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A rally against gerrymandering. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

A new Brennan Center for Justice report projects the predicted Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives is nearly out of reach, blaming Republican gerrymandering. “Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps," the report says.

Our thought bubble: Democrats say that drawing districts is something Republicans do very well, but calling that advantage insurmountable is a bit hyperbolic.

"There is a built-in GOP advantage due to geographic sorting of voters and Republicans controlling more levers in the redistricting process. But the idea that it will take an 11-point national Dem wave to overcome these hurdles is, I believe, hyperbole."
— Zac McCrary, Democratic pollster and partner at ALG Research, said via email.

Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report feels similarly, tweeting: "GOP gerrymandering is clearly an obstacle to Dems retaking the House, but not as huge of one as commonly thought."

But some Democrats are taking more caution. Forward Majority Communications Director Ben Wexler-Waite released a statement on the Brennan Center's latest report, warning Republicans are "on the cusp of gerrymandering themselves into a majority in the U.S. House for another decade. ... [W]e must compete aggressively to break the GOP’s stranglehold over state governments before it’s too late.”

By the numbers, from the report:

  • 11 percentage points — the popular-vote margin Democrats would need to gain over Republicans across congressional districts in order to take back the House, the Brennan Center says.
  • 28 House seats would be gained if they pulled off this margin. They need 24.
  • 7 percentage points — the increase in Democrats' national vote share compared to their 2016 totals across 12 Republican states, like Ohio and Texas.
  • 10 percentage points would help Democrats pick up 21 House seats.
  • 1974, the last time Democrats gained this large of a margin over Republicans (it was 14 percentage points then) and they picked up 49 House seats.

The other side: Matt Walter, president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, told AP: "[T]his so-called study is another attempt by Democrats to undermine that [map-drawing] process and replace it with liberal courts, or cherry-picked experts from liberal faculty rooms to draw maps that rig the system for Democrats."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

4 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.

Venezuela suspends talks with opposition after Maduro ally extradited to U.S.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, in June. Photo: Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key ally of Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the U.S. on Saturday to face money laundering charges in Florida, Bloomberg first reported.

Why it matters: Venezuela's government called off negotiations with opposition officials that were scheduled for Sunday in Mexico in response to the extradition of Alex Saab, a Colombian businessman and financial fixer for Maduro. Security forces placed six U.S. oil executives under house arrest hours later, per AP.