This year, Republicans are going to lose seats in the House of Representatives – this is certain. How many seats, we don’t know. As analyzed by Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, their majority is protected by aggressive redistricting efforts in 2010 (see my Stanford Law Review article and David Daley’s book Ratf***ed) and poor candidate recruitment by Democrats this year. Nonetheless, there remains some chance that a strong enough national popular vote win can flip the House.
Even if the House does not change control, a closer seat margin increases the ability of the minority to get legislation passed by peeling off votes from the majority. Under a Hillary Clinton Presidency, this will affect legislative priorities that cut across party lines, such as an increase in the minimum wage.
If you want to make a difference for your side, you can volunteer for a campaign in a contested district. In response to my wish, PEC reader Sharon Machlis has developed the Competitive Congressional District Finder, a cool application in which you type in your address or ZIP code and get back a map showing competitive races near you, as identified by the Cook Political Report. Whether you support Democrats or Republicans, these are the races that matter. Give the app a try – and get out there!
Note the general location of competitive districts: in the Northeast, the Midwest, the Southwest, and Florida. Many of these districts are competitive thanks to good-government and/or nonpartisan redistricting practices – see especially Arizona, California, Florida, and New York. This demonstrates the power of redistricting reform, whether pursued through the courts or through voter initiative.
Note on Florida: for a week or two, the app will not show current boundaries, thanks to a court-ordered redistricting and delays in getting the map files. The currently competitive Florida districts are FL-7, FL-13, FL-18, and FL-26.
Sharon used Google Fusion Tables and the Searchable Map Template, which was created by civic tech builder and open-government advocate Derek Eder. Many thanks to Sharon for her fast work. Talented readers like her are a major source of gratification.