I ran some “Battleground State”numbers…and they’re not pretty.
As we enter the final weekend before Tuesday’s election day, I thought I’d take a break from writing about THE ELECTION and talk, instead, about, uh, elections.
To be clear, this a break from THE ELECTION, but not a break from our broken political system.
I don’t know if you noticed it, but there are three states in the news a lot lately, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In each of these states, every one of the the statewide elected officials, the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the secretary of state, etc. are Democrats. And, in each of these states, both houses of the legislature are controlled by Republicans. This is particularly important given the outsized role that state legislatures play in selecting electors to the Electoral College.
(Shirley, I thought he said he wasn’t going to talk about THE ELECTION.)
That got me thinking. Does this mean that in each of these states the majority of voters are Democrats? And that a tiny, little thing called gerrymandering has resulted in a Republican minority allowing Republicans to control the legislature, the branch of government that can block almost anything a Democratic governor wants to get done, and also confirms or rejects the states’ Supreme Court justices, effectively perpetuating the scam.
I wanted to test out this minority rule supposition, so I ran the numbers.
Please be aware, this gets a little wonky, so before you start nodding off, you might want to skip to the final paragraph.
(Seymour, did he say a little wonky???? What does “wonky” mean and what part of “little” doesn’t he understand?)
As the chart above shows, in the Michigan statewide elections, Democrats won almost 52% of the vote to 45% for Republicans (3rd party candidates made up the rest). Almost 300,00 more votes were cast for Democrats than Republicans.
The legislative results were similar. In the Senate, Democrats, with a plurality of 91,932, took 51% of the vote, while in the Assembly, it was 52%/48% and a 193,107 vote plurality. Yet Republicans won 22 Senate seats (58%) and 58 Assembly seats (53%).
Pennsylvania is even more lopsided than Michigan. In the statewide elections Democrats won almost 55% of the vote to 45% for Republicans. Over 510,00 more votes were cast for Democrats than Republicans.
In the Senate and Assembly the results were similar to the statewide results. In the Senate, Democrats, with a plurality of almost 200,540 votes, took 54% of the vote, while in the Assembly, it was Democrats 55%, Republicans 44% and an almost 500,000 Democratic vote plurality. Yet Republicans won 29 Senate seats (58%) and 110 Assembly seats (54%).
The situation in Wisconsin is slightly, but only slightly, different than Michigan and Pennsylvania. While Democrats took the statewide elections with an almost 300,000 vote margin (51%/48%), and the Assembly by an almost 200,000 vote margin (53%/45%), they fell behind Republicans in the Senate races by 70,000 votes, taking only 47% of the votes. But wait…that 47% of the vote garnered them only 37% of the seats. Oh, by the way, that 53% Assembly majority garnered only 33% of the seats.
Whew! Here comes the final paragraph.
What did we learn from all this? Well, we learned that Democratic voters are solidly in the majority in each of these battleground states. We also learned because of gerrymandering and other arcane rules, each is a state where minority rules and democracy has lost. And finally, we learned that our electoral problem is both serious and ubiquitous. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “The times SHOULD BE a changin’!”