As you may know, redistricting is all the rage right now. And with one of the most controversial midterm election cycles in years coming in November, it’s not really a surprise to anyone.
However, what is a surprise is just how many gains the Republicans are making in the process. And no one has more than GOP Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
In fact, in a matter of just a few weeks, DeSantis has managed three major wins for both his party and his state, each one more devastating to the opposing party than the last. And to make matters even worse for the Dems, it’s all happening in one fell swoop.
So what’s he been up to?
Well, as I’m sure you’ve heard by now, DeSantis has been making quite the enemy of the Walt Disney Company, more specifically, Orlando’s Walt Disney World.
It might have started with a bill that outlaws the teaching of sexual orientation and identity to children between the grades of kindergarten and third grade. But DeSantis is making it clear that if Disney continues to fight him on protecting our nation’s youth, then there will be consequences.
The first of which is the possible revocation of their unique political status.
‘What?’ you say. Does Disney have a political status?
Of course, they do.
When Disney was searching for a place to position their eastern shore theme park, and Orlando was chosen, the company began to quietly buy up property in the area. What was created was the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Since it was large enough, Disney offered to take care of all municipal services for the area when it opened the park for the first time in 1971. And Florida said yes.
This means that like any city or congressional district would, Disney is in charge of things like their own police force, trash take out, transportation dept., etc. And it also gives them a bit of political power.
But thanks to DeSantis’ new redistricting ideas, that special status could be revoked.
Along with redistricting the state’s congressional map, state legislatures will also be considering the “termination of all special districts that were enacted in Florida prior to 1968.” And as DeSantis points out in a news conference on Wednesday, “…that includes the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
So far, the state’s Senate has already voted to pass the measure, leaving Disney’s fate in the hands of the GOP-led Florida House.
But that’s not all the bill does. I mentioned that it’s really all about congressional redistricting. And in this case, that means creating four new Republican districts and eliminating three Democratic ones, according to The New York Times.
With a 24 to 15 Senate vote, the legislative body passed the measure, ensuring that Republicans have a whopping 20 districts in the state and Democrats only eight.
Of course, it is expected that several lawsuits on the matter will arise, as the Democrats aren’t likely to take their losses quietly.
But it’s not a given that those challenges will get very far. After all, Florida is not the only state to have made similar changes as of late.
And that brings us to DeSantis’s third win.
While the new redistricting map would give the GOP an advantage in the state, it would also do the same for the nation.
If you didn’t know, and as The Times explains, following the 2020 census, Democrats made some rather significant redistricting gains, allowing them to take control of both the US Senate and House of Representatives.
But over the past year or so, basically, since Biden has been in office, there’s been a major political shift nationwide, resulting in states like Florida now giving near-complete control to the GOP. And this is rather unusual. Congressional districts are usually pretty evenly split between the two major parties in most other states. In fact, if they leaned in any direction, it was generally toward the left.
However, as The Washington Post recently reported, the US Supreme Court has now approved two other states which now have a Republican Congressional majority, Wisconsin and Alabama. And it looks like more could follow after Florida, thanks to the “independent state legislature theory,” which is garnering favor across the country and would allow state legislatures and not those at the federal level to control state redistricting.
Should the Supreme Court agree with this decision, states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina would become GOP-favored states.