The Democrats’ Electoral Disadvantage Is Getting Worse

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At FiveThirtyEight, David Wasserman has a heartwarming analysis of why the Democratic Party is pretty much hosed in Congressional elections for the foreseeable future:

Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats.
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In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations.
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In 2016, Trump lost the national popular vote by 2.1 percentage points, but Republicans won the median House seat by 3.4 points and the median Senate seat by 3.6 points — that’s the widest Senate gap in at least a century and tied with 2012 for the widest House disparity in the last half-century.

The Senate is where the GOP has the largest built-in advantage, since so many Democratic voters are concentrated in a few large states:

Today, Republicans don’t even need to win any “swing states” to win a Senate majority: 52 seats are in states where the 2016 presidential margin was at least 5 percentage points more Republican than the national outcome. By contrast, there are just 28 seats in states where the margin was at least 5 points more Democratic, and only 20 seats in swing states.

With Democrats poised to be the minority party in the Senate for as far as the eye can see, the case for doing away with the filibuster is overwhelming. Still, Republicans can plausibly look forward to filibuster-proof Senate majorities:

[A]ll Republicans would need to obtain 60 seats would be to win every seat in the 30 states that Trump won — no Clinton states needed. That’s a plausible outcome over a few election cycles, thanks to today’s extraordinarily high rates of straight-ticket voting — if the basic contours of the nation’s political geography don’t drastically change in the next decade.

The implications beyond Congress, especially for the Supreme Court, should deeply worry Democrats.

Good point! The Democrats have refused to accept the result of the 2016 presidential election, and Senate Democrats have done everything possible, despite their minority status, to block President Trump from staffing his administration and making routine judicial appointments. Don’t think the Republicans aren’t taking notes. Next time we have a Democratic president, he or she will in all probability be dealing with a Republican Senate. If a majority-Republican Senate copies the minority Democrats’ 2017 playbook, a Democratic administration can be brought to a halt and never permitted to function. The Democrats asked for it. Let’s hope they get it, good and hard.