Today, the new 2020 census results came out, and it means a lot for a wide range of things – not the least of it being electoral and congressional representation. The results show that people from the Midwest and Northeast are moving to the south. The states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, all in the Northeast or in the Midwest are each losing one house seat, because of their decline in population. Now, here you might be asking to yourself, “where are these seats going?” And the answer lies to the South. While Florida and North Carolina gained one seat, Texas gained two seats. Of course, not all of the South’s new residents came from the Midwest and Northeast. For example California lost one congressional seat, and most of the people who moved likely went to areas like Texas. The same can be said for people moving out of the Midwest and Northeast. We know not all of them are going to the south because the states of Oregon, Colorado, and Montana are each gaining one house seat.
Now at this point, the question will be asked – “will this be better for Republicans or Democrats?” In the house at least, this benefits the Republicans. For example, in states like Texas, North Carolina and Florida, where Republicans control the state legislatures, they might be able to gerrymander their way into winning the house. Now if you don’t know what Gerrymandering is, let me explain. Say in a state one party gets 12 million votes and the other gets 9 million. You might think the party which gets 12 million votes would get the most seats in the house. But wait – the party with 9 million votes controls the state legislature. And in some states, the party that controls the state legislature gets to draw the states house map. That party can draw the map so that they lump the other party’s major population centers together in one district, giving their own party the advantage. Anyway, back to the main topic. Using Gerrymandering techniques, the Republicans may be able to win back the house (not to say they couldn’t win it back by playing their cards right, but this certainly makes their life easier.)
But the census doesn’t just have an effect on the house – it also has an effect on the electoral college. See, every ten years, based on the new census, the electoral college is changed. States which decline in population decline in electoral votes, and states which increase in population increase in electoral votes. This is because, as I said, the number of house districts in a state is based on population, and you figure out how many electoral votes a state has by adding the number of house seats their are in the state to the two senators who also represent the state. If you apply the states from 2020 to the new 2024 electoral votes, you see that the Democrats will win 235-303 electoral college votes. This a decrease from the Democrats 2020 margin, which was 232-306. In hindsight, this might seem bad for the Democrats but you have to think long term. For example, the states of Texas and North Carolina, which went for the Republicans and are gaining electoral votes, might seem bad for the democrats, but the states are actually trending toward the left. Texas voted 5.6 points Republican in 2020, and North Carolina voted 1.3 points Republican in 2020. These are huge decrease’s for the Republicans since 2004 when, Bush won Texas by more than 20 points and North Carolina by 12 points. Therefore, the key point here is that while in the near future these census results might look detrimental for the Democrats, 20 years down the road, it could help them immensely.