After the 2010 Census, it looks like my state will be holding its 8 Congressional seats. Texas, however, has won big:
The Census apportions congressional districts every ten years, while state legislatures are generally in charge of redrawing the districts based on those apportionments. The population of the United States is now 308,745,538, and each congressional district will average 710,767 persons.
Texas, where Republicans have a supermajority in the House and Senate and hold the governors mansion, gained four new House seats with the population growing by 20.6 percent in ten years. However, the growth broken down by race will be released in February the Voting Rights Act could mean that some of those seats have to be drawn with a majority of Hispanics that have accounted for much of the recent growth.
Florida gained two seats, where Republicans also have a supermajority in both legislative chambers and hold the governors mansion. Amendment 6, limiting the power of the legislature to redraw congressional districts, passed in the November elections, but it is being challenged in court by Reps. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).
My personal party opinions aside, I think this is one of the biggest factors undermining our Republic. The art of Gerrymandering will be in full-swing this year in the losing and winning states alike. Also, due to the WAH!-the-recession-make-us-hate-Congress sentiment of the 2010 midterms, there are a lot of single-party state governing bodies that have the district lines in their hands.
Gerrymandering needs to be rightly illegal. Completely illegal. There needs to be a basic formula of X people per Representative. Of course, I also take issue with even on average, each Representative covers over half a million people, some even get up to 1m. But then because the US is one of the largest countries in the world, lowering that ratio would balloon the House rapidly (500,000 per Congressman would mean 616 Members, a number I could live with as tops.)
My other silly idea is that metro areas should be based on proportional representation, because really the difference between us in the northwest metro and those in the west metro is nil. We’re not dealing with different crops, we just commute into the same cities from different directions. It’s a funny trick, but would be interesting to see a group of Twin Cities Congressmen, a group of CA Bay Area Congressmen, etc. That way we couldn’t be Gerrymandered into enough rural/conservative area that keeps the batshit crazy in office.
This may even do the silly thing of getting more minorities and women in Congress rather than Gerrymandering districts to ensure minorities maintain their minority status.
But that would be silly, wouldn’t it?