Thursday, March 04, 2010

What is really at stake in this year's election

Karl Rove points to what is at stake this year in November's election. While so many eyes are fixed on Washington, wondering how many seats the Republicans might pick up in Congress, there is another battle that will be fought across the nation - the battle for the state legislatures and state houses. Because this is a year ending in a zero, a year of the census which will lead to redistricting across the country. While I would personally prefer that more states had a commission plan for drawing district lines, most states leave it up to politicians who then gerrymander safe seats for their party. And Rove knows this quite well as he rehearses what a difference redistricting made after the 1990 and 2000 censuses. And after this year's census, we're going to see a shift of more seats from blue to red states. And both parties are gearing up for those battles. So it's a double misfortune for the Democratic Party that President Obama and the Capitol Hill Democrats have tarnished their brand right on the eve of this important election. And the Democrats had the misfortune to take power on the even of this economic downturn and to have done little to ameliorate the situation despite all their claims that their stimulus created or saved some jobs. People just aren't feeling it and the Democrats have all the power in Washington so they're getting the blame. It will come back to bite them this Fall and, if as Karl Rove argues, the Republicans can pick up seats in state legislatures across the country, they will do just what politicians have been doing since the founding of our country - gerrymander districts that will benefit their party. And the movement away from traditionally Democratic states to more Republican states will help them even more.