OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
While the presidential race is still being fought in the courts, down-ballot wins continue to roll in for Republicans. Just yesterday, Republican David Valadao flipped California district 21. According to the New York Times, “Democrats Suffered Crushing Down-Ballot Losses Across America.”
“This year, Democrats targeted a dozen state legislative chambers where Republicans held tenuous majorities, including in Pennsylvania, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and Minnesota. Their goal was to check the power of Republicans to redraw congressional and legislative districts in 2021, and to curb the rightward drift of policies from abortion to gun safety to voting rights. But in all cases, Democrats came up short. None of their targeted legislative chambers flipped.”
Not a single targeted legislative chamber was flipped. For all their campaigning and money, they were unable to achieve their intended goal in even one targeted district. And the democratic candidates knew exactly why. There is a feud between moderate democrats and radical progressives over extreme climate policies, fiscal policies, and social policies. Words like “defund the police” and “socialism” are what democratic candidates like Skopov said was her party’s “offensively poor messaging.”
So why was it so important to the Democrats to gain these seats? The New York Times explains,
“Democrats’ failure to flip any of their targeted chambers means that Republicans will have control next year of 20 state governments that will collectively draw 188 congressional districts.”
FiveThirtyEight politics explained the 2020 election down-ballot expectations saying,
“The polls pointed to a Democratic-leaning electoral environment, Democratic candidates were outraising Republicans in most competitive seats, and the GOP had to defend a host of open seats that Republican incumbents had abandoned. Yet, contrary to expectations, including their own, Republicans managed to gain seats.”
Of course, we now know that polls such as FiveThirtyEight were impressively wrong. Which is unfortunate for the Democrats because these State House races were incredibly consequential for the winners. As deputy executive director of the Republican State Leadership Committee explained,
“The most important consequence of the elections is that Republicans prevented a decade of liberal gerrymandering and gave Republicans the chance to take back the House in 2022.”
So where exactly did Republicans gain State House seats?
- Arkansas (+3), now veto-proof majority
- California (+1)
- Florida (+5)
- Idaho (+2), now veto-proof majority
- Illinois (+1)
- Indiana (+4), now veto-proof majority
- Iowa (+6)
- Kansas (+3)
- Kentucky (+14), now veto-proof majority
- Maine (+7)
- Minnesota (+5)
- Montana (+9)
- Nevada (+3)
- New Hampshire (+46)
- New Mexico (+1)
- North Carolina (+4)
- North Dakota (+1), now veto-proof majority
- Ohio (+3), now veto-proof majority
- Oklahoma (+5), now veto-proof majority
- Oregon (+2)
- Rhode Island (+1)
- South Carolina (+3)
- South Dakota (+3), now veto-proof majority
- Utah (+1)
- Vermont (+3)
- West Virginia (+18), now veto-proof majority
- Wyoming (+2), now veto-proof majority
Additionally, Republicans gained 11 state senate seats (more still to be decided), while Democrats lost their veto-proof majorities in both Vermont and Nevada.
— Oregon News (@topix_or) November 10, 2010
Libertarian Republican: Republicans make slight gains in Washington State House and Senate: Stefan Shara.. http://tinyurl.com/6lnmoj
— texasBNN (@texasBNN) November 12, 2008
This is hard to believe: Dems didn’t pick up a single state legislative chamber in 2020.
Republicans, against expectations, won the New Hampshire state Senate and the Alaska state House.
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 5, 2020
You see, after the completion of a nationwide census, state legislatures are responsible for drawing congressional and legislative district maps based on the compiled census data. Out of 30 state maps that will be redrawn, Democrats influence only 19 state legislatures. So, while the GOP continues to fight the presidential battle in the courts, conservatives can breath a sigh of relief that a system of checks and balances has prevented sweeping and lasting victory by leftist politicians.