One of the chief complaints about President Trump is that his comportment, character and approach to governance pose unique threats to America's fundamental institutions. Some of these critiques are well-earned, while others are exaggerated or hysterical -- but their common theme is that Trump is eroding public trust and faith in our very system of government, and the mores by which it operates. And yet many of the very people who furrow their brows about norms and institutions are willing, if not eager, to attack any number of our core institutions when said institutions fail to produce their preferred political outcomes. To wit, various frustrated lefty writers have recently savaged or called for the abolishment of the electoral college, the United States Senate, and even the Supreme Court. Another popular pinata is the practice of partisan redistricting, known colloquially as 'gerrymandering' -- which is cast as a terrible anti-democratic scourge...when Republicans do it.
Democrats play the exact same games when they're empowered to do so, yet the media doesn't typically frame those machinations as an emergency in need of rectification because the media is heavily composed of Democrats and liberals. The reason the howling over gerrymandering has grown so loud in recent years is that Republicans controlled much of the process across the country, thanks to sweeping state-level wins in the 2010 midterm election blowout. With Democrats mounting their own blue wave this year, they're in a much stronger position to exert far greater influence over redistricting following the 2020 census -- at which point the gerrymandering panic may mysteriously subside. But even with Democrats' strong gains, liberal media outlets are still working to undermine the legitimacy of the results, suggesting that districts drawn by the GOP unfairly mitigated further victories to which Democrats were entitled. That may certainly be the case in specific places (with the opposite being true elsewhere), but take a look at these statistics about the national picture:
So for all the talk about gerrymandering and the structural favoritism for the GOP, Dems won 53.8% of the House seats. They won 53.2% of the "House popular vote."— Casey Mattox (@CaseyMattox_) November 29, 2018
Dont expect to see the talking points go away. https://t.co/sT22isMW8w
Democrats won 53.3% of House votes per Cook Political Report (this figure is inflated by ~1% because of districts where no Republican was on the ballot). They won 54% of seats in Congress (235/435).https://t.co/YmRm3HOPqg— Jason Willick (@jawillick) November 29, 2018
In my post earlier this week, I highlighted how Democrats' share of the approximate national "popular vote" aligned almost perfectly with the president's job disapproval rating. These additional factoids show that Democrats won precisely the share of House seats that they "should" have, based on their aggregate vote total. For the record, I don't actually believe that those two metrics need to be roughly even for an election to be considered fair or representative of public sentiment, and that there are non-insidious reasons why sometimes they do not match up neatly. The national House "popular vote" is something of an invented statistic, which has also been ignored by lefties, as needed. But for all the bellyaching from liberals about fiendish Republicans' grotesque contortions of the process in order to distort the results in their favor, Democrats won exactly the number of House seats under the GOP-dominated map as they would have if every House vote in the country were poured into a single pot, then seats were divvied up proportionally. (Relatedly, the "Senate popular vote" canard is pure garbage). Perhaps the system is working after all, and perhaps liberals should just go out and win more elections, rather than assailing our institutions as an expression of sour grapes. And since this analysis was largely focused on the House, I'll leave you with the farewell floor speech from its outgoing Speaker -- with you know who waiting in the wings:
Ryan added this fun quip on Twitter:
I still have that tie. https://t.co/I3PF5dyXhV— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) November 29, 2018