Home Agenda Karen Dolan: Democrats must protect democracy and adopt their own agenda | Column

Karen Dolan: Democrats must protect democracy and adopt their own agenda | Column


Supporters of Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor Terry McAuliffe watch him fall behind Republican Glenn Youngkin on election night Nov. 2. If history is any guide, Democrats could face a deadly midterm election next fall because the party is no longer in power in Washington – now Republicans – are generally doing well.


Karen Dolan

Karen Dolan

The 2022 election is still a year away, but all signs point to trouble for Democrats. The party seems likely to lose its majority in the House, and possibly even the Senate.

But is it won in advance? Not necessarily. But avoiding that fate requires understanding the party’s challenges and responding to them appropriately. To stay competitive next year, Democrats will need to take bold action to protect our democracy – and adopt their own agenda.

Perhaps the biggest challenge is also the most sordid: gerrymandering.

The way the House constituencies are drawn almost determines which party wins them. Gerrymandering refers to a process in which parties design constituencies that strongly favor their own members, which can often lead to blatant partisan imbalances.

The current districts, drawn after the 2010 census, are already gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. But the new neighborhoods designed for 2022 are even worse.

Since the 2020 census, Republican-leaning states have gained a few seats while Democratic-leaning states have lost some. According to the New York Times, the GOP now controls the redistribution of 187 House seats, while Democrats control the draw of just 74.

GOP-controlled legislatures are working overtime to oust Democratic voters from those districts, potentially leading to majority GOP delegations, even in states Joe Biden won. So even if the Democratic House candidates win more votes than their GOP counterparts in 2022, they could find themselves in the minority.