The GOP's worst nightmare, coming true.
U.S. racial minorities accounted for roughly 85% of the nation's population growth over the last decade — one of the largest shares ever — with Hispanics accounting for much of the gain in many of the states picking up new House seats.
Preliminary census estimates also suggest the number of multiracial Americans jumped roughly 20% since 2000, to over 5 million [...]
"There are going to be a lot of additional Hispanic officials elected when redistricting is done," said E. Mark Braden, a former chief counsel to the Republican National Committee who now advises state governments on redistricting. "But folks in power don't give up control that easily — there will be tension between the ins and outs."
The data is stark.
Among states losing House seats, Louisiana and New Jersey each would have posted a net population loss, and Michigan would have sustained bigger declines, if it hadn't been for Hispanic growth. Latinos also made up roughly 60% or more of the growth in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts— which each lose a seat — raising questions as to whether remaining districts in those states will need to accommodate emerging Hispanic voting blocs.
Republicans have celebrated their huge edge in redistricting commissions after their big gains last year. Problem for them, however, is that with that growth coming from Latinos, it doesn't give them much flexibility in locking in gains for their party.
"The growth of the Hispanic community is one of the stories that will be written from the 2010 census," Census director Robert Groves said Wednesday, previewing major demographic trends, including the movement of many minorities from city to suburb. "We should see a big difference from 2000 to 2010."
Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which successfully challenged the redrawing of a majority Hispanic Texas district that weakened the Latino vote after the 2000 census, said his group was expecting to see "a minimum of nine additional Latino-majority House seats" based on 2010 results, if states comply with federal law.
Let's take Texas, for example, which is gaining four seats this year. Given that the GOP dominates the entire redistricting commission, that should be four more Republicans for a delegation that is already 23 Republican, nine Democrat, right? It's not that simple.
First, Republicans are already maxed out in the state, thanks to the Tom DeLay-orchestrated, mid-decade redistricting in 2004 and three gains in 2010 that netted them a 23-9 advantage in the House delegation. Second, torrid growth in the state’s Hispanic population probably necessitates at least one, if not two, of these new seats will have to be Hispanic-majority districts, meaning Democrats could actually net seats from this round of redistricting. The Census Bureau estimates that in 2009, Hispanic and Latino residents made up 37 percent of the state’s population. They represent the majority of the population in seven (22 percent) of the state’s congressional districts.
And that's just short-term redistricting. These population trends aren't slowing, and while GOP gains last year may have staved off the effects at the congressional level, they can't stem the tide for another ten years at the state or presidential levels.
This nation is changing, it's changing dramatically, and it's changing fast. One party embraces that change, the other retrenches in a fit of paranoia and xenophobia.