Population trends are working against the Republican Party — at least that’s what we’ve been told.
But a combination of the 2016 presidential results and early looks at reapportionment after the 2020 census shows that the short-term changes may not be as dramatic as once believed.
Fifteen states are likely to gain or lose a congressional seat next decade due to population shifts, according to Election Data Services. Those changes will also impact how many electoral votes are allocated to each state.
Texas is poised to gain three seats and Florida two seats, according to EDS analysis done at the end of 2015. Arizona, North Carolina, Colorado and Oregon are likely to each gain a single seat.
Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia are likely to lose a seat. (Updated census data and analysis are expected in the next few weeks.)
This year, Donald Trump scored a 306-232 victory over Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College, with the Associated Press finally calling Michigan for Trump on Monday, where he won by less than a quarter of a percentage point.
If this race were played out under the post-2020 census lines and Trump won the same states, he would emerge with a slightly larger 308-230 victory.
Trump won four states (Texas, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina) this year that are poised to gain seven seats collectively. He won five states (Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia) that are poised to lose a seat each. That would be a net gain of two seats/electoral votes.
Clinton won two states (Colorado and Oregon) that are likely to each gain a seat, and four states (Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island) that are on track to each lose a seat, for a net loss of two seats/electoral votes.
The 2020 presidential race will be held under the current map and the current number of electoral votes.
Of course, no two presidential races are alike and Trump’s Electoral College path may be difficult to replicate by a more typical GOP politician in 2024 against a less polarizing Democratic nominee.
But taking a broader look at the new potential map, the news isn’t terrible for Republicans.
Three safe Democratic states (Illinois, New York, and Rhode Island) look likely to lose three seats collectively, while just one safe Democratic state (Oregon) is on track to pick up a seat, for a net loss of two seats/electoral votes.
Two safe Republican states (Alabama and West Virginia) are likely to lose a pair of seats collectively while Texas is poised to gain three seats for a net gain of a single seat.
In the potential battlegrounds, four states (Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) are likely to lose a seat each while four states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina) would gain five seats collectively for a net gain of a seat.
There’s an argument to be made that Michigan and Minnesota aren’t really battleground states, that 2016 was an aberration and that they should be in the Democratic column. That would take the safe Democratic states down to a net loss of four seats/electoral votes.
It’s hard to see how Republicans can stay in power while losing growing minority populations by large margins. But it’s probably good to put the “demographics are destiny” theory on ice for a little while.