Dem 51
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What Might a New York Gerrymander Look Like?

After the North Carolina Supreme Court threw out a highly gerrymandered map, the Democrats let out a sigh of relief. But it was not to last. After the composition of the North Carolina Supreme Court changed in the Nov. 2022 election, the new Supreme Court simply threw out the decision of the previous court to allow a new gerrymandered map. Why? Because they can.

The New York state legislature has taken keen note of this development and may try to repeat it. It also drew a highly gerrymandered map, this time to favor the Democrats, but the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, threw it out. Now there has been a change in membership in the Court of Appeals—in a direction more favorable to the Democrats. And indeed, Democrats are talking about creating a new map to counter the North Carolina one. Just in case anyone thinks that the courts are neutral arbiters who base their decisions on the law and the Constitution, wake up. This is the 21st century.

David Wasserstein, of The Cook Political Report, has played a bit with Dave's Redistricting Website to see what the New York legislature might do now. He came up with a map that is not as aggressive as the original map, which might give plausible deniability to the Court of Appeals if they approved it, but could still net the Democrats five or six seats, thus balancing out North Carolina. This is not to say that the New York legislature will use his map, but it shows what they could do. And after what happened in North Carolina, the Republicans don't have much of a case complaining if the Democrats do it since they did it first.

Wasserstein's hypothetical map is shown and discussed here (note: paywall). Let's start with the map. The full state is on the left and an enlarged part for New York City is on the right:

David Wasserstein's hypothetical New York House map

The Republican seats that the map goes after are those of Reps. "George Santos" (NY-03) and Anthony D'Esposito (NY-04) on Long Island, those of Reps. Mike Lawler (NY-17) and Marc Molinaro (NY-19) in the Hudson Valley, and that of Brandon Williams (NY-22) near Syracuse. It doesn't go after Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), since that would really be pushing the envelope and might cause the Court of Appeals to kill the whole thing. In the original map the Democrats went after her and drew a map that would have made Elbridge Gerry blush and that did make the Court of Appeals say "No!"

Here is a rundown of the various seats the Democrats are going to have to think hard about as they whip up a potential gerrymander:

Again, this is not a draft map, but merely an exercise Wasserstein did to see what the Democrats could do if they decided to change the map this year. Since they have the trifecta and a friendlier Court of Appeals, the temptation to monkey with the map will be very great. (V)

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