Much of the press about redistricting in Illinois has highlighted how Democrats plan to increase their seats. But the Daily Herald offers an additional insight by suggesting that the redistricting is really about capturing suburban voters:
But even as political analysts poring over the new boundaries provide slightly different takes, one thing is certain: the suburbs, which saw booming growth over the last decade, were the prime meat in the proverbial fattened calf — filleted to produce congressional districts that would help assure a Democratic majority in the state’s delegation over the next 10 years…
“There’s been a shift in power,” Northern Illinois University professor Richard Greene said. “Because of the population shift, the Democratic core and the inner manufacturing suburbs are losing strength, as the outer-edge suburban communities are gaining substantially in strength.”
Democrats, political consultant Kitty Kurth said, want to continue to capitalize on their base — the largely Democratic voting bloc of Chicago, some of which has moved to the suburbs in recent years.
The new map appears to do just that, in some cases through odd-shaped districts that often start in solidly Democratic Chicago and extend into the suburbs through long, gnarled fingers. That essentially extends Democratic Chicago districts into traditionally Republican suburban ones, but not by so much as to put any Democratic majority at risk.
Traditionally, some of the suburban areas, particularly DuPage County, have been solidly Republican strongholds. While these figures are already changing somewhat, this redistricting might help push these state offices further away from Republicans.
The article also goes on to note how the second Hispanic district in the state could be located in the southwest suburbs “centered around Aurora and Joliet.”
Such a move to control suburban votes would go along with commentary that suggests suburban voters are critical for national political outcomes.