By J Robert Smith
- Nov. 24, 2022
- 3-min read
There’s more than a couple of reasons why the expected Red Wave didn’t happen. Here, we’re referring specifically to congressional elections. But there are two reasons that aren’t very sexy but most definitely blunted Republican gains. One is early voting and mail-in balloting.
The second, which pertains to U.S. House contests, is redistricting. Republicans actually won about 6 million more votes in House elections in 2022 than did Democrats. The trouble was that district lines were drawn in such ways that diluted GOP strengths.
Redistricting is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. It isn’t a sexy topic. In fact, it’s sort of wonky, but in redrawing U.S. House district lines in 2021, Republicans were either out maneuvered by Democrats or victims of “redistricting commissions.” That depends on how states decide the every ten years reapportionment of House seats. Democrats were definitely aggressive in New York and New Mexico, drawing lines that lopsidedly favored them. Surprisingly, the New York Supreme Court struck down the Democrats’ grossly gerrymandered map, replacing it with a map that actually allowed Republicans to gain seats. No such thing happened in New Mexico, where Democrats drew lines that cost the GOP the one seat it held.
We can add that the U.S. Census, which was conducted in 2020, undercounted population gains in some red states, while overcounting population in some blue states. That’s more than a little suspicious.
There’s no point into getting deep into the weeds about redistricting. The next round of redistricting happens in 2030, though the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a Civil Rights case about Alabama’s lines being racially discriminatory in early 2023. Nonetheless, the cake is baked.