Republicans Expanded Senate Majority – Despite Losing Popular Vote By 12%
The supposed blue wave that was predicted to wash across the country and bring Democrats to political offices turned out closer to a rising tide than a sweeping wave, as the opposition party managed to secure a majority in the House and took several key governorships.
But despite the Democrats’ sizable 8 percent win in the total popular vote and 12 percent victory in the popular vote for the Senate, winning 40,558,262 votes to 31,490,026 votes, Republicans ended up expanding their majority in Congress’ upper chamber.
As the ballot boxes closed and the votes were counted, the results showed that Democrats had won more than the necessary 218 seats to create a majority in the House, and managed to flip governor’s seats in key states like Kansas, Michigan and Wisconsin.
At the same time, Republicans managed to expand their holdings in the Senate by three seats despite the fact that they only won around 43 percent of the popular vote for the Senate.
The Republicans’ larger majority expands their ability to push through confirmations and protecting President Donald Trump from possible impeachment proceedings.
The Republican victory in the Senate has left many voters wondering how the American political system makes it possible for a party that lost the popular vote by such a wide margin to gain political power.
The way the Senate is structured under the Constitution makes it so every state, regardless of its size, wealth or population, has two representatives in the upper chamber.
This was meant to force a measure of political equality across the states during a time when the nation’s overall population was smaller than that of Chicago, and the question of slavery gave the Southern States greater political power.
Several factors explain the disparity between the number of votes and the number of seats won in the Senate.
Not every Senatorial seat was up for grabs this election cycle, and 24 of the total 35 seats were held by Democrats before the election. Given that, the fact that Democrats sent 22 people to the Senate this cycle, or 63 percent of the available positions, their 55.4 to 43 percent win in the popular vote appears to give them the unfair advantage.
California’s system of deciding its allotted Senators also skews the numbers, as California advances the top two candidates in the election to the general election. This year’s midterms saw two Democrats take the leading spots, making every ballot cast in that particular race Democratic.
If incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California was facing a Republican candidate, then Republicans would have gained almost an additional 3 million in their popular vote count, somewhat evening the numbers.
Regardless of this, critics of the current political distribution argue for change in the political system to make it more reflective of the nation’s majority opinion.
They argue that it is unfair that comparatively small states like Wyoming and Rhode Island have equal say in the direction and governance of the country as states that dwarf them in terms of population and economic contribution like California, Texas and New York.