The latest number I’ve seen is 8.5 percent blue over 50, for the House. That’s the popular vote: the sum total of all House elections, 58.5 percent team blue. Almost 59 out of every 100 persons who voted, are part of the blue wave.
When we talk of the ‘blue wave’ we often mean the outcome: the number of seats held after the election much greater than those held before. And, absent Republican gerrymandering, that’s exactly what would have happened. But as of right now, the Democrats, for all their popular vote advantage, have 50.6% of the House. If all the outstanding House races come back in their favor (doubtful) they best they could do is about 56%… I expect it will fall somewhere between 51.5 and 52.5…
How do you push nearly 60% tally and end up with only 52% of the representation?
That’s what Republican gerrymandering does. It works the other way, also: In 2012 the Republicans got 52% of the house popular vote but claimed 58% of the seats in the House of Representatives. Maybe we should take to calling it the House of not-very-Representatives…
Unfortunately, people tend to equate the outcome with the underlying effect and normalize the inequality. (Mathematicians will wince at that last phrase…) People are saying the blue wave did not materialize. It did. People voted, in a near record turnout midterm, blue by a large margin — 9% of a very big number is a big number [edit: estimated 114 million votes, or 49%, shattering midterm records] — but which margins were blunted by gerrymandering.
It is, and will continue to be, important to point out that the Republicans, when they win the congressional popular vote, do so by very slim margins and that gerrymandering has helped them to even more margins. On the other hand, when Democrats win the congressional popular vote, they often do so by very large margins… but they don’t get the full benefits because of gerrymandering.
It is also important to point out that the Republicans have lost the Presidential popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections and, in fact, have not gotten higher than 51% in thirty years When George H W Bush got 53% in 1988… (The popular vote for the Senate is essentially meaningless because in the Senate the representation is for States and not persons… although, originally it was through state houses that the Senators were appointed so it was a sort of second order representation. Though, even here we can continually see distinctly more blue votes in toto.)
The majority of the country votes blue a majority of the time. Team Red has, however, stymied this majority with gerrymandering and other underhanded techniques including lies and calumny. It is a situation that cannot continue.
[edit: I changed ‘twenty’ to ‘thirty’ as the difference between 2018 and 1988 is, indeed, thirty and I fall down on attention to detail, derp on me.
Also added turnout estimate…