Of all of the states that have had to reconfigure its Congressional map, Texas has been the most closely watched. It has been thought for more than a few years that the results of the change in the demarcation of the House seats there will have a great deal to do with which political party takes control of the Speakership.
Well, according to The Hill, a conclusion to this drama appears to be near. Based upon census data, Texas is scheduled to gain 4 seats. As we know, the GOP, which controls the state legislature and the Governorship, had previously put together a map which placed Democrats into a few highly homogenous districts. This would have given the Republicans an insurmountable edge in the state, and with its importance, the House of Representatives itself.
However, they were too greedy with their initial aims. Although the state has had a large increase in population, most of the increase is made up of Hispanics and African-Americans, two steady Democratic groups. But the lines would have contained them into the same few districts, permitting most of the state to be retained by Republicans. Because of a long history of racial discrimination in the state, though, the lines must be agreed upon by the federal courts.
Litigation from minority groups and Democrats followed and the Republicans have been told they must redraw the districts. The attorney defending the GOP case has apparently come up with a compromise that is likely to give all 4 seats to the Democrats and is likely to appease them. The advantage for the Republicans to this compromise is that the primary will remain set for April 3, permitting the state to have some influence in the national contest and saving it some money.
It is presumed that of the 36 seats, Republicans will win 21 or 22, down from the 23 they have at this time. This will give the Democrats a gain of 5 or 6 from their current level. As we know, the Democrats need 25 seats nationally to retake control of the lower body. This compromise makes it much more likely that this will occur.
Political scientists have predicted for a decade that the state would move into the purple group by 2014 unless something occurred to change the demographic dynamic that has been happening there. For a while, there were hopes that the recession would slow down the immigration rate enough to permit the Republicans to maintain control until the 2020 census. It now appears that this will not occur, and Texas will join Florida as a heavily contested state beginning in the next Presidential election. The consequences nationally for this would be that, beginning in 2016, Republicans would have to invest a lot of money there much as Democrats have to do in a state like Pennsylvania. Until now, both parties have conceded the state to the Republicans, similarly to how the GOP concedes California. So this compromise, if reached as described, has far reaching political ramifications for the foreseeable future.