Looking Ahead To The Next Decade

[ Posted Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 – 16:34 UTC ]

I'm writing my first 2020 column looking ahead to not the new year but the entire next decade. Before I begin, I have to admit that I'm one of those pedants who point out (every ten years) that turning a zero on the year doesn't actually mean the start of a new decade, since there was no "year zero" at the start. Technically, the 201st decade won't be over until New Year's Day, 2021. Hmmph. But I realize I'm in a tiny minority, so for the purposes of this column I will bow to the prevailing notion that the 2020s began yesterday. And in American politics, a new decade means new dividing lines for the House of Representatives.

This Monday, the Census Bureau released its final estimates for what this year's actual count is projected to show each state's population to be. Of more importance, this also shows which states are going to lose congressional seats and which states will gain them. Now, this is just an estimate -- there are several states on the cusp, which may wind up either not losing a seat or not gaining a seat, so for the moment this is all just informed speculation. But it's still interesting to look at, even if the actual results turn out to be slightly different than the projection.

The upshot is that the following ten states are going to lose a single House seat in the redistricting which will happen prior to the 2022 midterm elections: Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Five states will pick up a single seat: Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon. Also, Florida will pick up two seats and Texas will be the real winner, picking up three seats. This shouldn't come as too big a surprise, because last time around Texas actually picked up four seats.

There are a couple of things to note from those lists. The first (to me, at any rate) is that California will be losing one of its 53 House seats for the first time since it became a state (this continues a trend, since in 2010 California did not add any House seats, also for the first time). Population growth has slowed here mostly due to the exorbitant cost of living (housing, in particular). Montana currently only has one House "at-large" seat, meaning they will be drawing a brand-new line to separate their two new House districts. Rhode Island, meanwhile, will lose one of its two seats, meaning they'll have to settle for one at-large statewide district. West Virginia is almost in as bad a spot, since they will go from three districts down to two.

Again, though, none of this is guaranteed. Both California and Rhode Island have launched efforts to make their count as universal as possible, in the hopes of not losing a House district, while other states are not mounting such efforts. So we'll just have to wait and see what the final numbers actually say.

The picture in terms of population shift isn't crystal-clear, but the trends are that the Northeast and Midwest are losing population to the Sun Belt states of Florida and Texas. However, Alabama also is losing population, so this isn't a universal trend. And outside of the two big winners, people seem to be moving in other directions as well. Mountain states did well, from Arizona to Colorado to Montana, but it's harder to fit Oregon and North Carolina into any well-defined trend.

It's also not all that easy to divine which political party is going to benefit the most from the House redistricting. More states that lost people are blue than red, but it's not as easy to see who will benefit from where they moved to. Three of the seven winners are purple -- Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. Will this tilt their politics more blue, giving Democrats pickup opportunities? How will it affect Texas -- a red state that is slowly trying to turn bluer?

It gets even tougher to figure partisan wins and losses when you take into consideration what will happen in the states that lose a district. Will the missing district be a Republican or a Democratic one? Will the map be entirely redrawn so that multiple districts see partisan shifts? Or are there too few districts left to play such games? A lot depends on how each state draws those new district lines.

Ever since 2016, Democrats have been making a concerted push to flip as many state legislative seats and governorships as possible, so they don't get wiped out in the redistricting that will happen in 2021. So far, these efforts have been paying off in a big way. The politics of the next ten years could depend a lot more on how many of these state-level races are won by Democrats this year than who wins the Oval Office. In 2011, Democrats got clobbered by blatant Republican gerrymandering after the 2010 "Tea Party" election, and they continued to pay this price for the entire decade. Restoring some balance would give the Democrats a lot easier path to holding onto House control over the next decade. It would also give them a much easier path to winning or holding state legislatures, since most states also redistrict their own state legislative lines at the same time (which was also heavily affected by Republican gerrymandering last time around).

Ten House seats changing hands between the states will also affect the makeup of the Electoral College, starting in the 2024 election. Winning Texas would mean winning three more Electoral College votes, while winning New York, Illinois, or California would mean one fewer for each state. Ten votes out of 538 isn't all that many, but it could prove decisive in a very close election.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Democrats rebuild their "big blue wall" in 2020, and win back Minnesota, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. This would likely be enough to put a Democrat in the White House, but in the next presidential election in 2024 that blue wall will be a little smaller. If Democrats lose a seat in seven of their reliably-blue states (California, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and Rhode Island), then they won't be quite as well off even with a reconstructed blue wall. This may be offset somewhat by Republican losses in Alabama, West Virginia, and Ohio, though.

At this point, once again, none of this is written in stone. These are just the final estimates before the actual 2020 U.S. Census is conducted. But it is certainly worth paying attention to and even speculating about, because it will indeed affect the entire country's politics for the next ten years to come.


[Program Notes: The holidays are over and we are finally back at work again. I realize that regular readers may have been expecting a different column today, and because I feel bad about how many days I blew off writing over the holidays, I am going to try to produce two whole columns today. So to those breathlessly waiting for the annual "banished words list," please stay tuned.... And finally, a great note to end on: as you can see above, we have indeed reached our fundraising goal for the year. Woo hoo! Thanks to all who donated! The site will be ad-free for all of 2020 as a direct result. That's definitely something to celebrate for the new year, wouldn't you say?]

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant


26 Comments on “Looking Ahead To The Next Decade”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:


    Iran's psychotic ruler tried to troll President Trump and claim that the President couldn't do a damn thing about Iran's influence in the Iraq Embassy attack..

    Pentagon says US airstrike killed powerful Iranian general

    Apparently, said Iranian psychotic leader was... wrong.. :D

  2. [2] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again.

    Why Trump will win again in 2020
    There is a growing wrath in the country, either ignored, suppressed or undetected by the partisan media

    In my hometown near my central California farm, I spent autumn 2016 talking to mostly Mexican American friends with whom I went to grammar or high school. I had presumed then that they must hate Trump. Remember the speech in 2015 announcing he was going to stand, when he bashed illegal immigration, or his snide quip about the ‘Mexican judge’ in the Trump University lawsuit, or his expulsion of an interrupting Univision anchor, Jorge Ramos, from one of his campaign press conferences? But I heard no such thing. Most said they ‘liked’ Trump’s style, whether or not they were voting for him. They were tired of gangs in their neighborhoods and of swamped government services — especially the nearby Department of Motor Vehicles — becoming almost dysfunctional. I remember thinking that Trump of all people might get a third of the Latino vote: of no importance in blue California, but maybe transformative in Midwest swing states?

    During the last two weeks I made the same rounds — a high-school football game at my alma mater, talks with Mexican American professionals, some rural farm events. Were those impressions three years ago hallucinations? Hardly. Trump support has, if anything, increased — and not just because of record low unemployment and an economy that has turned even my once-ossified rural community into a bustle of shopping, office-construction and home-building, with ‘Now Hiring’ signs commonplace. This time I noticed that my same friends always mentioned Trump in contrast to their damnation of California — the nearby ‘stupid’ high-speed rail to nowhere, the staged power shutoffs, the drought-stricken dead trees left untouched in flammable forests, the tens of thousands of homeless even in San Jose, Fresno and Sacramento, the sky-high gas prices, the deadly decrepit roads, the latest illegal-alien felon shielded from ICE. Whatever Trump was, my friends saw him as the opposite of where California is now headed. His combativeness was again not a liability but a plus — especially when it was at the expense of snooty white liberals. ‘He drives them crazy,’ Steve, my friend from second grade, offered.

    All the 2016 signs are there...

    And, as usual, Trump/America haters have their heads in the sand and think there is no way President Trump will be re-elected..

    Election-wise, history will repeat itself in 2020...

  3. [3] 
    John M from Ct. wrote:

    This stuff is of course very interesting as it is the 'infrastructure' of federal politics. But actually I found your first-level summary, "the Northeast and Midwest are losing population to the Sun Belt states of Florida and Texas" uninteresting, because I've been reading that same line every ten years since I was a kid in the 60s. The follow-up, "people seem to be moving in other directions as well", was more tantalizing, lacking only actual details beyond "it's hard".

    But your decade-scale viewpoint, reflecting the impact the census has on a following decades electoral politics, got me thinking about a follow-up you could try. Isn't this the decade when the Baby Boomers start to seriously die off? Isn't this the decade when the Republicans' strategy of jamming wooden wedges into every democratic doorway, reflecting their incredibly aging and demographically shrinking base's weakness in truly representative and proportional national elections, should finally begin to fail? Or, if not fail due to the wedges, mightn't that strategy begin to arouse a popular national backlash as ever larger majorities of the country perceive that what they want, and everyone they know wants, never happens no matter how faithfully they vote in election after election?

    Gerrymandered districts, restrictions on voting rights and procedures, seriously unrepresentative structures in both the Senate and the Electoral College, supported by a new wave of conservative federal judges all the way up to the Supreme Court, could actually get everyday people wondering how 45%, then 40%, then 35%, then 30%, then ?? of the electorate gets to win up and down the line, running the country like any other undemocratic apartheid or oligarchic state one might think of.

    Will 2030 be different in this regard than 2020? What do you think?

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    First off, there's a new (more amusing) column up, so check it out:

    OK, with that out of the way, John M from Ct deserves some reactions. I do hear you about hearing the "demographics are changing" over and over again. I suspected one thing is influencing this, but have no data to back it up: retirees are moving to Florida, Texas, and Arizona as they always have, but there are more of them now due to the Baby Boomers all hitting retirement. Don't know how true this is, but the Census report seems to at least suggest it.

    For a long time, Las Vegas was the fastest-growing city in the country, but now the influx seems to have shifted to other Western places such as Colorado and Montana. I have no idea why, other than that Vegas got hit incredibly hard by the foreclosure crisis in the Great Recession.

    As for GOP tactics beginning to fail, well I've been waiting for that to come true almost as long as I've been waiting for Texas to flip to blue, so I'm no longer holding my breath if you know what I mean. I certainly would like to see it happen, but I'm taking a wait-and-see approach at this point.

    I'd have to think long and hard about where I'd predict the demographics and politics of the country in 2030, but it might just be worth the effort (if only to throw down a marker that I can read 10 years from now with hilarity, for getting so much of it wrong!).



  5. [5] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    John M from Ct.,

    You have been hearing “the Northeast and Midwest are losing population to the Sun Belt states of Florida and Texas" since you were a kid... but that does not mean that it is not correct information.

    In 1940, Florida had a population that was just over 1.8 million people and was the least populated of the Southern states and ranked 27th in the nation for population. Today, Florida has the third largest population of any state, topping out with an estimated population of over 21 million!

  6. [6] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    re: Death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force

    Two things now apparent only hours after his death. The first is that nobody here is crying for him. He was a brutal murderer of the highest order.

    He had a huge folder, controlling militia or military movements in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, as well as smaller groups all over the world. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that he was the Darth Vader of the Iranian regime.

    That's not to say that he was hard to kill. In the end he was traveling a public road in Iraqi territory. Obama could've taken him out many times, but was persuaded by the argument that it's easier to do surveillance on one guy, than the 30 or so guys that would replace him. Besides, he's wildly popular in Iran, and you don't want popular martyrs in that part of the world, believe me.

    So that's who Trump decides to kill the day after the new year. As opposed to arresting him and dragging him before the world court. Iran's already on a War footing. Iraq will be furious, but trapped. So why are we still there?

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    Yeah, Lev and Igor were arrested for funneling foreign money into Trump’s campaign. Russia’s money laundering through Trump has helped clean up millions in Russian mob money!

    Facts to support??


    Of course...

    Mueller exonerated President Trump on ANY connection with the Russians..

    Your birther-esque obsession with this Russia bullshit makes you no better than the hysterical GOP Birthers..

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    So that's who Trump decides to kill the day after the new year. As opposed to arresting him and dragging him before the world court.

    Yea?? Odumbo could have done the same thing with Obama bin Laden..

    Funny how you find fault with EVERYTHING President Trump does..

    Proof positive that you are ruled by your Trump/America hate and NOT by facts or reality..

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    So why are we still there?

    Because Odumbo frak'ed things all up by pulling out too early and left us with a mess to clean up..

    That's the reality..

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Tehran blasts US for act of ‘terrorism’ after killing top general, 'foot beyond the red line'

    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Friday warned that a "harsh retaliation is waiting" for the U.S. after an airstrike on an airport in Baghdad killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force.


    "Harsh retaliation is waiting"..

    And waiting.... And waiting.... And waiting....

    Funny... Ya'all have something in common with Iran..

    Ya'all and Iran always promise horrible things are just around the corner.. Any day now...

    And all these horrible predictions JUST NEVER SEEM TO HAPPEN...


    Trump/America haters and Iran..

    At the bottom of the credibility barrel.. :D

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Of course, Pelosi is siding with Tehran...

    “American leaders’ highest priority is to protect American lives and interests. But we cannot put the lives of American service members, diplomats and others further at risk by engaging in provocative and disproportionate actions. Tonight’s airstrike risks provoking further dangerous escalation of violence.”
    -Nancy Pelosi

    Funny how Pelosi and Dumbocrats are on the same page as Iran....

    Yea, THAT will win over American voters :eyeroll:

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, of course, Obama buddy'ed up with the scumbags who organized the Iraq Embassy Attack..

    FLASHBACK: Obama Hosted Baghdad Embassy Protest Organizer At The White House In 2011

    And ya'all question the America hating in my Trump/America haters...

    The facts are all there.. If ya'all would just open yer eyes and see them..

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Buttigieg Criticizes Biden Over Ukraine Dealings as Vice President

    FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — Pete Buttigieg says he “would not have wanted to see” his son serving on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while he was leading anti-corruption efforts in the country, an implicit criticism of the controversy that has ensnared his 2020 Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden.

    Hunter Biden’s position on the board of the company Burisma has been a rallying point for Republicans as they try to defend President Donald Trump against impeachment charges over Trump asking Ukraine’s new president to investigate the former vice president and his son while also withholding crucial U.S. military aid.

    Buttigieg, the childless mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said in an Associated Press interview Monday that his administration would “do everything we can to prevent even the appearance of a conflict. That’s very important because as we see it can create a lot of complications even when there is no wrongdoing.”


    I am sure glad that Democrats are able "to have differing opinions on how we best solve problems without having to resort to name calling and insults."


  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump Calls the Ayatollah’s Bluff
    Column: And scores a victory against terrorism

    Once again, President Trump does an awesome thing and Democrats side with America's enemies in condemning President Trump for it..

    More proof that Trump/AMERICA haters is dead on ballz accurate...

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    The successful operation against Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, is a stunning blow to international terrorism and a reassertion of American might. It will also test President Trump's Iran strategy. It is now Trump, not Ayatollah Khamenei, who has ascended a rung on the ladder of escalation by killing the military architect of Iran's Shiite empire. For years, Iran has set the rules. It was Iran that picked the time and place of confrontation. No more.

    Reciprocity has been the key to understanding Donald Trump. Whether you are a media figure or a mullah, a prime minister or a pope, he will be good to you if you are good to him. Say something mean, though, or work against his interests, and he will respond in force. It won't be pretty. It won't be polite. There will be fallout. But you may think twice before crossing him again.

    That has been the case with Iran. President Trump has conditioned his policies on Iranian behavior. When Iran spread its malign influence, Trump acted to check it. When Iran struck, Trump hit back: never disproportionately, never definitively. He left open the possibility of negotiations. He doesn't want to have the Greater Middle East—whether Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, or Afghanistan—dominate his presidency the way it dominated those of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. America no longer needs Middle Eastern oil. Best keep the region on the back burner. Watch it so it doesn't boil over. Do not overcommit resources to this underdeveloped, war-torn, sectarian land.

    President Donald Trump... Kicking ass and taking names...

    He is a shoo-in for re-election.. :D

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:


    Think about it! If he wanted to have a secret conversation with Lynch, then he has her cell phone number he could have done so no one would know that they talked!

    Are you really that naive, Russ??

    Of course someone would have known about it.. And it WOULD have leaked..

    A MUCH better plan is just to hide in plain sight and pretend like it was a social call...

    Bubba frak'ed up... Period..

    But you can't admit that because EVERYTHING has to be President Trump's and the GOP's fault..

    You CAN'T admit that Democrats are ANYTHING but pure as the driven snow...

    "Well, well, well.. Looks like the pure driven snow has a few tire tracks thru it.."
    -Joyce DeWitt, THREES COMPANY

    You simply can't concede that Democrats EVER frak up..

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ilhan Omar
    So what if Trump wants war, knows this leads to war and needs the distraction?

    Real question is, will those with congressional authority step in and stop him? I know I will.

    Omar is just bitchy because her bestest terrorist buddy is splattered all over an Iraqi airport... :eyeroll:

    How do terrorist loving and terrorist sympathizing Democrats even get elected to Congress??

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, the question must be asked..

    Lawmakers, Community Step Up Response Amid New Reports Of Anti-Semitic Attacks

    Police said Lucas and another woman yelled anti-Semitic slurs at the young man around 12:45 p.m. near Broadway and Gerry Street.

    “They took him and threw him down to the ground, and broke his phone and threw the phone at his head,” witness Moses Weiser said.

    Investigators questioned the second woman, but she was released without charges.

    The day before, a father said his 15-year-old son was riding the bus home from school in Gravesend when he was robbed at knifepoint by two men.

    “They took his yarmulke off his head and they took his Earpods off his ear,” said the father, Jack Hershkovich. “They pushed him, they threatened him, but then they ended up getting off the bus.”

    The NYPD released videos of two recent attacks, which investigators believe may have been carried out by the same group of suspects.

    One shows a group approach a 56-year-old Hasidic man on Dec. 24 in Crown Heights and then knock him to the ground. Minutes later, just blocks away, a group hit another Hasidic man over the head with a folding chair.

    The Guardian Angels have started patrolling the streets of Crown Heights, alongside the NYPD and state troopers.

    What IS it about Democrat run cities that make them dangerous to live in???

    Could it be the Democrat tendency towards hate and bigotry???

    Funny how ya'all condemn on a daily basis the non-existent hate coming from President Trump and the GOP..

    But ya'all ***NEVER*** criticize Democrats for all their hate and bigotry...

    Why is that???

    Party slavery?? Or something deeper???

  19. [19] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    President Donald Trump... Kicking ass and taking names...

    Here's a different take: I'm not exactly sure that I'd be starting a victory dance only five minutes from the fight's start. That's "Heck of a job, Brownie" and "Mission Accomplished" territory. I'd wait, and after the escalating hit-backs are over with... see if we want to dance then. And I thought that Trump wanted to get out of there?? Looks like he just bought himself another ride...

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    I'd wait, and after the escalating hit-backs are over with... see if we want to dance then.

    Unfortunately you and I BOTH know that, if it had been a Democrat calling the shots, you would have been dancing up a storm in the first 3 seconds of the aftermath..

    But, because it's President Trump, you have to attack him for it..

    Same shit, different year...

    I really am concerned for ya'all's sanity come November when President Trump posts a Saint Ronald Reagan-esque win in the EC and totally stomps the Dem candidate in the Vanity Vote.

    Where will ya'all turn to then??

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    For some reason, Queen's ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST is playing in my head..

    Dropout Julian Castro’s insufferably woke presidential campaign won’t be missed

    Give Julian Castro some credit: In a crowded 2020 Democratic field originally featuring cringeworthy candidates such as Beto O’Rourke and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the former housing and urban development secretary still managed to run the most insufferably woke presidential campaign of this cycle.

    Thursday morning brought the official end of Castro’s campaign. But it never really got off the ground, and the candidate failed to qualify for the November debate, getting under 2% of the vote in polling averages. Outside of a few fringe Marxist professors and woke liberal activists, Castro’s campaign was so radical that even Democratic primary voters weren’t buying it.

    It’s not hard to see why. Castro’s only memorable contributions to the 2020 race are viral moments where he embarrassed himself.

    For one, there was his cringey decision to randomly pronounce certain words with a Spanish accent during Democratic debates, despite not actually being a native Spanish speaker. Then there was his call for completely decriminalizing illegal border crossings, and attacks on other, slightly less terrible Democrats who declined to endorse his radical proposal.


  22. [22] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [When Trump] totally stomps the Dem candidate in the Vanity Vote. Where will ya'all turn to then??

    Probably Opiates. They're getting more popular...

    But let me turn that around. Biden pulls it off, and HE's the next president. Who're you gonna call?

  23. [23] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Unfortunately you and I BOTH know that, if it had been a Democrat calling the shots, you would have been dancing up a storm in the first 3 seconds of the aftermath..

    I'd sure have more trust in it.

    But, because it's President Trump, you have to attack him for it..

    Nope. If you'd notice, I haven't attacked him yet. I wanna see how this plays out too.

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    So looking forward to the next decade is only looking for how the dynamics between the Democrats and Republicans will change in the next decade.

    What good is looking forwards if you're still thinking backwards?

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    Unfortunately you and I BOTH know that, if it had been a Democrat calling the shots, you would have been dancing up a storm in the first 3 seconds of the aftermath..

    I'd sure have more trust in it.

    You DO realize how bigoted that statement is, eh?? Put it in a different context to see..

    "I'de sure have more trust in a white person.."

    Same thing..

    Nope. If you'd notice, I haven't attacked him yet.

    And I thought that Trump wanted to get out of there?? Looks like he just bought himself another ride...

    You attack President Trump so much and so often you don't even realize yer doing it.. :^/

    Probably Opiates. They're getting more popular...

    Heh Should make our conversations here a lot more interesting. :D

    But let me turn that around. Biden pulls it off, and HE's the next president. Who're you gonna call?

    I'll probably just hike up my boots and think, "Well, NOW I really have my work cut out for me.."

    But the chances of that happening are infinitesimally small, so I don't think I need to contemplate it.. :D

  26. [26] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Florida gains two seats but stands to lose them in the next major one more to rampant sink holes.

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