Redistricting The Real Prize In Tuesday's Elections

01/01/2011 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Nick Baumann Mother Jones

Forget the Senate and House. That's short-term thinking. The real prize in Tuesday's midterm elections is the power to draw congressional seats and determine the country's balance of power for the next decade.

If either party can achieve what politicos call the "trifecta"--control of the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature--in a given state, it will be able to draw congressional districts within that state unencumbered by any need to compromise with the other party. That's the kind of power that creates electoral maps like the one former GOP Majority Leader Tom Delay helped bring to Texas in 2003--a map that pushed four of the state's Democrats out of their seats.

Five states bordering the Great Lakes--Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin--are the central battleground in the fight to control redistricting. Sure, the Republicans might take back the House of Representatives on election night. But winning gubernatorial and state legislative races in these five states could allow the GOP to dominate the House for much longer than the next few years.

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