Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Federal elections are stacked to favor the GOP

There are 55 Republican U.S. Senators out of 100 total (44 Democrats and one Democratic-leaning Independent).

You would think that Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate get more votes, combined, than Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate. About 55% of the total vote.

That would make for a legislature that reflects the voters.

And. . . you would be wrong.

Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate actually earned *more* votes than Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate.

And, in total, got far fewer seats in the legislature.

That, to me, is appalling.

A majority of voters in Senate races voted for Democrats. And the Republicans dominate the chamber.

You have to add up the votes from 2004, 2002 and 2000 because Senators get six year terms. And the data is 'skewed' by races like our own in Illinois, where Barack Obama earned more than a million more votes than Alan Keyes.

But that's the point -- even though we sent Obama to D.C. in a landslide with a bigger margin of victory than total votes in other states, we only get one Senator out of all that.

That's not fair.

That is not democratic.

That's political affirmative action for Republicans.

The data is here -- far from official and subject to mistakes, I'm sure, so if anyone else crunches the numbers and comes up with a different figure, please let me know.

And yes, I understand that this unfair, undemocratic way of electing the highest legislative chamber in the world's only superpower was an intentional decision made more than 220 years ago by long dead men. I also think it's a bad decision to continue to make in 2005.


Anonymous said...

Time to get rid of federalism and the states. It is a dated concept. Dan can you figure out how many votes per electoral vote there was in California vs. Idaho? My guess is the difference is shocking. So basically if you are a rural hick scared of anything different than yourself, you get a weighted vote.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you act like you think we live in a democracy, rather than a democratic republic. A more interesting take ran in the New Yorker a year or two ago, noting, in passing, that if African-Americans all lived in the smallest states, there would likely be something like 40 black Senators. That's what the Senate is set up to do -- protect the interests of small states.
Not that I'm not appalled, I'm just not shocked.

Daniel said...

Hey, the Constitution was created with states rights protections in mind. The federalization of the 14-17th amendments was created out of the ashes of the Civil War during Reconstruction when half the states couldn’t exactly do a damn thing about it. Changing the Constitution to take away power from the small states just isn’t going to happen since 2/3 of the states have to approve.

I find it amazing Democrats held onto a majority of the Senate anytime in the last twenty years. Times two the number of blue states in 2004 and you get thirty-six. We are going to continue to bleed Senate seats over the next couple elections as we lose Southern and Western Senators to retirement.

Look to the Electoral College, by population the state of Wyoming should have .7 of one vote. Instead, they have 3 votes, one for each Representative and each Senator.

The Presidency and Senate are both skewed to the individual states with the Republicans the heavy beneficiary. But the upside is that we were within 60k votes of winning the Presidency with a war going on and with the economy bouncing back. If we can find a voice on national security by 2008, we might pull an upset.

The House is where Democrats should be the beneficiaries due to population. However, due to gerrymandering and the Congressional Black Caucus cutting deals with the Republicans for heavy majority minority districts much of that advantage has been lost. Despite this, I still think the House is our best shot long-term, but we are going to have to win governorships and state legislatures before the next census redistricting.

How about we build a leftist city in a state like Wyoming? Another 100,000 votes in that state would send 2 more Democrats to the Senate. Only kidding of course. ;-)

Stephen said...

Would you favor a single legislative body? Or maybe you'd rather reorganize a few Blue states into multiple Blue states? The three west coast might make a dozen or more New England sized states, if you could get the legislatures and populations of those three states to voluntarily give up power.

FightforJustice said...

The distribution of senators by state rather than by population is one feature of the Constitution that may not be changed according to Article V, which states "no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of equal suffrage in the Senate."

The reason Democrats had more senate seats in the past was because southern Dems were conservative. As they retire, they are replaced with Republican conservatives.

I doubt Dems will win a majority in the U.S. House for the rest of the decade. May I point out that during the early '90s when Dems still controlled the House, it was Republican candidates who received more votes nationwide.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan-

How come you refer to the Republican Party as the GOP? The Democratic Party is older, and I assume you think it's also "grander"; what's up with endorsing a doubly-untrue abbreviation?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I do favor a single legislative body that gives each voter, whether a Wyoming farmer or a California farmer, equal power. I do like the idea of a leftist city in Wyoming or South Dakota. . . maybe we should move some people out there. (Only half-joking, given how radically skewed our federal elections are to Republicans). Is that true that the Republicans got more votes than the Dems during the 90s? Could you verify that? And while I guess the Democrats are 'grander' than the Republicans, I think GOP stands for Get Off my Property.