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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

CQ Study: South Is ‘GOP Firewall’

Today’s edition of CQPolitics has a sobering article entitled “CQ Ratings Show South Remains GOP Firewall Against House Election Disaster.” According to the staff-written post, “Democrats’ opportunities for more Southern gains in 2008 are very limited.” The CQ study sees NC-8 and FL-13 being the Dems’ best shot at House pick-ups, with slim pickings beyond those two seats and Dems struggling to hold several of their southern seats.
Puzzling that Dems can’t do better in Southern House races, especially considering that Democrats currently hold majorities of both houses of the state legislatures in LA, MS, AL, AR, NC and WV, and one House each in TN and KY. One possible explanation: As Ed Kilgore has pointed out, “nearly half the region’s House seats are in three super-gerrymandered states, Texas, Florida and Georgia.”

3 comments on “CQ Study: South Is ‘GOP Firewall’

  1. Rocket 88 on

    Gerrymandering is a problem no matter whose ox is being gored. The way states handle redistricting is broken beyond repair.
    There is one very easy solution: The states should combine their districts into big, three-member districts, open their general elections to the top three vote-getters from each party’s primary, and apportion seats to the top three vote-getters in the general election. This would make it much more difficult to gerrymander (because the states would essentially have fewer, bigger districts) and would be much more fair (because in most cases the districts would thereby elect two members from the most dominant party and one member from the lesser party, ensuring that the minority party still gets some say). There would have to be a few rules for the occasional one- or two-member district that would still come up in states whose congressional delegation was not a multiple of three, of course.
    Of course, because this (a) makes sense, (b) provides the most meaningful way to elect centrists of both parties, and (c) threatens incumbents, Congress — which otherwise lets states handle redistricting however they want — has outlawed multi-member districts.

  2. FreeDem on

    For many years the Southern Money Elite held the South in the grip of Fraud, Intimidation, and a wide variety of legality games and criminal enterprises.
    The 1968 election overthrew that lock on the Democratic party, so the Southern Gang Of Pirates became Republican, but never lost their old ways. Rather they spread them across the country.
    Now they need all the games to retain control, the loss of one could lose all. But Gerrymandering might be the biggest, and certainly the least understood.
    By packing a few districts as 100% frequently voting Democrats (who are mostly black) into their own districts, they bleach the surrounding districts such that an area can vote 55% Democrat and still have that elect 4 Republicans and one Democrat to Congress. The Democrat wins by 95% without even trying and the Republicans win by 55%.
    Until there are rules against Gerrymandering, or such voting districts are outlawed entirely, there will be little need to apply the other methods to House seats.

  3. Oregon D on

    One of the reasons we will continue to have problems in South is that so many African-American males have been disenfranchised, in part because of crack vs. cocaine sentencing disparities and sentencing enhancements that were part of the Clinton 1994 Omnibus Crime bill.


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