The biggest gainer will be Texas, a GOP-dominated state expected to gain up to four new House seats, for a total of 36. The chief losers — New York and Ohio, each projected by nongovernment analysts to lose two seats — were carried by Obama in 2008 and are typical of states in the Northeast and Midwest that are declining in political influence.
Democrats' problems don't end there.
November's elections put Republicans in control of dozens of state legislatures and governorships, just as states prepare to redraw their congressional and legislative district maps. It's often a brutally partisan process, and Republicans' control in those states will enable them to create new districts to their liking.
The combination of population shifts and the recent election results could make Obama's re-election campaign more difficult. Each House seat represents an electoral vote in the presidential election process, giving more weight to states Obama probably will lose in 2012. The states he carried in 2008 are projected to lose, on balance, six electoral votes to states that his GOP challenger, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, won. That sets a higher bar for Obama before his re-election campaign even starts.
"The way the maps have shifted have made Obama's route to success much more difficult," said Republican Party spokesman Doug Heye. He said the GOP takeover of several state governments on the eve of redistricting efforts was "a dramatic shift."
Republicans now control the governor's offices and both legislative chambers in competitive presidential states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Indiana, Maine and Wisconsin. They hold the governors' chairs in other crucial states, including Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia and Iowa.
When Obama carried those states in 2008, most had Democratic governors happy to lend their political operations to his cause. Now he will run where governors can bend their powers against his administration's policies and his campaign's strategies.
Democratic Party spokesman Brad Woodhouse said his colleagues are aware of the challenges they face, "but we are putting a plan in place to maximize our opportunities, minimize potential setbacks and ensure that the process in each state is fair and done in accordance with the law."
In other words, expect Democrats to put up some resistance to the redistricting plans in blood red states. The bad news? In states like Texas and Florida, the GOP has a supermajority in the state legislature, meaning that Democrats may not be able to do a damn thing about it.
It's going to be a hard road. We're going to see some crazy legislation come out of Florida, Texas, and other Southern and Southwestern states. Something tells me not everyone there is going to be particularly happy with one-party rule and it's very possible that the Republicans will go way over the line.
But they will push the political debate further to the right in America as they do it, and will continue to do so. And it's going to be extremely difficult to push back.