The ‘National Popular Vote’ is a Meaningless Metric in Non-Presidential Elections

The emergence of a silly talking point.

One take I’m seeing repeatedly in press and social media commentary by people who ought know better is that yesterday’s mixed election results are actually a massive Democratic  wave because the party won the “national popular vote” by huge margins.

Steve Benen for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow blog (“House ‘popular vote’ gives Democrats something to brag about“):

In the 1994 midterms, Republicans posted huge gains and took control of Congress. Time magazine published a cover image of a powerful, triumphant elephant crushing a donkey, under a headline that called it a “GOP stampede.”

Republicans had reason to crow at the time: by a 7.1% margin, American voters had backed GOP candidates over Democratic candidates.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, Democrats apparently won the House “popular vote” by 7%.

I realize Republicans, benefiting from a Senate map that was almost comically titled in their favor, are thrilled to see their majority grow in the upper chamber. I can also appreciate why many Democrats were disappointed to see some heartbreaking losses in key contests, especially in Florida.

But the scope of the House Democratic victories was rather extraordinary. I put together the above chart based on the findings from Princeton’s Sam Wang, who highlighted the popular-vote gap in House races in several recent cycles.

It was Wang’s viral tweet that drew my attention to the meme:

The NYT currently projects a national popular-vote margin of D+9.2%. The largest popular margin since 2008, larger than waves of 1994, 2006, 2010, 2014.

1994: R+7.1%
2006: D+8.0%
2008: D+10.6%
2010: R+7.2%
2014: R+5.7%

By historical standards, this a popular wave.

WaPo’s Aaron Blake notes people are doing the same with Senate races:

Democrats didn’t win everywhere Tuesday night, despite their clear momentum. They won over the House and some governor seats, but they also lost seats in the Senate, making their path back to the majority there more difficult than it was before.

How could that be? Unfairness, of course.

Now that the results have rolled in, some have begun citing a so-called Senate popular vote. It goes like this: Democrats won lots more votes, but they somehow lost seats.

[…]

But the Senate popular vote is a bogus stat for a whole host of reasons. It’s true that the Senate isn’t set up particularly favorably for Democrats — there were 30 red states in the 2016 election and 20 blue ones, and the many small red states such as Wyoming have the same number of senators as exponentially more populous blue states such as California and New York — but the Senate popular vote is not a stat that tells that tale.

The biggest problem with it is that not every state is up for reelection, leading to a skewed picture. If more Democratic seats are up for reelection, it stands to reason that Democrats will do well in the popular vote. And that’s exactly what happened in 2018: Democrats were defending 26 states, and Republicans just nine.

The second reason is California. It has a unique system in which the top two candidates advance to the general election, regardless of party. This year, that was two Democrats. That means all 6 million votes counted (with many more to come) go to the Democrats. Given California is by far the biggest state, that badly skews the national “Senate popular vote.” And in fact, the exact same thing happened in 2016, which was a big reason it was a highly misleading stat then, too.

Let’s assume there are eventually 9 million votes in California’s Senate races. If we apply the results of Tuesday’s governor’s race — Democrats’ 59.5 percent to Republicans’ 40.5 percent — that would give Democrats 5.3 million votes and the GOP 3.7 million. If you alter the numbers from the first tweet above to include this very plausible partisan split in California, Democrats’ national “Senate popular vote” edge would be reduced to 36.8 million to 35.2 million — a pretty even split.

But that’s not quite it. There’s also this: While Democrats lost seats on Tuesday night, they actually won most of the races that were held — at least 22 of the 35 seats, and possibly a couple more. That’s 63 percent or more of the seats, despite winning just 55 percent of the vote.

Sounds pretty unfair to Republicans, right?

Steven Taylor and I have combined to write a boatload of posts over the years arguing that the Electoral College, which allowed Donald Trump to win the presidency despite getting some three million fewer votes than his opponent, should be abolished or radically reformed. But that’s a completely different set of circumstances. While there are some problems with looking at a “national popular vote” by aggregating the results of 51 separate elections with their own internal dynamics, the concept is at least looking at Americans voting for the same office. It’s significant that the candidate who was preferred by significantly more of those who voted in an election lost.

Conversely, it makes no sense whatsoever to aggregate House or Senate races. They are completely idiosyncratic contests. Many House races, in particular, are completely non-competitive, featuring only token opposition. A significant number of Senate races fall into that category, too. It tells us very little to look at aggregate numbers. And that’s before we get into weirdnesses like the California race pitting two Democrats against one another.

On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. The Electoral College is a travesty and the Senate not too far behind in that score. The system for drawing Congressional districts, which allows those who control a state legislature at a given moment to skew the next decade’s elections is highly undemocratic. And that’s to say nothing of various voter suppression and disenfranchisement schemes. Those are real issues that deserve to be discussed more and spark major reform in our system.

“National votes” for the House and Senate, though, are silly metrics and we should stop pretending otherwise.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2018, Quick Takes, U.S. Constitution
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mattbernius says:

    On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. The Electoral College is a travesty and the Senate not too far behind in that score. The system for drawing Congressional districts, which allows those who control a state legislature at a given moment to skew the next decade’s elections is highly undemocratic. And that’s to say nothing of various voter suppression and disenfranchisement schemes. Those are real issues that deserve to be discussed more and spark major reform in our system.

    Repeated because, YES!

    James, thanks again for writing things like this (and including the issues of disenfranchisement and suppression as part of that list).

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  2. al Ameda says:

    interesting piece James.

    After watching wall-to-wall coverage last night, I certainly have no difficulty in imagining that Trump could win in 2020 despite losing the popular vote by 7 to 10 million votes.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    Repeating @mattbernius: but, respectfully, with a different conclusion,

    On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. The Electoral College is a travesty and the Senate not too far behind in that score. The system for drawing Congressional districts, which allows those who control a state legislature at a given moment to skew the next decade’s elections is highly undemocratic. And that’s to say nothing of various voter suppression and disenfranchisement schemes. Those are real issues that deserve to be discussed more and spark major reform in our system.

    If ‘the National Popular Vote’ helps the average voter understand how deeply anti-democratic our system is, how is that bad? Where is it written that Rs can oversimplify everything (death tax, pro-life, build the wall) but Ds must explain any nuance in their positions?

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  4. Justin Hobbs says:

    I tend to agree. The system was set up against more urban areas from the beginning. And maybe it’s time we go to a parliamentary system instead of the one we have. Or at least remove the limit on house reps and get district size back to something more manageable. And ax the EC for sure.

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  5. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: Is it even that oversimplified?

    The discrepancy between the percentage of the popular House vote and the percentage of seats won points right at the problems with gerrymandering.

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  6. JKB says:

    I just listened to an interview of Os Guinness on his new book, ‘Last Call for Liberty: How America’s Genius for Freedom Has Become Its Greatest Threat’. He proffers that the conflict in American politics/culture is between the revolution of 1776 and the one in 1789. Individual freedom vs the “new bosses”. It’s an interesting premise. I’ve got the book on order.

    It seems to me the push toward popular vote is a move toward 1789 and away from the ideal of 1776. In any case, the solution is simple. Have a civil war and impose the new constitution that doesn’t have those silly mechanisms to protect the more sparsely populated areas who won’t fall in line.

    Os Guinness argues that we face a fundamental crisis of freedom, as America’s genius for freedom has become her Achilles’ heel. Our society’s conflicts are rooted in two rival views of freedom, one embodied in “1776” and the ideals of the American Revolution, and the other in “1789” and the ideals of the French Revolution.

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  7. Franklin says:

    @gVOR08: But I don’t think it does help explain anything to the average voter. The vote count would have been completely different if the election rules were different yesterday – if, for example, we allocated congresspeople based on the total national vote, rather than individual races, then campaigning would be different and the people who showed up at the polls would be different, etc.

    It’s the same thing with the Presidential election. The “popular vote” would have been completely different numbers if that’s actually how we elected Presidents. It’s meaningless in our system.

    You want to explain it simply? Just stick to a couple very simple numbers: the number of people represented by Senators (or, say, electoral votes) in California and Wyoming.

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  8. Kathy says:

    The Electoral College is a travesty and the Senate not too far behind in that score.

    Agreed, but how to reform them?

    The EC is easier from a technical standpoint, though it would require a Constitutional amendment. There are many options, from abolishing it, to apportioning votes by population, to the Interstate Popular Vote Compact (which has very little chance of going into effect).

    The Senate would be harder in a technical sense. At least if one wanted to preserve the institution as a representation of the states. While that was its original intent, it’s not necessarily the only way to draw an upper chamber. And there’s much in favor of a 6-year term. For one thing there’s less pressure to conform to heated rhetoric that will pass in time (or there was in the past, before politics went national).

    Aside from those issues, there are many other things wrong with American politics today. The system as is worked well before partisan divisions grew so deep. These passions might pass, as they subsided briefly in the aftermath of 9/11, but that may takes years or even decades. Changing the system is easier, and more feasible, than changing the people. But there is a Catch-22 situation, too, in that the people won’t favor changing the system right now.

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  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    Conversely, it makes no sense whatsoever to aggregate House or Senate races.

    It makes perfect sense, as the difference between the aggregate results and the actual composition of the two houses demonstrate the structural biases built in to the electoral system. The Senate is increasingly becoming a minority tail wagging the dog.

    A society in which the majority will is constantly frustrated by an increasingly small minority is no going to remain stable in the long term.

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  10. Gustopher says:

    @JKB: 1776? So, the Declaration Of Independence?

    I don’t recall anything in there about favoring a complex system that allows the minority to rule over the majority. At least, not in the “we want this” side.

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  11. Eric Florack says:

    On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. The Electoral College is a travesty and the Senate not too far behind in that score.

    So you really want the entire country run by the electorate of New York City and Los Angeles?

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  12. Eric Florack says:

    It turns out that the only place that the Democrats were getting by with the only thing that they had to run on… namely “we hate Trump”, was in areas where they had a vastly superior enrollment, usually better than 50%.

    The pollsters were as usual inflating the Democrats chances, in this case the saying that we should have seen a 50 seat swing in the house. The Democrats got a total of 27 instead.

    The Socialist Stacey Abrams lost in Georgia, Gilliam lost in Florida..

    The fake Mexican with the Irish background spent 80 million dollars on that Senate race and still lost. I think we’ve got a reasonable argument that he shouldn’t be anywhere near appropriating tax money. It must be an absolute bear spending 80 million dollars, having a complicit and biased press helping you, and still losing to somebody that you clearly consider to be inferior to you.

    The Democrats literally poured money in, in spite of their professed belief that America is disgusted with Donald Trump and a ground change had occurred. A Blue Wave. A blue wave that simply didn’t happen. every one of the high-profile races, Folks, every single one where the Democrats were in there pulling out all the stops and pouring every dime they could into, they lost.

    And while we’re here, let’s make note of the fact that’s Battle Ground State Democrats who opposed Brett Kavanaugh all lost their reelection bids. Every one of them.

    Every single one. Just think about that for a minute.

    Sorry, that doesn’t strike me as being a pervasive mandate. at the very least impeachment doesn’t seem likely with so small a majority.

    But let’s consider the wins that the Democrats had.. admittedly, there were a few… among them, a man known to prey on underage prostitutes, along with the series of corruptions that would take longer than I have to type them. An anti-semitic America hater who married her brother and another anti-semitic racist who beats on women, and an avowed socialist with the approximate IQ of a door stop. and up in the Looney State of California, they managed to put in the governor’s mansion the only person in California who was actually worse than Jerry Brown.

    Yes, Nancy Pelosi and The Usual Suspects will be running things in the house for the next two years. But as I have said in these spaces before, the biggest prevention of the re- election of Democrats, is Democrats in power. In two years after watching Nancy Pelosi and her insane and corrupt band of guano salesmen in action, at the very least Donald Trump is a lock for reelection. And I suspect a great deal more.

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  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @JKB: He’s full of it. Point 1: the Founding Fathers had experienced the results of government under the Articles of Confederation and knew it had to be changed. Point 2: Abraham Lincoln (among others) later came around to the position that the Constitution needed to reflect the principles in the Declaration of Independence if it was to endure. The conflict between the two is largely in the fevered imaginations of fringe scholars.

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  14. Kathy says:

    @Gustopher:

    His dates are all off. The declaration was signed in 1776, the Constitution was ratified in 1787 or 88, and the French Revolution was a melange of ideologies, political systems, and wars both civil and foreign, which lasted from 1789 to 1799. That was followed by Napoleon’s empire until 1814 or so, and ended up with the restoration of the Bourbon monarchs.

    Much of what constitutes the modern European states didn’t develop until modern times, though some can trace their origins back to the various revolutions of 1848 (like suffrage or written constitutions).

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  15. drj says:

    @Gustopher:

    The Constitution, which – admittedly – dates from 1787-88 rather than 1776, granted the states the power to set voting requirements. Which meant that the franchise was generally extended only to property-owning white males (initially only ca 6% of the population).

    Not until the 24th Amendment (1962) did states lose the power to condition the right to vote on the payment of a poll tax. Women, of course, didn’t get the right to vote until 1920.

    In other words, the US was built on minority rule.

    Just like the modern-day GOP, JKB wants to go back to minority rule. He only lacks the guts to openly admit this. Hence all the nonsense about “a Republic, not a democracy.”

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  16. steve says:

    James- The Congressional popular vote is important only in that it helps provide a metric to describe what is going on when you say “On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. ” I don’t think a democracy is going to hold up very well if most people keep voting for one party, but the other party holds all of the power. Sooner or later there needs to be some kind of linkage between having the most votes and winning elections.

    Steve

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  17. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: Humm…. Respectfully submit that the Constitutional Convention was light-years from almost any aspect of the French Revolution, for #1. In fact, I’d argue that the ‘spirit of ’76’ was more anarchical at some times and in some places than the elite assembly that wrote our Founding Document; there was no Thomas Paine, no ‘Common Sense’. There was a room full of rich fellows who knew Blackstone’s law and, often, Latin and Greek and the ancient histories. Shea’s rebellion was on their minds and seen through the lens of classical education.

    This is pretty reasonable when you think about it. After all, the ’76 crew went to war against their own Crown at the risk of their lives. The ’89 bunch was trying to make an arrangement among various states. Completely different mind-sets are required in the two situations.

    Just FWIW.

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  18. Gustopher says:

    @Eric Florack: ok, I’ll bite… who is the “anti-semitic America hater who married her brother”?

    Also, do you know if it’s an open relationship? Because it sounds HOT! I mean, a boy can dream, right?

    And who enjoys the favors of underage prostitutes? And what world do you live in?

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  19. Kylopod says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The pollsters were as usual inflating the Democrats chances, in this case the saying that we should have seen a 50 seat swing in the house. The Democrats got a total of 27 instead.

    First of all, though not all the races have been called yet, the Democratic seat gain is currently projected to be somewhere in the mid-30s (34 at the latest).

    Second, please tell me which pollster claimed the Dems were going to pick up 50 seats. Pollsters don’t generally make exact estimates of seat change, they simply release a generic-ballot poll, and it’s up to analysts like 538 to estimate how that translates into seat gains. 538 projected an average gain of 39 seats for the Dems, though assigned a significant probability to a much lower or higher gain. A gain of 34 seats is almost perfectly in line with the results of 538’s model.

    Finally, your claim that pollsters “as usual” inflate the Dems’ chances is, as usual, hogwash. Sometimes polls overestimate the Dems, sometimes they overestimate the Repubs. The polls projected Heller to win in Nevada, and he lost (in fact Nevada has a consistent pattern of underestimating Dem candidates over the past decade). Dems wildly outperformed their polls in the 2017 Virginia elections and the Alabama Senate election. For that matter, Obama did a lot better than the polls indicated in 2012.

    Like weather forecasts that don’t come true, polling errors are mostly a reflection of uncertainty or flawed methodology, not political bias.

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  20. An Interested Party says:

    Hmm…the above bloviating diatribe, with its talk of “socialists” and “Looney” states looks like that of someone who is scared…much like Trump’s performance at that press conference today…and they should be scared…amazing what a little oversite will turn up…

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  21. Franklin says:

    @Eric Florack:

    The pollsters were as usual inflating the Democrats chances, in this case the saying that we should have seen a 50 seat swing in the house. The Democrats got a total of 27 instead.

    You have an imagination more vivid than my children’s. Very impressive.

    Here’s a link to 538’s final forecast: 39 seats

    Even your incomplete total of 29 seats is within a standard deviation. Sorry if you don’t understand statistics.

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  22. DrDaveT says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So you really want the entire country run by the electorate of New York City and Los Angeles?

    You must have been the despair of your math teachers.

    20 million people in Greater New York.
    13 million people in Greater Los Angeles.
    325 million people in the US.

    33/325 = just over 10%. Yes, I am perfectly fine with having the denizens of NYC and LA have a 10% say in how the country is to be run. Why wouldn’t I be?

    Now, flip that — how many Americans are currently represented by Republican senators? How many by Democrats? The combined populations of Idaho, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and Alaska is less than 5 million people, 1.5% of the national population. But they get 10% of the votes in the Senate. I’d be a lot happier with the 10% of American in NYC and LA running the country than the 1.5% in the vacant west.

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  23. James Joyner says:

    @steve:

    James- The Congressional popular vote is important only in that it helps provide a metric to describe what is going on when you say “On a broader level, I’m concerned that we’ve set up a system that over-represents the interest of rural and small-state voters. ”

    I think a metric that did that would be useful; I just don’t think this is it. California’s weird rules for statewide elections, which typically pits two Democrats against one another, pretty much obviates the metric on its own. Additionally, there are so many non-competitive races, where the minority party essentially doesn’t run a candidate. There’s the existence or non-existence of gubernatorial races and controversial ballot initiatives. Really, the presidential vote is the only time when aggregating national numbers makes any sense—and even then it’s not a perfect measure given that the outcomes are pre-ordained in many states, which encourages low turnout there.

    @gVOR08:

    If ‘the National Popular Vote’ helps the average voter understand how deeply anti-democratic our system is, how is that bad? Where is it written that Rs can oversimplify everything (death tax, pro-life, build the wall) but Ds must explain any nuance in their positions?

    If your argument is simply that the practice has useful propaganda value, it’s quite possible that you’re right. That doesn’t obviate my argument that it doesn’t actually measure what it purports to measure in a useful way.

    @Gustopher:

    The discrepancy between the percentage of the popular House vote and the percentage of seats won points right at the problems with gerrymandering.

    I haven’t thought through it enough but it might be useful at the state level. While there would still be some distortions from the aggregation, pointing out that Democrats got X more votes than Republicans in State Y but won Z fewer seats is at least a useful conversation starter.

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  24. Resistance Ron says:

    I think you’re missing the point. All this talk of “gerrymandered Senate seats” is just to delegitimitize everything about Trump and the Republicans.

    Trump is illegitimate because of the meaningless popular vote. SCOTUS is illegitimate because you tossed out random allegations against Kavanaugh.
    Now the Senate is illegitimate because the GOP won more seats.

    It is funny tho. I don’t recall all that much talk about the Injustice Of It All not too long ago when the Democrats controlled the House, the Presidency, and had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. I don’t recall anyone on the left saying that there really should be a change to the system in order to better represent rural areas.

    The right sat down, figured out where they were failing, and found a way to win again. Democrats don’t seem able to do that and just want to change the rules to favor them.

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  25. @James:

    I don’t have time to fully respond at the moment, but here’s what I tweeted when I saw Doug’s links to this post (reacting to the headline):

    “No. No its not. It lacks legal significance. But it is clear metric of general popular sentiment. More importantly is it a measure of how well the electoral system actually represents the population. It is extremely important. It certainly isn’t meaningless.”

    It matters just as much that the national popular vote for the House is out of whack with the seats produced therein as it does that the EC distorts the national sentiment for president.

    It is a direct indicator of how representative the House is vis-a-vis the general population.

    Disjunctures in the Senate vote just underscores how unrepresentative the Senate is, but it is different problem than the House vote.

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  26. Many House races, in particular, are completely non-competitive, featuring only token opposition.

    That is a direct results of our retrograde electoral system (to borrow a term a friend of mine keeps using).

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  27. mattbernius says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    The right sat down, figured out where they were failing, and found a way to win again. Democrats don’t seem able to do that and just want to change the rules to favor them.

    The issue is that a key part of the right “finding a way to win” was *changing the rules* to favor them at the state level through things like gerrymandering, voter suppression, and disenfranchisement. The fact that a moderate data driven Republican like James is willing to call this out by name demonstrates how obvious this is.

    I’m not saying its the only thing they did, but it is and remains part of the strategy.

    And for most of us, the idea of improving election law at least as James, Steven, and many of think about it *isn’t* specifically to change the rules to favor Democrats. It’s to change the system to make it less susceptible to tampering from either party (i.e. independent redistricting councils or use of transparent algorithms that have been proven to minimize bias or proportional distribution of seats).

    Increasing the number of seats in the House would also help — and would be more in keeping with the original concept for those originalists out there.

    This isn’t about partisanship, it’s about ensuring a more representative Democracy (rather than leaving everything up to who controls state government in census and redistricting years).

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  28. And to be clear: my position on the national popular vote for the House is not a new one that just came up this weekend. I have noted it before here at OTB and it is mentioned in print both in A Different Democracy and my recent chapter on the US electoral system in The Oxford Handbook of Electoral Studies–mostly in those cases to note how in the US is it possible to win the House and lose the national popular vote (as happened as recently as 2012).

    Such outcomes indicate a seriously underlying democratic deficiency in an electoral system, especially to elect s body called the House of Representatives.

    More when I have time to write a proper post.

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  29. @James Joyner:

    I think a metric that did that would be useful; I just don’t think this is it. California’s weird rules for statewide elections, which typically pits two Democrats against one another, pretty much obviates the metric on its own.

    That system is a mess for a variety of reasons. And yes, it creates data questions. Although, ultimately that can be handled.

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  30. @Steven L. Taylor: But California’s Top Two system is not creating the distortions in the pop vote. That is a long-standing problem.

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  31. @mattbernius:

    And for most of us, the idea of improving election law at least as James, Steven, and many of think about it *isn’t* specifically to change the rules to favor Democrats. It’s to change the system to make it less susceptible to tampering from either party

    More specifically, speaking for myself, I want a system that more accurately reflects voter preferences, and therefore is more accurately representative of the country.

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  32. mattbernius says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    More specifically, speaking for myself, I want a system that more accurately reflects voter preferences, and therefore is more accurately representative of the country.

    Thanks for that important clarification Steven — and I definitely +1.

    Jenos is correct in thinking that such structural rule changes would most likely favor Democrats (in aggregate) if they were implemented today. However that’s primarily because the current system actively disfavors them at this moment (this is a well proven fact). Therefore any more equitable system will cause a shift in the short term.

    Again, the point is most of us are concerned with long term equity and enfranchisement, not any short term political gains that will come from establishing a more equitable system.

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  33. Catchling says:

    Another issue I don’t think got touched on here is that people are, quite reasonably, less inclined to vote where the race isn’t close at all, which means the overall popular total is skewed in favor of geographic areas that happen to have competitive races. If each district used a better electoral system, then the national vote would mean more.

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  34. @mattbernius:

    Jenos is correct in thinking that such structural rule changes would most likely favor Democrats (in aggregate) if they were implemented today.

    This is empirically true and I am sure this fact motivates a lot of the commentary on this subject.

    Of course, these structural issues are longstanding and it takes people a long time to notice (especially given our Framers’ worship).

    The first step towards reform is citizen recognition that that is a flaw in the existing system (and that is usually motivated by partisanship–but, of course, defense of the existing system also often has partisan motivation).

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  35. al Ameda says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    Trump is illegitimate because of the meaningless popular vote.

    Exactly, just count the number states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures take a glance at the popular vote numbers just to be sure and that’s it, plan the inauguration of your next Republican president.

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  36. @Resistance Ron:

    Trump is illegitimate because of the meaningless popular vote. SCOTUS is illegitimate because you tossed out random allegations against Kavanaugh.
    Now the Senate is illegitimate because the GOP won more seats.

    I have noted more than once, including in a post, that Trump is the legitimate president. The rules that elected him are terrible, however (but they are the rules).

    Kavanaugh passed legitimately though the process, although his appointment and confirmation is clearly tainted.

    The Senate isn’t illegitimate, but it is highly unrepresentative.

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  37. gVOR08 says:

    The Kochs were not alone. As they sought ways to steer American politics hard to the right without having to win the popular vote, they got valuable reinforcement from a small cadre of like-minded wealthy conservative families who were harnessing their own corporate fortunes toward the same end. Philanthropy, with its guarantees of anonymity, became their chosen instrument. But their goal was patently political: to undo not just Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal but Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Era, too.

    – Jane Mayer. Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right

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  38. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I have noted more than once, including in a post, that Trump is the legitimate president. The rules that elected him are terrible, however (but they are the rules).

    Lex iniusta non est lex

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  39. @Stormy Dragon: Sure, but unless you are going to say that the electoral results are null and void and that the government ought to be dissolved, you are engaging in more than a bit of hyperbole.

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