In the 2012 election, Democratic congressional candidates received 1.4 million more votes than Republican candidates – and the GOP won control of the House of Representatives by a 33-seat margin.
That math is partially the product of the tea party wave election of 2010, when conservatives turned out in large numbers and put Republicans in control of state legislatures and governor’s houses across the country. Since 2010 was a Census year, the GOP was able to use its new found state-level power to redraw congressional districts to maximize its own electoral success.
Nearly six years later, the Democratic Governors Association has unveiled a plan to beat the GOP at it’s own game – “Unrig the Map” establishes a special fund dedicated to winning gubernatorial races in states where governors will have control over congressional redistricting in 2020.
The DGA hopes the fund will deliver “tens of millions” of dollars to candidates in 18 of the 35 states where governors have a hand in redrawing congressional maps.
Even if redistricting were entirely non-partisan, Democrats would still be at a natural disadvantage in congressional races because liberal voters tend to cluster in big cities. By running up huge margins of victory in urban districts, Democrats effectively “waste” votes that would be more valuable if spread across suburban and rural areas. In comparison, Republcian voters are more evenly distributed across districts.
The combination of this natural imbalance with Republican gerrymandering has left Democrats all but resigned to four more years of a Republican House Majority, regardless of who wins the White House in 2016.
But one of the fund’s overseers, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has framed it as a way of providing a future President Clinton with a Democratic Congress by her second term.
“We’re going to tie this to the presidential campaign because the next president will need more Democratic members of Congress to work with her to get things done,” McAuliffe told the The New York Times.