A shifting political map

Email sent: Apr 29, 2021 6:03pm

The United States census will result in two new congressional districts in Texas, one fewer in California and New York; Alexei Navalny was in court Thursday as his organization suffers from a crackdown by Russian officials. 


Tonight's Sentences was written by Gregory Svirnovskiy.

Census count shifting the political playing field away from the Rust Belt and into the Sun Belt
Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images
  • The decennial US census count is in. The official population of the United States now stands at 331 million people, but it's only grown by 7.35 percent since 2010, marking the slowest rate of population growth in the country since the Great Depression. [AP / Mike Schneider and Nicholas Riccardi]
  • The census count might be bad news for Democrats. States that have swung Republican in recent elections, like North Carolina and Florida, each gained one House seat; Texas gained two. Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, and New York, usually ground for Democrats, were among the states that lost a seat. [Reuters / Joseph Ax]
  • The new count makes the path to maintaining a Democrat majority in the House in the 2022 midterm elections rockier. But even before it, Republicans were odds-on favorites to soon take over the chamber. Since the end of World War II, the presidential party has lost an average of 27 House seats in midterm elections. Democrats currently have only a five-person majority. [538 / Geoffrey Skelley]
  • Many experts thought Texas would gain three House seats and that Arizona would pick up one. Minnesota and Rhode Island looked set to each lose a seat. None of that happened. [CNN / Dan Merica and Liz Stark]
  • Suspicions abound around the apparent undercount of Latino populations, reflected in lower than expected apportionment in Sun Belt states like Arizona, Texas, and Florida. This, despite years of advocacy by Latino politicians and activists. [Politico / Zach Montellaro and Ally Mutnick]
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Alexei Navalny appears in court after ending hunger strike
  • Russian dissident and political activist Alexei Navalny appeared via video screen at a court hearing Thursday, his first public appearance since ending almost a monthlong hunger strike last week. He was appealing a conviction for the alleged defamation of a World War II veteran in a social media post last year, charges widely seen as trumped up by Russian authorities. [NPR / Scott Neuman]
  • Navalny is currently imprisoned on charges of embezzlement, which the Russian government first attached to the activist as he was emerging on the national scene in 2012. He entered prison weighing 94 kilograms and is now down to 72, after launching a hunger strike to demand better medical care from officials. [BBC]
  • Last summer, Navalny almost died after being poisoned, allegedly at the behest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with the Soviet nerve agent Novichok, the same drug that killed former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. He was airlifted to Germany for treatment, where he recovered. He was detained immediately upon returning to Russia in January. [NBC News / Yuliya Talmazan, Matthew Bodner, and Patrick Smith]
  • The hearing came as Navalny’s headquarters and regional offices disbanded in the face of an impending court ruling that could ban them as extremists. A ruling could result in prison sentences for many of Navalny’s allies and bar his organization from using social media channels or raising money through the sale of merchandise. [Washington Post / Robyn Dixon]
  • Navalny has remained defiant in the face of continued suppression from Russian authorities. "I would like to say that your king is naked, and more than one little boy is shouting about it — it is now millions of people who are already shouting about it,” he said at the hearing. “It is quite obvious. Twenty years of incompetent rule have come to this: there is a crown sliding from his ears." [CNN / Anna Chernova, Sebastian Shukla, and Angela Dewan]
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects the city to fully reopen by July 1, citing rising vaccination rates and decreasing Covid-19 cases. It is unclear if de Blasio has the power to make that happen, or if the ability to lift restrictions rests only with New York Gov. Mario Cuomo.


  • New coronavirus cases in the United States fell by 16 percent this week, down from an average of 66,000 per day to 55,000 per day. Cases in Michigan, alarmingly high in recent weeks, are down by 30 percent. Ditto for New York. Cases are also falling in 24 other states. [Axios / Sam Baker and Andrew Witherspoon]
  • US jobless claims are likewise continuing to fall, dropping to 553,000 as the economy continues to rebound from the Covid-induced recession. [AP / Paul Wiseman]
  • A day after FBI agents orchestrated a raid on the home of former New York mayor and Trump acolyte Rudy Giuliani, the former president told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that the raid was “very unfair.” Trump called Giuliani, who is being investigated on allegations that he lobbied administration officials on behalf of Ukraine oligarchs, “a great patriot.” [The Hill / Julia Manchester]
  • The NFL Draft, an annual tradition that sorts college football's best players into their professional homes, kicks off tonight in Cleveland. Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback from Clemson, is projected to be the first pick. [NFL]
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[President Joe Biden speaking before a joint session of Congress for the first time Wednesday, on the eve of his 100th day in the Oval Office]

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