Republicans haven’t figured out how to always get more votes than Democrats. But they have figured out a way to keep the House of Representatives regardless.
A new report from the Republican State Leadership Committee brags, according to ThinkProgress‘ Scott Keyes, that Republicans focused on “low-cost state legislature races in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin” in 2010, which gave them the ability to redistrict a majority that will likely last until at least 2022.
Republican candidates in the House received 1.1 million fewer votes than Democrats in the last election, yet maintained a 33-seat majority. In Michigan, Republican candidates lost by 240,000 votes, yet won 9 of 14 congressional seats.
Though Mitt Romney lost the popular vote by 4 percent, he carried 227 congressional districts to President Obama’s 208, which is why Republican National Committee chair Reince Preibus is fantasizing about rigging the electoral college by matching electors with districts.
Gerrymandering, or the intentional shaping of districts to elect a member of a specific party, “paved the way to Republicans retaining a U.S. House majority in 2012,” says the report.
Democrats’ hopes of picking up a majority in 2014 are nearly nil without Obama on the ballot. Fifteen Democrats represent GOP-leaning districts. Only five Republicans represent districts Obama won.
The result is a House GOP majority filled with members whose only fear is losing a primary challenge to a more Fox News-friendly candidate. Under the Hastert Rule, which has been violated just a handful of times, Speaker Boehner will not bring a bill to a vote unless a majority of his members approve of it. Thus a president who was elected by a margin of about five million votes has little chance of getting much of his agenda done.
Is there any way to prevent this kind of subversion of the public’s will?
Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) has introduced a bill that would create an independent commission to prevent state-level politicians from drawing congressional districts.
“Instead of solving our nation’s problems, Congress is just kicking the can down the road and waiting until the next election for answers,” Cohen said. “I believe that if we eliminate the gerrymandering of districts we will help get more accomplished for our country.”
States would set up independent commissions that would emphasize “geographical contiguity and compactness of districts,” according to The Hill.
Of course, for this to ever happen, the bill would have to pass the House. To understand why that will never happen, reread this post from the beginning.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin