So a new Think Progress Analaysis shows just how bad inefficient distribution of votes plus gerrymandering is for us; Democrats would need to win the House vote by over 7% to win a majority assuming uniform swing. That's about what we won by in the 2006 landslide, just to get a bare majority. Suffice to say, that seems unlikely.
This has led a lot of progressives to say that we won't get back the House until 2022. I think this, if anything, risks being too optimistic. After all, in 2022 we will still be dealing with a House drawn by state legislatures who have themselves been entrenched by gerrymandering.
If there is no Democratic legislative landslide in the next ten years- and we live in hope, of course - then even come 2022, a majority of states including key states like Ohio and Florida will still have their Congressional maps drawn by the gerrymandered and safe Republican legislatures put in place in 2010. The way to beat that is by winning the veto players who can't be gerrymandered: The governors.
This isn't to discount the importance of other election. We should fight for every single House seat we can. We should, of course, ensure we keep the Senate and the White House or else winning the House back becomes pointless. But to get the trifecta, it is essential that we get Democratic governors who can veto Republican state legislatures and their gerrymandered, broken maps. We won't always win those fights, but we'll win some. We won't get Dem-friendly maps, but we can get less Dem UNFRIENDLY ones which put us in a much better position for next time.
Our top electoral priority needs to be winning back the governors' races in Ohio, in Florida, in Michigan, in Wisconsin. Not just to knock out bad governors, not just to stop extremist GOP state policies, not just to build up future bench strength, but because in the long run, winning back governors may be the only way we can win back the state legislatures, and the only way we can even the field when it comes to the House.
Luckily, we have our first shot at that this year - which is why we should do everything in our power to help Terry McAuliffe win the Virginia Governor's race. A lot of people don't like him, which I completely understand; he wouldn't be my first choice. But this is a fight we need to suit up for, along with New Jersey if Christie comes down to Earth and we get a good candidate in the field.
Pissed off over the Fiscal Cliff deal and the debt ceiling? Then get rid of the terrible, shoddy, do-nothing failure of a House of Representatives which is forcing these manufactured crises on a weak economy - and the first step to that, paradoxically, runs through the Statehouses.