Infographic shows the Blue Wave in action

Originally published at:


Thank you @frauenfelder this actually does make me feel better today.


News over here indicated that few presidents could enhance their parties majority in Senate during their terms. Any comments on that from people more knowledgeable in US politics than me?

First past the post has to go. This system makes it hard to get things changed in government. This is why I hope the proportional representation referendum passes here in British Columbia this fall.


That’s generally true in the house, where everyone is up at once. The Senate usually comes down to the specifics of which seats are up.


I don’t think that I’d characterized the senate as “cheating.” Those are the rules and the parties are following them. Certainly those rules are anti-democratic, because they destroy any semblance of “one person, one vote.” Perhaps “institutionalized unfairness.” Or maybe “institutional ruralism.” Or an “intentional bias.”


Few presidents do, largely because midterms are essentially referendum elections. However, the Senate isn’t all up for re-election at the same time the way the House is (6 year terms for everyone, with a different third of the body up for re-election every 2 years), and this year’s map was considerably tilted in favor of the Republicans to begin with, just by dumb luck. If you check out this graphic from the Guardian, you can see how Dems were at a disadvantage in terms of what was actually up for grabs this time around:


That’s a lot of ground to have to cover before even getting close to the finish line if you’re on the blue end of the field.

On top of that, several of the seats in this election were held by Democrats in either strongly-Republican (North Dakota and Missouri) or lean-Republican (Florida, Indiana) territory, from elections where Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and the electorate was generally bluer. Despite the general national backlash against Trump, those states still turned out considerable numbers of pro-Republican (or at the very least, anti-Democratic) voters. Factor in ugly suppression tactics like North Dakota essentially disenfranchising the entire Native American population in the state (a group that votes heavily Democratic) and a slate of Republican candidates that doesn’t include people who say stupid things about “legitimate rape”, and it’s not too hard to see how Democrats managed to lose seats in the Senate despite the national wave in their direction in the House.


You might have a point if all 100 senators were up for election. But they weren’t. Far more Democrats were up than Republicans, and far more Democrats were indeed elected. If you include independents who caucus with Democrats (whose voters are included in the total votes you quote), 23 democrats were elected vs 9 republicans, with 3 more still undecided, but leaning R. That means that democrat’s roughly 55% vote share elected democrats in at least 66% of the races. Could be as many as 74% of the races if Dems take the remaining 3.


The really unfair thing about last night is how the Democrats needed about 53-54% of the popular vote JUST TO TIE in the House, which is supposed to be representative, but isn’t, because we have way too few representatives, and because more current gerrymandering favors Republicans than Democrats.


Trump mostly just got lucky on the timing. This election cycle most of the Senate seats up for grabs were already controlled by Democrats, so in order to make any gains they would have to successfully defend all their existing seats and make major gains in places that almost always vote Republican.


I hope so too, and I’m working hard to make sure it happens.

(…Well, not that hard, but I am doing some volunteer door knocking and phone calling.)

The numbers of voters are heartening, now we must do it again in 2020.


Because Connecticut wanted a check on slave states. Makes sense to me.

The world’s greatest democracy: No direct election of a national leader. Only a select minority rules, majority will be damned.

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The demographic “rigging” of the Senate is built into the Constitution–a state is not the same as a gerrymandered House district. As has been pointed out already, the pathologies that affect Senate campaigns comes in the shape of voter-suppression tactics (North Dakota, Georgia, Texas). Add fear-mongering and rabble-rousing on the part of Trump & Co. and you can leverage red-state populations. A similar dynamic applies to gubernatorial elections, which are state-wide and not subject to gerrymandering. (But combine a gerrymandered state-legislature map with a shameless jerk like Scott Walker and watch the fun that ensues.)


Still kind of wild that a voter in Wyoming has almost 70 times as much influence in the United States Senate as a voter in California.


Senate was going to be brutal for the Dems this year, most simply because more than 2/3 of the seats up for election were already Democratic. Dropping a couple seats doesn’t surprise me. The Dems still dominate this cohort of Senate seats.

Haven’t checked to see the mix of D/R for seats up in 2020, but that may be a better opportunity.


That’s by design. Granted, we can discuss whether 200+ years later it is still the best design.


Yeah, I’d say it’s overdue for an overhaul. So is the primary system that incentivizes Presidential candidates to spend months personally kissing every ass they can find in Iowa and New Hampshire while virtually ignoring the states where most Americans actually live.


In his own words:

Ye gods I miss Howard Zinn.
Because, yeah, 200+ years on, there are definitely issues.