Georgia’s new political map gets federal approval

From the AP’s Feds approve new Ga. political maps:

It is the first time that Georgia Republicans — who now control both chambers of the state Legislature and the governor’s mansion — have controlled the redistricting process from start to finish.

Georgia Democrats cried foul, accusing Republicans of playing politics to solidify their hold on state power. It was the same claim Republicans made when Democrats ruled the state and controlled the redrawing of political lines.

The new state House maps create eight additional majority-black districts and set up 10 face-offs between incumbents from the same party. The congressional map adds a fourth majority-black district in southwest Georgia. It also radically redraws the 12th congressional district represented by John Barrow, the last white Democrat in the U.S. House from the Deep South.

I don’t know the legalities here well enough to say anything about whether the Justice department should have approved Georgia’s new maps, but the political realities are pretty clear.

As I noted in a post months ago, an “unholy alliance” between Republicans and black Democrats in Georgia, both of whom could plausibly claim that they were just trying to follow federal law regarding race and voting, worked together to create additional majority black districts to increase the number of blacks elected to both state and federal offices.

Black Democrats in the Georgia legislature are now challenging this ongoing trend as the actual results become obvious, but can apparently do nothing to stop it. (A further legal challenge is still possible.)

So what does this mean? Check out Peach Pundit, which lays out the likely new makeup of the Georgia statehouse, where Republicans are likely to hold constitutional majorities in both chambers.

And in the Congressional elections later this year, it seems very likely (unless Republicans in Washington D.C. continue to miscalculate the mood of the country) that 10 of Georgia’s 14 seats in the House will go to Republicans. At the same time that is happening, President Obama will be picking up 45-47% of the state in his re-election bid. At most, Republican House candidates will get about 60% of the vote, but Republicans will control about 70% of Georgia’s House seats.