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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GOP Edge in the House and the Senate

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.

At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman explains why Republicans have an advantage in both chambers of Congress.
This is partly attributable to the nature of House districts: GOP gerrymandering and Democratic votersclustering in urban districts has moved the median House seat well to the right of the nation. Part of it is bad timing. Democrats have been cursed by a terrible Senate map in 2018: They must defend 25 of their 48 seats1 while Republicans must defend just eight of their 52.

But there’s a larger, long-term trend at work too — one that should alarm Democrats preoccupied with the future of Congress and the Supreme Court.
In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations.