Speed Reads

you get a district, you get a district

Will swing districts soon become a thing of the past?

This year's redistricting cycle has thus far been one for the ages, drawing "more interest and scrutiny than ever because the power of the process has become so clear," reports Politico: When it's politicians drawing the maps, they're shoring up most or all of a state's congressional districts as "solid red or solid blue for years to come," leaving little room for unpredictability.

Over the last 10 years, nearly 90 percent of congressional races held in states where legislators controlled redistricting "resulted in easy victories ... for one party or the other," writes Politico. In locales where courts or commissions were in charge of maps, the "rate of competitive races was almost twice as high."

As shown by the last decade, redistricting has a powerful effect on shaping the House of Representatives, writes Politico. Notably, in the last three elections, any effectively-flipped swing seats "came from commission- and court-drawn districts, while the congressional delegations from legislature-drawn states changed relatively little."

And when it comes to the general election in 2022, Politico writes, consider it essentially "meaningless" — as we speak, party officials are effectively determining winners, "surgically ensuring preordained victories in the majority of the nation's congressional districts."

So what does this mean for the future? Expect the "battleground map" to change with every election, Politico estimates, allotting for changes in national environment, population, and party evolution. But also expect the "bulk of swing House seats to show up in states where legislatures aren't driving the redrawing process."