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The Republican House majority wasn’t the only thing swept to sea in the midterms

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13.11.2018

A blue wave washed away the Republican House majority on Nov. 6. Also swept out to sea was the conventional wisdom that software-enabled, partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts has gotten so far out of hand that the federal courts, led by the Supreme Court, must correct it.

Lawsuits to have gerrymanders declared unconstitutional, most but not all of them filed on behalf of Democrats, originated in the Republicans’ sweeping 2010 election victory, after which the GOP used its power in the states to skew the decennial post-census line-drawing process heavily in their favor.

In 2012, the new maps produced a GOP majority in the House, even though Democrats won the cumulative popular vote for House races, 48.3 percent to 46.9 percent.

This anomaly would not be repeated — the GOP won both more votes and majorities of seats in 2014 and 2016 — but sent a lasting jolt of fear through the political left.

As federal courts continued to ponder the problem without, yet, a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court, progressives fretted that gerrymandering would unfairly stymie Democrats again in 2018.

“Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps,” a March report by the Brennan Center for Justice predicted. Democrats would need an unprecedented 11 percentage point popular vote margin to win a “bare majority” of the House, the report said.

Nov. 6 debunked this pessimistic scenario. As of Monday, Democrats had 52.5 percent of the votes cast for the House, 6.7........

© Washington Post