Things might seem pretty dark for Democrats this Thanksgiving, but there are some silver linings.
First, a little-mentioned court decision just happened that could have profound and far-reaching consequences. The reason it has not been mentioned much is that it is extremely wonky, but that doesn’t diminish its importance. Indeed, this decision has the potential to remake the electoral map, and largely in favor of the Democrats.
The court decision struck down redistricting in Wisconsin as being too favorable to Republicans (and the decision was written by a Reagan appointee!). This alone is big news, because it is the first time gerrymandering has been declared illegal on purely political grounds (rather than racial).
But the really important part is that the decision creates an easy-to-calculate measure that can potentially be used to judge whether illegal gerrymandering has occurred. This measure is called the “efficiency gap” (explanation at link, and there is a good short explanation here).
In 2004, the Supreme Court noted that partisan gerrymandering should be illegal, but bemoaned that there was no good measure by which to judge whether it had occurred. This new district court ruling provides that measure. The case will almost certainly end up in the Supreme Court and it has a good chance of passing. If that happens, it can prevent and even overturn quite a bit of gerrymandering.
This could be a big deal for Democrats. As Electoral Vote points out, not only did Democrats get more votes in the presidential election, they also got more votes in the Congressional elections. Anything that makes voting more fair, and especially the reduction of gerrymandering, could help swing quite a few races. It is important to remember that even though that Republicans are about to control all of the government, they are still a minority party, and Democrats are the majority party.