“Districts in which one or more minority racial or ethnic groups constitute a majority of the population now make up nearly one-third of all House seats. Correspondingly, the number of representatives who identify as Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, American Indian and/or Alaska Native has also increased. Around 7 in 10 of these members hail from majority-minority seats, indicative of these seats’ importance in ensuring representation for minority groups. At the same time, people of color are winning more majority-white seats than in the past. Success in those sorts of districts has increased as our politics have grown more partisan, as voters are increasingly likely to back their party regardless of the candidate their party nominates.”
“after the 2020 round of redistricting, majority-Black constituencies were roughly halved while seats that were 40 to 50 percent Black nearly tripled. Slow population growth in Northern states led to lost seats in reapportionment, which notably increased each state’s population per district and complicated drawing seats with Black majorities. For instance, New York’s three majority-Black districts in New York City became plurality-Black seats as the state lost a seat and the average number of people per district grew by about 60,000. Lines drawn by partisan mapmakers or independent redistricting commissions also affected the number of majority-Black seats. Florida, for example, drew two fewer majority-Black seats after the 2020 census (although those seats remained solidly majority-minority overall) and controversially unwound one plurality-Black seat; the latter move faces continued litigation.
Black representation, like that of other groups, also intersects with our sharply polarized politics. Because voters of color tend to lean Democratic — Black voters overwhelmingly so — concentrating voters of color in one district can make surrounding seats more Republican. As a result, recent redistricting conflicts have largely centered on GOP attempts to pack more Black voters in majority-Black districts to make nearby seats redder and Democrats’ efforts to unpack heavily Black districts to add Democratic-leaning voters to surrounding districts. Lublin’s research shows that Black candidates (again usually Democrats) can regularly win seats that are 40 to 50 percent Black, depending in part on the share of white voters in the seat and how Republican-leaning they are.”
“Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s three liberal justices, ruling that Alabama’s congressional map likely violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racially discriminatory voting practices or procedures. Last year, a panel of three federal judges threw out Alabama’s map, which was drawn by the Republican-controlled state legislature in 2021 with only one majority-Black district out of seven, because it was possible to draw a second majority-Black seat in a state with a population that is more than one-quarter Black. Now, Alabama will have to redraw its map to include a second predominantly Black district.”
“Competitive congressional districts have been steadily disappearing for decades. In the current redistricting cycle, six highly competitive districts in the House of Representatives were drawn out of existence. The Cook Political Report estimates that less than 8 percent of congressional districts will be competitive come November.
This is a problem. It’s not because competitive districts are a powerfully moderating force on our democracy — instead, the decline of competitive districts is a problem that reflects deeper causes of partisan polarization and leaves the overwhelming majority of Americans in places where their votes don’t matter, and where parties and candidates don’t need to work for anybody’s votes.
Governing in America requires compromise. But when over 90 percent of congressional districts lean toward one of the two major parties, that means most representatives have little incentive to compromise. In fact, representatives increasingly face strong pressures to be very partisan, which has made governing very difficult.”
“the Florida Legislature finally caved to DeSantis’s wishes and passed one of his proposed congressional maps — the last major piece in the national redistricting puzzle. And befitting DeSantis’s national reputation (and ambitions), it is a dream map for partisan Republicans, single-handedly adding four new Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives. But while DeSantis’s uncompromising insistence on maximizing Republican power may give him a nice story to tell if he runs for president, it could also be the map’s undoing in court.”
“This map will significantly shake up Florida’s congressional delegation, as it virtually guarantees that Democrats will lose three of their House seats in Florida”
“The map has an efficiency gap of R+20, which means Republicans would be expected to win 20 percent more seats under this map than under a hypothetical, perfectly fair map. Because Florida has 28 congressional seats, that translates to a 5.7-seat Republican bias — right on Texas’s heels for the “honor” of having the biggest bias of any state.”
“it didn’t have to be this way. Republicans in the Legislature initially passed maps that were significantly less biased. The state House passed a map in March that would have created 15 seats that were R+5 or redder and had an R+13 efficiency gap (though according to the inventors of efficiency gap, that would still qualify as gerrymandered). And in January, the state Senate passed a map that was close enough to fair (an efficiency gap of only R+6) that even most Democratic senators voted for it.
But DeSantis pledged to veto them both, insisting that only one of his uber-aggressive proposals would do.”
“Since predominantly Black districts are among the safest Democratic seats in the nation, those that become vacant in Republican-governed states tend to stay open longer than any other vacant seats. Indeed, four of the 10 longest House vacancies since 1997 have been in predominantly Black districts”
“Most states currently draw congressional districts, determining the areas that each elected official represents based on total population, including unauthorized immigrants. Current maps are due to be redrawn across the country in 2021 after the results of the 2020 census come in, and the stakes are high: Each redistricting has a lasting influence on who is likely to win elections, which communities will be represented in Congress, and, ultimately, what laws will be passed.
President Donald Trump’s attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants would reduce the counts in areas where foreign-born populations have traditionally settled — primarily Democrat-run cities — and therefore undermine their political power relative to more rural, Republican-run areas. But it could also impact red states with large immigrant populations, including Texas.”
“The administration argued Tuesday that by law, the president has the final say over who must be counted in the census.”
“on September 10, a panel of three federal judges found that Trump’s memorandum skirted the federal government’s constitutional obligation to count every person, no matter their immigration status, in the census every 10 years.”