While Americans have had wave elections before, one complicating new factor this decade is the pervasiveness of extreme gerrymandering in the drawing of congressional maps. Both parties gerrymander when they can but the practice has been worsened by increasingly sophisticated data and map-drawing techniques. The U.S. Supreme Court considers two partisan gerrymandering cases this year, but rulings will come too late to likely affect the 2018 elections. Instead, Americans in key states will vote again under gerrymandered maps that thus far have proven highly resistant to change.
This comprehensive study poses a stark warning to both courts and the public. What looks to be one of the most important recent midterm elections may turn out, in fact, to show how effectively extreme gerrymandering distorts American democracy and blunts the public’s voice.
Because of maps designed to favor Republicans, Democrats would need to win by a nearly unprecedented nationwide margin in 2018 to gain control of the House of Representatives. To attain a bare majority, Democrats would likely have to win the national popular vote by nearly 11 points. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have won by such an overwhelming margin in decades. Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps.
This high barrier to a Democratic majority is at odds with early polls showing Democrats with a significant advantage in the generic congressional ballot. As of mid-March, Democrats hold an average lead of slightly more than nine percentage points, 32-34.1 Based on historical election results, a lead of this magnitude should net Democrats around 30 additional seats — comfortably more than the 24 they need to retake control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of gerrymandering, however, that is no longer the case. Even the court-ordered redrawing of Pennsylvania’s congressional map will only improve Democrats’ chances slightly.
Here is a chart breaking this down.
Projected Democratic Seat Gain in U.S. House
Current polls have the Democrats with a 5 point lead on the generic ballot over the Republicans. This would only land them a 7 seat gain and not the needed 23 for a majority in the House. This is not good news for the Democrats. Although they may have a base that is mad and ready to vote they have also woken up Conservatives and more moderate liberals. Their recent Gun Control Push is one that might very well ruin them in 2018. As we reported 39% of Democrats support a repealing of the 2nd Amendment. This number is big enough to certainly be troubling but also small enough t realize it isn’t a great issue to take a hardline stance on. Earlier this week Former Supreme Court Justice John Stevens penned an OP-ED for the New York Times calling for the repealing of the Second Amendment. We also had Former Vice President Joe Biden attack the Second Amendment on Thursday.
Joe Biden admits only way to stop MAGA movement is impeachment https://t.co/qHlVk8ekl7
— Jacob Palmieri (@jakepalmieri) March 30, 2018