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tv   Washington Journal David Wasserman  CSPAN  November 10, 2021 11:39am-12:01pm EST

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more than 1000 community centers so students can get the tools they need to be ready for anything. >> comcast supports c-span as a public service along with these other providers giving you a seat to democracy. is david wasserman. he's the senior editor focusing on the u.s. house for the cook political report. thank you for being with us. i just want to begin with the latest of how the odds are looking for the parties heading into 2022 from your analysis. there are 68 vulnerable seats for democrats in the house. and 30 vulnerable seats for republicans. and four tossup races. how is it looking, david wasserman? what's the lay of the land? guest: republicans are the clear favorites for house control in 2022. there are going to be fewer competitive races in that by the time redistricting is done.
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redistricting is the single biggest factor that will predetermine a lot of house race outcomes because the parties who control the line drawing process in most states have an incentive to maximize the number of safe seats for their own side and minimize the number for the other side. but if you look at the results that we saw in new jersey and virginia, it was a big night for republicans, obviously, but what should really scare democrats is two things, first of all the consistency of the pro-republican trends that we saw between 2020 and 2021 in virginia where glen young kin, the republican won by 2.5 points. that's a 12 1/2 point swing from biden's 10 point victory in virginia in 2020. new jersey it was a biden plus 16 state. looks like democratic governor phil murphy will hang on by three points. we also saw about a 12-point swing in republicans favor in state legislative races on average in both states. if you were to super imposed
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that on the house of representatives, then republicans would gain 51 seats next year. not even counting redistricting. is it going to be that dire for democrats who only have an eight seat majority at the current time? they can only afford to lose four seats? it may not be. back in september when gavin newsome in california survive the recall he did so by 24 points. that was a five-point swing when biden won california by 29. let's say there is only a five-point swing, democrats would only lose 19 seats. either way between retirements, redistricting, and biden's low approval rating, republicans have a lot of roots to pick up more than the five seats they need for the majority. host: the headline in "politico," republican wave bills to take back the house. aggressive redistricting is one of the reasons. is redistricting favoring republicans? guest: it is. and i would have told you a few months ago that redistricting
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was the single biggest threat to democrats' majority. today it's clearly biden's low approval numbers. but republicans still have the upper hand in redrawing these maps. they control 20 states that add up to 187 districts compared to democrats who are final authority in just eight states totaling 75 districts. why do republicans have such a lopsided advantage? two factors. number one, disproportionately it's been blue states that have adopted independent or bipartisan commissions to redraw lines. so california, for example, biggest state in the country, 52 seats, it has a citizens redistricting commission that is forbidden from taking into account partisanship in the way it draws districts. new jersey, washington state, colorado, virginia these are blue states that have also adopted redistricting commissions. democrats are kind of approaching this cycle with one hand tied behind their back. whereas republicans get to redraw the lines in texas and
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florida. the second and third biggest states in the country. as well as georgia and north carolina. i expect that republicans could score a small net gain from redistricting alone, probably between 0 and 8 seats. the bigger impact from it will be that a lot of very marginal republican districts will get a lot safer. in texas where republicans currently hold 23 of 36 districts, and nine of those 23 they hold gave joe biden more than 40% -- 47% of the vote in 2020. republicans have systematically made those seats safer in their new map. guest: you noted president biden's low approval rating. host: yesterday we talked with steve israel, former chairman of the democratic campaign arm. he said he believes democrats could turn this around in, if president biden approval rating improves because the economy continues on a recovery, and also that the covid-19 pandemic
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is mostly behind us. guest: it's possible that biden's approval rating rebounds before next year, 12 months is a long time. i do think it would need to be above 50% to give democrats any hope of retaining their majority in the house and in the senate. that said, history is not on democrats' side here. the average midterm loss for the party in the white house in the post-world war ii era has been 26 house seats and two senate seats. republicans only need five and one to retake the majority. it is a really uphill climb for democrats. another factor here is the retirements that we are seeing. so far there are 13 democrats who have announced they are not seeking re-election compared to 10 republicans. which may not sound like a large disparity, except it's the kinds of seats where we are seeing democrats leave. out of those 13 seats, there are eight democratic seats that are potentially vulnerable either as currently drawn or in the redistricting process, which is a factor in why you are seeing
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members like connor lamb in pennsylvania or tim ryan in ohio decide to run for statewide office instead. or perhaps why john yarmuth in kentucky or ron kind in wisconsin are retiring. and on the republican side of the 10 retireees, there are only two districts that are potentially vulnerable in redistricting in new york. when you add all of that together, kevin mccarthy looks like a formidable favorite to be speaker in 2023. host: what about the amount of purple districts in this country versus truly red and blue and how that has changed over the years. guest: yeah, in 1997 when the cook political report first started calculating what we call our partisan voter index, which is an index of how all 435 districts vote relative to the nation as a whole, we found that there were 164 districts out of
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435 that were kind of within the partisan 40-yard line that were within five points either way. and those were the places where we saw a lot of competitive races. in the past 24 years we have seen that number key klein -- decline 53% to 78 districts out of 435. i expect it could decline again by a third as a result of this round of redistricting. increasingly what we are seeing is redistricting provides the majority party in each state the ability to politically bludgeon the minority. so it's like illinois and maryland and new york we are likely to see democrats draw maps that purge even more republicans from those states. and in texas and florida and georgia and north carolina, we are likely to see republicans draw maps that puts democrats even further into the minority. yesterday republicans in georgia just passed a map that would basically guarantee them a majority in the state senate.
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that kind of transcends what we are seeing in georgia where the state has become quite purple. democrats have actually won some statewide races. republicans would still hold i believe a 33-23 seat majority. and very few of their seats, i think hardly any of those seats would be competitive. as voters have increasingly self-sorted into heavily red and heavily blue neighborhoods and as we see a decline in the number of split ticket voters, voters who cross over from their presidential choice to a down ballot choice, that has only made the ability for party strategists to draw more durable maps even greater. and so, yeah, this is really become an arms race. and republicans are always going to have the slight upper hand in that arms race. host: i want to invite our viewers to join in this conversation. your questions or comments about campaign 2022, the midterms of
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campaign 2024 as well. democrats, 202-748-8000. republicans, 202-748-8001. and independents, 202-748-8002. text us as well. city and state. read some of the texts, 202-748-8003. i would like you to call in and tell us what is motivating you to vote in this midterm election and how you plan to vote right now. david wasserman is our guest. we are drilling down into the midterm elections. you mentioned the redistricting efforts, specifically in the state of georgia. are there people like stacey abrams in georgia who are trying to reverse what they are seeing at that level? is it happening in other states? guest: yeah. it's becoming increasingly clear to democrats that republicans' ability to draw the lines is self-perpetuating. in most states it's the state
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legislature who redraws the maps. and the state legislatures in most states can redraw their own maps to entrench their power. this is a root for minority party in some cases to thwart the will of the majority and in a lot of cases it's simply the majority's way of seizing even more power. there has been a trend in the number of states towards reform. but most reforms have been successful, most ballot initiatives and constitutional amendments have been successful in bluer states. there are new commissions this time in virginia and michigan and colorado. but not all commissions are created equal. there are 10 states that use them right now. and some are quite successful. california and colorado have had success with very citizen driven processes that in california it's blind to incumbents and party. in colorado there is a stipulation that districts be
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drawn with competitiveness in mind. and because there is either a contingent of independents or un affiliated members of these commissions, there tends to be some form of compromise. other commissions have failed. in virginia, a state that passed the commission in 2020, there are eight democrats and eight republicans on the redistricting commission. there is no tiebreaking members. there is no unaffiliate the or independent members. it ended in partisan deadlock which means the state supreme court is going to be taking over redistricting. some reforms have worked better than others. and this is a case where you're going to see a lot of state supreme courts and state courts be more important than ever. since neither congress nor the u.s. supreme court has taken action to put guardrails up against gerrymandering, state courts are increasingly the last backstop against parties'
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ability to draw the map any way they want and seize power. host: carol in new york, democratic caller. good morning to you. go ahead. caller: good morning. not only is my name carroll, the she is a male. i'm calling from new york state, new york 22. and i'd like you to ask you about redistricting in new york generally. and then more specifically with about 22 i realize we don't have a district yet, at least one with boundaries, and i guess i'd like you to make some kind of comment about claudia tenney and her ability to gain re-election. guest: which town are you in?
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caller: nor witch. in the central part of the district. guest: so obviously very close race there in 2022 where you had republican claudia tenney unseat the democrat, anthony brindisi, by about 100 votes. it was really tight. new york is probably the single biggest redistricting weapon for either party in the country. and it's the state that democrats are counting on to offset their losses from republican gerrymanders in other big states. keep in mind that new york right now has 19 democrats and eight republicans. but two of those democrats are pretty important figures. hakim jeffries who is in the democratic leadership in the house. he's assumed to be democrat speaker in waiting when nancy pelosi calls it quits. and then sean patrick maloney, the chair of the d-ccc democrats' campaign arm. they'll apply heavy pressure on
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their legislative counterparts in albany to pass an aggressive gerrymander. even though new york has a voter approved commission, that mission is deadlocking along party lines much as we have seen in virginia. and so it's unlikely to agree on a new map. and at that point the legislature would take over and democrats could conceivably pass a gerrymander that packs republicans into three of the 26 districts in the state. by drawing what we call vote cincts. one heavily in western new york. one in the north country which would be for elise stefanik. and one on long island, democrats could make all other 23 seats biden plus 10 or more. yet democrats suffered a small setback last tuesday when there was a constitutional amendment to reform the reform on the ballot that voters rejected. that amendment would have made it easier for democrats to gerrymander by moving up the commission's deadline to act, which would give the legislature
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more time to draw its own map. and it would have lowered the thereby hold for the legislature to -- throash hold for the legislature to pass maps by 2/3 to just 50% plus one a bear majority. democrats do have super majorities in albany. this is the first time they held the majority during a redistricting psych until over a century in albany. yet they are going to have -- have to have near party unity in order to pass a gerrymandered map. that can be challenging given that some incumbents don't like it. don't like giving up favorable turf to help their team. they want to keep as many safe pre60's as possible. if democrats were to try that map that would create a newly safe democratic district in binghamton in the area that the caller is from, they would probably have to give a lot of
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republican precincts to progressives like alexandria ocasio-cortez or jamal bowman or mondaire jones. are they going to be ok with that? or will they pressure their fellow progressives in albany to vote against such a gerrymander. there are a lot of moving parts here. host: joyce next in portland, oregon. independent caller. good morning. caller: good morning. hello, can you hear me? host: we can. go ahead. caller: yeah. i'm not going to vote ever again because my personal color, i know they have not passed the voting act right act yet. and i just about tired of america anyway. i was born in this place. and when i went to school, the only thing they taught us about was abraham lincoln, george washington carver and frederick douglass. now they own this -- on this big kick about c.t.r. earn all that.
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i don't care about the redistricting. it's going to leave black people out anyway. goodbye. host: two points there. not going to vote because she doesn't see any action on voting rights. and you have heard the speaker of the house talk about getting that passed in the senate. then two, the redistricting will leave out black voters. guest: well, a couple points here. this is complicated. there are some new voting rights act considerations for this round of redistricting. first of all this is the first cycle since the supreme court struck down the formula that required the justice department to preclear states with histories of discrimination. and so a lot of southern states that used to have to get the justice department to sign off on new maps no longer have to seek preclearance or approval from the federal government. what that means is that democrats don't really have a way to block maps in texas or
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the deep south from taking effect even if they view them as discriminatory. they have to take the long route. which means filing a federal lawsuit, a voting rights act claim that could take years for districts to be overturned. that is a pretty significant difference versus the past. however, there are an increasing number of cases where we are seeing republican drawn maps overturned by courts. in the past five years, we saw in virginia and north carolina federal courts did strike down republican-drawn maps as racial gerrymanders. the supreme court ruling still left intact that avenue. had it not been for democratic lawsuits that overturned republican maps in those states, plus florida and pennsylvania, then democrats probably wouldn't be holding the house majority by five seats. these legal questions are going to be very, very big in the months ahead. as we approach these deadlines
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and it's possible a couple of plans could get struck down. the other factor is that in the south in particular we are noticing in southern metro areas, there is a growing openness on the part of voters to vote for candidates of color. and now a lot of african-american members of congress are winning districts that have less than 50% african-american populations. out of the 53 current members of the congressional black caucus, only 19 represent districts where there is an absolute black majority. what that's led to is a conversation about what is the fair threshold to allow communities of color to elect candidates of choice? and that varies from district to district. in a rural southern district it might take an absolute black majority to elect a black member. but in a more metropolitan district, charlotte, north carolina, a 32-35% black district can comfortably elect a
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black candidate of choice. this is a very difficult matter for courts to resolve. what is the fair threshold to draw these districts? and you are going to find disagreement on both sides of the aisle. host: i want to ask about what happened in new hampshire. your colleague, jessica taylor, on political report website, sununu's decision not to run for new hampshire senate gives democrats a brief reprieve. guest: this is a welcome development for democrats, the most popular figure in new hampshire politics is not going to be running against democrat maggie hassan. but it's not in and of itself going to change the overall picture in the senate, which is that republicans still have a lot of opportunities. in this political environment, given what we saw in new jersey and virginia, republicans would be poised to reclaim the majority. they have got a lot of more purple states to compete in
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rather than virginia and new jersey, which are quite blue. arizona, georgia, nevada. even new hampshire could still be on the table. host: bob in logan, utah, democratic caller. caller: good morning, david. i'd like to say that i listen to morning joe and liz cheney was on. she hit the nail on the head. she said that she's very proud to be a republican. but she's more proud to be american. i wore a uniform. and i never felt more patriotic. and when the towers come down, listen to this malarkey on both sides, we are split up and divided this country's got to come back together. we had a horrible man in there. andve

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