Here's how Republicans could recapture the House in 2022 through 'partisan gerrymandering' alone: report

Here's how Republicans could recapture the House in 2022 through 'partisan gerrymandering' alone: report

As much of a blue wave as Democrats saw in the 2018 midterms — when they enjoyed a net gain of 40 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives — that wave probably would be have been even bigger had Republicans not aggressively gerrymandered so many districts. Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, this week in his column, warns that Republicans have a lot more gerrymandering in store. And the best way for Democrats to deal with that problem, Sargent argues, isn't by trying to be "bipartisan," but to go big from a policy standpoint.

"In an important new piece," Sargent explains, "the New York Times reports that Republican operatives are openly boasting of their intention to ramp up efforts to gerrymander House districts during this year's decennial redistricting. The upshot of that report: it's plausible that Democrats could lose the House in 2022 largely on the strength of GOP partisan gerrymandering. If so, then it seems obvious that (President Joe) Biden and Democrats cannot seriously trim their agenda for the sake of achieving bipartisanship for its own sake. If Democrats do lose the House, Biden's agenda screeches to a halt."

As Sargent sees it, the worst thing Democrats could do at this point is water down a coronavirus relief package in the name of bipartisanship.

"It would be the ultimate perversity if this were to happen due to GOP gerrymandering after Biden significantly downscaled his agenda in search of bipartisan comity," Sargent stresses. "If Republicans are threatening to take back the House through a nakedly partisan exercise of counter-majoritarian tactics — and if there's a decent chance they'll succeed — it furnishes a good reason for Biden and Democrats to do as much as they can right now, with or without Republicans."

Sargent goes to explain how weak Republican proposals for pandemic relief are compared to what the Biden Administration has in mind.

"The counterproposal from the 10 Republicans would total around $600 billion — less than one third of Biden's $1.9 trillion plan," Sargent observes. "It would slice down the stimulus checks from Biden's proposed $1400 to $1000, while phasing them out for higher incomes much faster. The GOP plan would also offer only $300 in weekly supplemental unemployment assistance, and only through June. Biden's plan would offer $400 through September — so under the GOP plan, the White House would have to ask Congress to renew the payments in a few months. And the GOP proposal does not contain any aid to state and local governments."

In the New York Times article that Sargent references, reporters Reid J. Epstein and Nick Corasaniti noted that Republicans control redistricting in 18 states — and according to Sargent, the GOP "might be able to win the House" in the 2022 midterms "largely through such gerrymandering."

"To be sure," Sargent writes, "Democrats might still hold the House despite GOP gerrymandering — or alternatively, they might lose it because they perform worse than in 2020. And one might note that Democrats are in this predicament in part due to 2020 down-ballot failures: they lost House seats and failed to make gains in state legislatures where redistricting was at stake. But still, the mere fact that Republicans are threatening to recapture the House with souped-up counter-majoritarian tactics itself should warn Democrats off of negotiating away their proposal in search of securing bipartisanship."


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