Show an ad over header. AMP

The next big political war: redistricting

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.


  • Redistricting experts and advocates are especially concerned about political gerrymandering this year, given a 2019Supreme Court ruling that blocks politics-based gerrymandering lawsuits from federal courts.
  • "I think this is going to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fight of next cycle," Kelly Ward Burton, president of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, told Axios.

What to watch: The expected flashpoints are the battleground states of Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia — where Democrats failed to gain any control over redistricting.

  • Adding to the party's concern is that, because of another federal court ruling, Republicans won't have to gain pre-clearance for their plans under the Voting Rights Act.
  • For their part, Republicans will be ready to sue Democrats in states where they control redistricting, particularly Oregon, Nevada and New Mexico, Adam Kincaid, executive director of the National Republican Redistricting Trust, told Axios.

The backstory: Republicans gained sweeping control of the redistricting process in 2011. Over the past decade, Democrats have fought in court against some of their subsequent congressional maps with a few notable wins, such as in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Democrats have built new, sophisticated mapping technologies, and Republicans have been working on a 50-state redistricting database to help them identify their best tactics.

  • Both sides are educating legislators and the public about redistricting rules.
  • Democrats have had people on the ground in nine states for over a year, training state legislators and building out grassroots campaigns, Burton said.

Democrats already have a large network of attorneys and organizationson their side, many of whom were involved in the surge of election lawsuits last year and the last round of gerrymandering litigation.

  • "There was criticism — fair or not — that following 2010, Republicans were more prepared than the Democrats," said Marc Elias, a top Democratic attorney and NDRC general counsel. "I can assure you that will not be true in 2021."
  • Kincaid, the Republican redistricting executive, said Democrats "had a chance to win at the ballot box, and they failed. ... Republicans draw maps that favor Republicans, and Democrats draw maps to favor Democrats."

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: The report cites early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection, and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

Keep reading... Show less

Ripple CEO calls for clearer crypto regulations following SEC lawsuit

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by the SEC, it would put the U.S. cryptocurrency industry at a competitive disadvantage.

Why it matters: Garlinghouse's comments may seem self-serving, but his call for clearer crypto rules is consistent with longstanding entreaties from other industry players.

Keep reading... Show less

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt will not seek re-election in 2022

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) will not run for re-election in 2022, he announced on Twitter Monday.

Why it matters: The 71-year-old senator is the No. 4-ranking Republican in the Senate, and the fifth GOP senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2022 as the party faces questions about its post-Trump future.

Keep reading... Show less

COVID Tracking Project officially ends daily updates, citing improved government transparency

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer group of data analysts, researchers, and journalists brought together by The Atlantic, published its final daily update on Monday — the one-year anniversary of its founding.

Why it matters: The project quickly became a vital resource for news media, academic researchers, and everyday Americans to track COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the absence of reliable and public data from the federal government.

Keep reading... Show less

As Congress eyes massive infrastructure bill, energy and climate move closer to center stage

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

Keep reading... Show less

The European Central Bank and the market's moment of truth

The biggest event for markets this week will be Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank's governing council and the press conference following it from ECB president Christine Lagarde.

Why it matters: With interest rates jumping around the globe, investors are looking to central bank heads to see if they will follow the lead of Fed chair Jerome Powell, who says rising rates are nothing to worry about, or Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, who has drawn a line in the sand on rates.

Keep reading... Show less

Joe Manchin pledges to block Biden's infrastructure bill if Republicans aren't included

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), America's ultimate swing voter, told me on "Axios on HBO" that he'll insist Republicans have more of a voice on President Biden's next big package than they did on the COVID stimulus.

The big picture: Manchin said he'll push for tax hikes to pay for Biden's upcoming infrastructure and climate proposal, and will use his Energy Committee chairmanship to force the GOP to confront climate reality.

Keep reading... Show less

Why picking a jury for the Derek Chauvin trial is so hard

The tough task of selecting a jury for former MPD officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the killing of George Floyd is set to begin Monday.

The state of play: "This case may be the most highly publicized criminal trial in a long time. ... That means that it's harder to find people who really have an open mind," Richard Frase, University of Minnesota Law School professor of criminal law, told Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories