A new nonpartisan study finds that even if Democrats win the 2014 congressional elections in a landslide similar to the one that saw Republicans gain 63 seats in 2010 — about a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent — Republicans would still maintain control of the House by a 15-seat margin.
This, of course, is the result of Karl Rove’s dampest dream come to life — the gerrymandering that took place after the 2010 elections.
Losing the total popular vote in the House and keeping a majority is rare. But you can expect this to happen every two years through 2020 — because the GOP has planned it that way.
Conservatives bragged about how they’ve successfully subverted the public’s will in a report the “Republican State Leadership Committee” released just after the 2012 election:
“In Ohio, for instance, Republicans won 12 out of 16 House races ‘despite voters casting only 52 percent of their vote for Republican congressional candidates.’ The situation was even more egregious to the north. ‘Michiganders cast over 240,000 more votes for Democratic congressional candidates than Republicans, but still elected a 9-5 Republican delegation to Congress.'”
Carefully crafted districts helped the GOP both keep the House and the state houses in Ohio and Michigan, states President Obama won in 2008 and 2012. In both “swing states,” Tea Party are legislators are blocking Medicaid expansion that their Republican governors have endorsed because they know opposing it could cost them re-election.
And thus again we arrive at the central conflict the Republican Party will face for at least the next decade: They’ve carved safe districts for their party’s extremists, and these extremists make it almost impossible for them to win the Senate or the presidency.
Far-right Republicans in uncontested seats could easily cost the GOP its future as a national party by sabotaging immigration reform in the House. This would continue the trend of the party’s base destroying its national prospects.
You probably know about Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Ken Buck, Todd Akin, Denny Rehberg and Richard Mourdock — six of the extreme Senate candidates who almost seemed like a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy to help the Democrats maintain control of the Senate. And you’ve probably heard of Steve King (R-IA), the congressman who casually compared immigrants to dogs and now wants to help Democrats keep the seat Tom Harkin (D-IA) is giving up after this term.
But unless you live in Michigan or are a fan of Republican congresspeople who love to make Speaker John Boehner’s life miserable, you’ve probably not heard of Justin Amash (R-MI).
Amash is sometimes called the “new Ron Paul,” which means he thinks that Paul Ryan (R-WI) puts out budgets that are too generous because they pretend to keep Medicare in place.