CARSON CITY, Nev. — Nevada Democrats have released their first congressional redistricting proposal — and it’s confusing, to say the least.
Democrats control the Silver State’s redistricting process in full, with Democratic majorities in both legislative houses voting on proposals and Democrat Gov. Steve Sisolak signing off on them. They possess the capacity to ram through the ugliest and most hyper-partisan gerrymander which they can conceive — which they’re clearly trying to do. But if the map they released Tuesday is anything to go by, they’ve somehow managed to find a way to make things better for Republicans.
This 3D-1R plan is a calculated risk for Dems: if the political environment is as bad for them as it was in VA last week, Nevada could end up w/ a 4R-0D delegation. But by that point, Dems will have already lost House control by a mile.
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 9, 2021
What this map shows is that Democrats appear potentially ready to crack open Las Vegas in an attempt to funnel votes from the deep-blue city into the more conservative suburban districts which surround it.
Nevada’s four congressional districts are currently drawn in a way that reflects the state’s voting demographics rather appropriately, with its first district heavily favoring Democrats, its second heavily favoring Republicans, and its third and fourth being hypercompetitive swing districts that have been represented by several different members of both parties over the course of the past decade.
However, the proposed map presumably intended to shore up Democrat Rep. Susie Lee, whose southern Clark County district President Joe Biden only won by .2% in 2020.
For Democrats, this should seem like a solid proposal on paper, until one sees the humorously underwhelming map that results from it: Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat whose Las Vegas-centric district voted for Biden by 25.1%, would be placed into a district that, on average, favors Democrats by 4%. The resulting gains by Lee and fellow Democrat Rep. Steven Horsford are hardly enough to justify this, with them being placed into districts that FiveThirtyEight estimates favor Democrats by averages of two and six points, respectively. Expected margins in the Northern Nevada seat currently held by Rep. Mark Amodei, the sole Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, remain largely unaffected.
And in a political climate like the one we’ve forayed into, where the party is experiencing a potential ten-point swing towards Republicans, that can easily translate to a House delegation comprised of four Republicans and no Democrats.
However, bear in mind that this proposal is far from final, and can (and likely will) be modified before being brought to a vote and signed into law. But, should the final product look anything like what we’re seeing here now, what Nevada Democrats are effectively doing is patting themselves on the back for bulletproofing their House majority whilst simultaneously digging their own potential political graves.
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