Does the SCOTUS Redistricting Verdict Really Help Democrats?

Nate Cohn: “When the Supreme Court ruled Monday to allow independent redistricting commissions in Arizona, the decision was greeted with enthusiasm from liberals who support redistricting reform.”

“But if the court had ruled the other way, it … might have even helped put Democrats in position to gain additional seats.”

“Most of the districts drawn by independent commissions are in Democratic-leaning states, where Democrats would be likelier than Republicans to take control of the redistricting process … For the Supreme Court’s decision to ultimately help Democrats, redistricting commissions will need to spread to states where Republicans currently control the redistricting process. Independent commissions in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina would almost certainly yield additional seats for Democrats.”

“But so far, there have been no major moves toward establishing independent commissions in the states where Republicans control the redistricting process.”

“Absent explicit criteria to the contrary — like a requirement to create partisan balance — independent commissions could easily adopt relatively favorable maps for incumbents in the very states where Democrats are hoping to unseat incumbent Republicans.”


  1. As a liberal, I’m grateful it turned out this way, rather than gaming the system to pick up more cheap wins. Let actual, fair, honest democracy work.

  2. Viewed from a non-partisan perspective, the Court’s decision is a good one. Viewed from a partisan perspective, it probably benefits Republicans more than Democrats if only because it validates the commission process in California, which has the largest number of Congressional districts and which is dominated by the Democratic Party.

    1. or so you’d think but after california adopted just such an independent commission the balance shifted furher toward Democrats

      1. Eliminating “safe” districts for both Republicans and Democrats puts both parties at risk for losing seats and at the same time gives both parties an opportunity to gain seats.

        While it is true that the number of Republicans in California’s Congressional Delegation went down after the new districts were created, in light of the extent to which Democrats were in control of the California legislature after the 2010 census, it is likely that a partisan redistricting would have resulted in even fewer Republicans elected to Congress from California.

        1. all true. I suppose you could say I’m confident enough in progressive politics that I welcome fair re-districting.

          1. In an ideal republic, non-partisan, fair redistricting would be welcomed by everyone.

  3. I’ve observed that Liberals generally tend to play by the rules, and try to be “fair and square.” Conservatives are much more aware of the uses and abuses of power, and are better at manipulating the odds. I don’t mean this to be a value judgment, just an observation.
    Democrats and liberals should get a bit better at using the power at their disposal, and try not to be so naive when it comes to using it.

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