5. State Legislatures Turn to the Right
One of the most fascinating – and most important – developments in the 2010 election took place at the state level. In addition to picking up nine governorships, the GOP picked up a stunning 680 seats in state legislatures last week. To put that figure in perspective, in 1994, Republicans picked up only 472 seats, and in the post-Watergate elections of 1974, Democrats only picked up 628 seats. In 26 states, Republicans control all state houses of legislature. In my home state of Georgia, the GOP won all 15 statewide-elected races. That’s a big deal for a state that just eight years ago elected its first Republican governor.
How is the change in political affiliation at the state level affect national politics? It all boils down to redistricting:
Republicans now hold the redistricting “trifecta” — both chambers of the state legislature and the governorship — in 15 states. They also control the Nebraska governorship and the unicameral legislature, taking the number up to 16. And in North Carolina — probably the state most gerrymandered to benefit Democrats — Republicans hold both chambers of the state legislature and the Democratic governor does not have veto power over redistricting proposals.
The GOP holds the redistricting trifecta in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Ohio – plus, as noted earlier, Nebraska and North Carolina.
Of those, South Carolina, Utah, Georgia and Texas are projected to gain seats after the census…
Ohio and Michigan are also important because they are projected to lose at least one seat, making the redistricting lines all the more important.
And, of course, if legislatures change the districts to benefit conservatives, or even if they draw the districts fairly with no gerrymandering, it can lead to greater conservative gains in 2012, and even to an easier electoral road to defeating Obama’s radical progressive agenda. And that may be the greatest benefit of all from this election.
Moderate Republicans are only angry and dismayed because they are more obsessed with maintaining control and popularity than with (conservative) principles. But this election has shown that the electorate is willing to vote on principle to a greater extent than before. That’s what’s truly historic about the 2010 elections, and that’s something all conservatives should be happy about.
Chris Queen is a freelance writer and communications consultant based in Covington, GA. Check out his non-political thoughts on his blog, Random Thoughts From The Revolution, and follow him on Twitter.