Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two things to keep in mind about the midterm elections:

- It wasn't just a win for the Democrats, it was a landslide. According to Wikipedia, the Democratic party captured 57.7% of the House vote. By contrast, no presidential candidate in the last 20 years managed to achieve this.

- As a consequence of gerrymanding, the actual results of the election are heavily skewed towards Republicans. Democrats have so far won 53.3% of the seats in the House, with a small number of seats still undecided. Compare that with 57.7%, and you have about a 4% edge for Republicans built into the system. Even the supposedly most democratic element of the American system of government - direct election to the House of Representatives - is not very democratic at all.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger bza said...

Sasha, I was waiting for this info myself, thanks! That is a crazy landslide victory! A bigger margin than the Republicans win in 94 even.

Canada also somewhat suffers from this skewing as well. The downtown Vancouver riding for example has 150,000 constiuents. While rural Canadian riding tend to have on average, 70,000 people or less. Some of the northern ridings have as little as 25,000 constiuents.

So its a case of proportionality vs have a decent sized riding that allows the people to be represented adequately. Still, the 57% figure does give the Democrats a huge mandate of change.

At 12:27 AM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Alex, is the edge that's built into the system an edge for *Republicans* or an edge for the party in power (at the federal and state level)? In other words, at least as I've always understood it, gerrymandering favors incumbents, not necessarily Republicans.

At 1:02 AM, Blogger alex said...

Yeah, that is what I meant: because Republicans had control over more state governments at the time of the redistricting in 2002, the system currently favors them by about 4%.

At 7:06 PM, Blogger Kate Marie said...

Thanks, Alex.

For what it's worth, I hate gerrymandering.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger alex said...

I think a constitutional amendment banning it - similar to the rules that already exist in Iowa - would be a great idea. And while we're making the system more democratic, lets get rid of the electoral college and the senate too.


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