Texas’ gerrymanders are the political equivalent of putting houses on stilts to keep them safe from flooding. Democratic hopes for a “blue wave” that would lift some of their candidates into statewide office and reduce their disadvantages in the congressional delegation and the statehouse aren’t completely out of line. Presidents’ political parties often have trouble in midterm elections. It’s just that Republicans in Texas drew maps in 2011 — since modified by the federal courts but still being litigated — that protect the party’s officeholders from most changes in public sentiment.
Thanks to those very effective Republican redistricting maps, Texas Democrats would have to improve their statewide election results by more than 10 percentage points to gain more than one seat in the 36-member U.S. House delegation, according to a report from the non-profit Brennan Center for Justice.
The political maps in Texas and elsewhere across the country could ultimately protect the Republican majority in the U.S. House even if it turns out to be an otherwise mediocre midterm election for the president’s political party.