For soberer minds, one of the more interesting straight news pieces on the reapportionment comes from John McCormick and Tim Jones at Bloomberg, which is mentioned above. The writers point out that this reapportionment needs to be put into historical perspective.

The scope of the reapportionment would be the smallest since 1970 if just 17 states see a gain or loss. That’s a reflection of slower migration in recent years triggered by the worst recession since the Great Depression.

The reporters also put flesh on the bone of some of the statistics we’re seeing, contextualizing the population changes in some states.

Nevada, which is projected to gain one seat, was the nation’s fastest-growing state for much of the past decade, before its growth was stunted by the recession. The state had the highest foreclosure filing rate for the 47th straight month in November, at one in every 99 households, five times the national average, according to RealtyTrac Inc.

And there is a nice diversion into the reasons Ohio, “the biggest loser,” lost its two seats. Such case studies are rarer in the other reporting, which focus either on the big Dems-vs.-GOP picture, or dig into the minutia of strategic redistricting to come.

The biggest loser for total seats could be Ohio, which has played a pivotal economic and political role for two centuries. It is the birthplace of seven presidents and a core member of the nation’s manufacturing heartland, producing automobiles, rubber, steel and glass.

Since January 2000, Ohio has lost 409,000 manufacturing jobs — a 40 percent drop — Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows.

…Ohio’s industrial heritage has taken a back seat to Wal- Mart Stores Inc., Kroger Co. and the Cleveland Clinic, the state’s three largest employers, according to the Ohio Department of Development. General Motors Co., once a major employer in the state, ranks 23rd.

As jobs moved out, the state’s political influence began to slide. Ohio had 24 members in its congressional delegation in 1972. Today, it has 18, and that number is projected to drop again this time.

“It’s all about votes and power,” said Ned Hill, an economist and dean of the college of urban affairs at Cleveland State University. “Ohio and the Midwest are going to be at a huge competitive disadvantage.”


Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.