Dems would need to win nationwide by 11 points to retake House: analysis

Greg Nash

A new report warns that district boundaries shaped to favor Republicans could make it tough for Democrats to retake the House in the November midterms.

While the political environment is expected to boost Democratic candidates, the party would need to beat Republicans by a margin of 11 points nationally, according to a report released Monday by the Brennan Center for Justice.

“Even a strong blue wave would crash against a wall of gerrymandered maps,” the report reads.

{mosads}The 2010 Republican wave boosted the GOP’s control of statehouses across the country, enabling them to reshape district boundaries to make it easier for Republican candidates to win the seats.

The report analyzed recent elections to measure “responsiveness,” or how the votes a political party receives correlates to how many seats it picks up.

The analysis identified Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas as “unresponsive” states where a party can “increase its vote share by 10 or even 20 percent without gaining a single seat.”

“What looks to be one of the most important recent midterm elections may turn out, in fact, to show how effectively extreme gerrymandering distorts American democracy and blunts the public’s voice,” the report reads.

The 11-point threshold hasn’t been that high since 1982, when Democrats won the House by 12 points during Ronald Reagan’s presidential election, according to a USA Today report.

But other experts have disputed the idea that Democrats will need such a resounding victory nationwide to win back the 24 seats they need to take back the House.

Dave Wasserman, an analyst at the Cook Political Report, said he doubted Democrats would fail to take back the House if they won the nationwide popular vote by 10 percent. Wasserman tweeted on Monday that the Brennan Center’s report was incorrect. 
“If Dems win the House popular vote by 10% and fail to take back the House, I’ll buy lunch for you & the entire @BrennanCenter.” 

The report did not factor in incumbents, third-party candidates, shifting demographics, voter turnout, retirements and scandalous behavior.

There are eight GOP seats that are already seen as likely or leaning Democrat, according to Cook Political Report.

Pennsylvania’s 14th District is currently held by a Democrat, but will likely be Republican following the state’s redistricting.

Tags 2018 midterms Brennan Center for Justice Democratic majority Gerrymandering House Ronald Reagan

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