Republicans misread polls in the run-up to Election Day, depended on glitchy get-out-the-vote technology and failed to get their presidential candidate elected despite the worst unemployment rates since the Great Depression. They sure know how to draw congressional districts, though. Building upon their 2010 midterm election wins, the GOP had a bulwark Nov. 6 that helped them hold onto the U.S. House even as President Barack Obama cruised to re-election and his party added members to the Senate. In Pennsylvania, U.S. Sen Bob Casey and three fellow Democrats for statewide row offices joined the president in wins.
But since the GOP not only flipped the House in 2010 but totally controlled 21 state governments, including Pennsylvania’s, it allowed the party to master post-census congressional redistricting around the country. On Nov. 6, Democrats won the popular vote by 500,000 votes nationally but took just 201 of the 435 U.S. House seats. In Pennsylvania, Republicans took hold of 13 of 18 congressional seats while being outpaced by 75,000 total votes. Mr. Obama won 53 percent of the state’s vote, but Democratic candidates won 28 percent of the seats.
“Pennsylvania is arguably the most distorted map in the country in terms of comparing the vote share and the seats won,” said Nicholas Goedert, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis who focuses on redistricting issues.
The results led Democrats such as state Sen. Daylin Leach of Montgomery County to complain that the state’s districts were excessively manipulated by the GOP and the ability to gerrymander should be replaced next decade with nonpartisan methods of redrawing district lines.
“Voters should be electing their representatives. Instead, politicians are handpicking their voters. That’s not democracy,” he said recently.
The reality is more complex.