The GOP’s answer to losing voters in the Kansas City suburbs might just be more gerrymandering

The GOP’s answer to losing voters in the Kansas City suburbs might just be more gerrymandering

The next stop in our 50-state tour to calculate the results of the 2020 presidential election by congressional district is Kansas, which saw Donald Trump turn in the weakest performance by a Republican since 1992. While his 56% share of the vote was the same as it was four years ago, the toplines mask what is by now a familiar story: Suburbs that had once reliably voted for the GOP continued to march to the left, while a weaker showing by third-party candidates helped boost Joe Biden’s take. You can find a larger version of our map here.

The ongoing transformation in suburbia was best demonstrated in the 3rd Congressional District, located in the Kansas City area, which just eight years ago supported Mitt Romney by a 54-44 margin. Hillary Clinton then flipped the district in 2016, winning by a narrow 47-46 spread, but Joe Biden blew it open in November, romping to a 54-44 win—the same margin as Romney, and a 20-point cascade in under a decade.

Against this backdrop, Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids was able to wrest this seat from Republicans in the 2018 blue wave, and they did little to try to win it back last year. The deep-pocketed outside groups that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to return the House to GOP hands completely ignored Davids’ reelection bid, in which she defeated Republican Amanda Adkins 54-44, matching Biden’s performance.

Elsewhere in the state, which by and large is much more rural, Trump won comfortably. While Democrats had hoped to compete in the open 2nd District, where they narrowly fell short in the midterms, Trump’s solid 56-41 win wasn’t much different from his 56-37 victory four years earlier, and Republican state Treasurer Jake LaTurner defeated Democrat Michelle De La Isla, the mayor of Topeka, by a similar 55-41 margin. The other two districts, the “Big” 1st and the 4th, both went for Trump by even wider margins.

Republicans could fight back against Democratic gains in the suburbs, however, by further locking in minority rule through gerrymandering. In fact, Kansas Republicans openly campaigned against Democrats’ efforts to roll back the GOP’s legislative supermajorities last year, with their state Senate president at the time saying, “I guarantee you we can draw four Republican congressional maps [sic]”—she meant districts—so that they could “take out” Davids.

The plot worked—Democrats in the legislature fell just short of winning the seats they’d need to be assured of upholding vetoed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. That means if Republicans can remain unified, they can ram through a new map that splits up the Kansas City region and leaves Davids with a much redder district—but that’s a big “if.” The Kansas GOP has for the longest time been bitterly divided between conservative and more moderate factions, and while the latter bloc has been decimated in recent years, Republican leaders are likely to have a hard time enforcing perfect discipline.

Part of the problem is that raw partisan politics often take a back seat to parochial interests in redistricting. For instance, if an influential Republican lawmaker with a base in the KC area is eyeing a challenge to Davids in 2022, they may not want to see the 3rd District carved up too aggressively, lest such a map usher in too many unfamiliar voters—and open the door for another ambitious politician to seek a promotion.

This, of course, is purely hypothetical, but it’s reflective of many dramas we saw play out in redistricting a decade ago. If she’s lucky, then, Davids may therefore be saved by a combination of GOP disunity and individual self-interest.

P.S. If you haven’t done so yet, you’ll want to bookmark our complete data set with presidential results by congressional district for all 50 states, which we’re updating continuously.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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