BY STEVEN ROSENFELD
The presidential and U.S. Senate races have dominated the 2020 election season. But down the ballot, races for state legislature and governor will determine the political complexion in many purple states for the next decade—much longer than the next president will serve.
The reason these races have such a long-lasting impact is that the winners of state legislative elections this fall will redraw the boundaries for their legislative districts and for U.S. House seats. A decade ago, the Republican Party, who saw their presidential candidate lose in 2008 by nearly 10 million votes, targeted 107 races in 16 states with the goal of redrawing maps affecting 190 U.S. House seats. The common term for aggressively segregating voters into districts is gerrymandering.
The GOP effort, called RedMap, was unchecked at that time by Democrats, even as it focused on states won by President Obama. RedMap succeeded and led to GOP supermajorities in state capitols and U.S. House delegations. These majorities have been behind the most extreme GOP actions of the past decade at the state level and in Congress; whether resisting or rolling back safety nets, civil rights, reproductive choice, gun controls, environmental regulation and labor laws.