It’s no secret that the plan for a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives includes fiddling with district lines in red states that are adding seats due to increased population. Conversely, it’s no secret that Democrats are trying to maintain their majority by fiddling with district lines in blue states that are losing seats due to a loss of population.
The art of drawing congressional district lines is aided by extraordinarily detailed information that comes to the parties via the 2020 census count. Coupled with data collected from dozens of elections over the years, a detailed portrait of each district can be compiled that makes it possible to virtually guarantee an outcome. It’s no wonder that 98 percent of incumbents skate to victory.
It’s this process that Democrats are counting on to maintain their majority. In states where they largely control the process of redistricting, they are shamelessly drawing partisan maps in an effort to gerrymander their way to a majority in Congress.
In New York, Democrats are going for broke. They’ve redrawn districts that would eliminate as many as five Republican seats — a move that might block a national GOP takeover of the House.
And in Illinois, as many as three of the state’s Republican representatives would be eliminated as their districts are drastically redrawn to include entire swaths of Democratic territory.
You won’t see many liberal publications publish editorials railing against Democratic gerrymandering efforts. It’s only evil when the GOP does it.
The draft proposal includes a number of oddly-shaped districts, many of which would create entirely new constituencies for incumbent members of Congress, particularly Republicans.
As expected, southern Illinois, which saw the most dramatic population declines, would essentially be compressed from having two districts to just one. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, would see his 12th District nearly double in size geographically to take in almost the entire southern end of the state, from an area just east of the Metro East region all the way to the Ohio River.
Meanwhile, Rep. Mary Miller, R-Oakland, who represents what is currently called the 15th District in southern and east-central Illinois, would be placed in an entirely new 16th District that takes in Oakland, curls around the city of Champaign and stretches west across much of central Illinois to an area just south of the Quad Cities.
Illinois’s current House delegation comprises 13 Democrats and five Republicans, but the state will lose a seat because of the population decrease in the 2020 census. Projections would give Democrats 14 or 15 Democratic seats to two or three Republican seats.
Rep. Rodney Davis’s 13th district is currently centered around Champaign in the south-central part of the state. His new district would encompass land east, all the way to the Indiana border. Davis had an inkling that something like this would happen and earlier said he may run for governor.
Democrats have made that decision easy for him.
In a statement Friday, Davis did not indicate that he’d made a decision, but he harshly criticized the proposed new maps.
“As expected, our lying governor teamed up with state Democrats to draw a shameful, partisan gerrymander in a desperate attempt to keep (U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi in power,” he said. “This proposed map, along with this entire redistricting process, is a complete joke.”
And in a move sure to please Donald Trump supporters, rogue GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger has had his seat gerrymandered out of existence.
Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Channahon, southwest of Joliet, would also be moved into a much different district. He represents what is currently the 16th District west of the Chicago metropolitan area. He would be placed in a new 3rd District that stretches from Oak Lawn south and west to La Salle.
Kinzinger would be forced to run against a liberal incumbent congresswoman, Mary Miller. He probably won’t even bother. Perhaps he’ll run for governor.
Democrats are going to squeeze every last seat out of every gerrymandered congressional map they can.