As Rhodes Cook points out in The Wall Street Journal, in this “more volatile era in congressional politics” a swing of 25 to 30 House seats every election cycle could be “par for the course.”
Given this predicament and America’s sluggish economy, Republicans are wise to take a defensive posture on redistricting rather than push the envelope by pursing a “go-for-broke” strategy in the most populous states. When the next decade of elections hangs in the balance, it is always better to prepare for the worst rather than go for the jugular.
That said, California is an entirely different animal for the GOP. In 2010, with the greatest enthusiasm gap favoring the GOP in the modern era, Republicans in California were shut out of every statewide office, failed to gain any new congressional seats, and actually lost ground in the state’s legislature. Although an independent commission will be remapping the state, Republicans should be far more fearful of the Golden State’s new jungle primary system. If the California GOP doesn’t overcome some internal hurdles, the new system could regulate the state’s GOP to minority party status.
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