cycles in a row, the Republicans were incapable of challenging a single incumbent Democratic Senator. The Republican Party barely exist in New England or the West Coast. The Republican Party is incapable of challenging over 100 incumbent Democratic Congressmen.

    As the demographics continue to change in the U.S., more Congressional seats, more state houses, and more state wide elections throughout the U.S. will be un-winnable for the Republicans.

    Ask yourself this, can the Republicans ever be the majority party in California again. Unless you can create a model where the conservative party can win a majority of Hispanics and black voters, the long term prospects are zero. Yet, how does the Republican Party remain the least bit conservative while appealing to the two most liberal groups in the U.S. ?