Election 2010 Redistricting Gains Will Give GOP Lasting Majority

The real danger for Democrats comes not in Congress but at the state level.

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It’s beginning to look like the Democrats are going to have to deal with the consequences of the 2010 election for a very, very long time.

It’s not so much that they are probably going to lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives or that they might even lose their majority in the Senate. Thought by many otherwise astute observers to have achieved permanent majority status in the 2008 election, the Democrats appear headed for a rout from which they will not easily recover. In its latest poll the Gallup organization predicts “significant seat gains” for the GOP this November, based on its analysis of several key indicators.

“President Barack Obama's job approval rating is below 50 percent, and both congressional job approval and satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. are well below 40 percent,” Gallup says, adding these are “all levels that generally predict large seat losses for the party of the sitting president.”

The real danger for the Democrats comes, however, not in being shut out in Congress but in the way in which voters look ready to hand the reins of power back to the Republicans in a number of significant states--including the large states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan.

[See editorial cartoons about the Democrats]

The Republican State Leadership Committee, an organization that focuses on GOP state legislative races reports that the American political landscape has changed dramatically over the last two years. “The 2010 state legislative elections,” the committee says, “have become a referendum on the Democrat approach to the economy and government spending at all levels.”

The committee’s September’s 2010 analysis says, “In state after state, Democrat governors and legislatures responded to the economic crisis by increasing taxes and failing to cut spending, mirroring the approach so aggressively pursued by President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats.”

The upshot of all this is that the move by voters, especially independents, back toward the Republicans could hand the GOP the pens with which it can redraw congressional lines in a number of important states--thus altering the makeup of the Congress for the next decade. Right now the state leadership committee is projecting the GOP will pick up close to 30 seats combined in the critical, for redistricting purpose, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania state Houses which, when coupled with its control of the state Senates in these states and wins in the gubernatorial contests, will allow the GOP to draw 48 U.S. congressional districts, based on current estimates, without input from the Democrats.

The committee is especially bullish on its opportunities in the coming weeks, predicting the GOP “will pick up six chambers” with at least 11 others now controlled by the Democrats in play and with the president’s party realizing no significant victories that will offset these losses. In fact, the RSLC says, the Democrats will fail to win back a single chamber this cycle, failing even to win control of the chambers they have targeted as their most important priorities: the Texas and Tennessee houses and the Michigan and Kentucky state Senates.

All in all, a tremendous victory like the one being forecast here would give the GOP an enormous political cushion from which they could mount a major offensive to reduce the size and scope of government at all levels--not just in Washington.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the 2010 campaigns.
  • Follow the money in Congress.
  • See a slide show of 11 hot races in November.