The Trial Lawyer Winter 2018 - Page 62

The biggest redistricting-related victories come from Democrats who were elected governor in formerly red states that play outsized roles in presidential and House elections. Those blue gubernatorial victories were in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. (In contrast, Republicans won governorships in this decade’s GOP-gerrymandered states of Ohio and Florida— and it remains to be seen what happens in Georgia.) Democratic governors can wield veto pens if Republican-controlled legislatures sort voters by party to intentionally create unfair political maps. Four states passed redistricting reforms. Independent commissions for congressional and legislative redistricting won in Colorado (Amendment Y and Amendment Z) and Michigan (Proposal 2), becoming the first east of the Rockies. Also, in Missouri, a state where the GOP has consolidated gains in recent years, Amendment 1 requires the use of a state demographer and fairness formulas when drawing maps. And in Utah, Proposition 4 also establishes an independent redistricting commission. There were other signs that Democrats were making inroads in previously red states. In Kansas, the anti-immigrant and vote- suppressing Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, was defeated for governor by Laura Kelly, and Kansans also elected Democrat Sharice Davids, a Native American and gay woman, to the House. Davids was one of many women elected, from governors to House members. Stepping back from individual contests, historians and political scientists will see 2018’s midterms as a blue wave election that showed a steady realignment in the nation’s political landscape. Yes, the Senate will be filled by more Trump acolytes, making it more partisan and pushing the federal judiciary to the right for decades to come, as the GOP majority will continue to stack the federal courts with arch conservatives. However, from a popular vote perspective, that body is not representative of the national electorate. But in the states, significant political shifts are underway. The GOP’s lock on the entire Midwest has been broken. Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania—the final three states that elected Trump—are returned to blue governors. In contrast, presidential bellwethers Ohio and Missouri are becoming more conservative. However, it appears the biggest political shifts are underway in the Sun Belt border states. Florida is on the verge of becoming permanently purple, if not blue. Georgia’s voting demographics are getting closer to Florida’s. And even in Texas—and Arizona and Florida—blue voters are at tipping points with popular majorities in sight. No party wins everything in an election. But the biggest shifts, based on popular votes, gubernatorial takeovers, electoral reforms with redistricting and felon re-enfranchisement, all affirm 2018’s midterm elections were indeed a blue wave year. Call us about your case. DTI 3T TBI AFFORDABLE • 504.883.3544 60 cg x ad-1.indd The Trial 1 Lawyer 7/19/2018 3:54:05 PM