Mar 26, 2018

Report: GOP gerrymandering could thwart Democrats' fight for House

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

Former Vatican treasurer George Pell's sexual abuse convictions overturned

Cardinal George Pell at the County Court in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019. Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

George Pell, the former Vatican treasurer, has won his appeal and had his child sexual abuse convictions overturned by Australia's High Court.

Why it matters: The cardinal became last year the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to go to trial and be convicted for sex abuse. But the High Court's ruling means he can be immediately released from prison, where he was serving a six-year sentence.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 37 mins ago - World

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 10,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 10,000 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,341,907 — Total deaths: 74,476 — Total recoveries: 275,851Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 364,723— Total deaths: 10,781 — Total recoveries: 19,346Map.
  3. 2020 update: Wisconsin governor orders in-person primary voting delayed until June.
  4. States latest: West Coast states send ventilators to New York and other states with more immediate need — Data suggest coronavirus curve may be flattening in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  5. World update: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved to intensive care as coronavirus symptoms worsen.
  6. Stocks latest: The S&P 500 closed up 7% on Monday, while the Dow rose more than 1,500 points.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.