Americans voted for Democratic Senate candidates than Republicans; this led to the inauguration, last week, of a Senate led by Democrats. And a million more Americans voted for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives than voted for Republican candidates. Yet the new House has a thirty-three-seat Republican majority. There is one main reason for the electoral anomaly in the House: gerrymandering.
Even without gerrymandering, by this estimate, the November vote might have produced a Republican majority in the House. But the margin would have been so narrow that Democrats would have been able to get bills passed if they could hang together and get a handful of defectors from the other side.
Also, because many of them run in super-safe conservative districts, Republican congressional candidates often fear radical-right primary challengers more than the Democrats they will face in the general election. So they vote against taxes and for spending cuts with an adamancy that voters in more competitive districts would not long countenance. This ornery radicalism now threatens to produce shutdowns of the federal government. House Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling, and the Obama Administration will run out of tricks to remain under that ceiling some time around March 1st. This would be a frustrating episode of governance to endure even if it were fully legitimized by a truly democratic election. Yet the House Republicans’ check on Obama’s power is not truly democratic; indeed, it is based on extreme ideas that would be marginalized if not for the creative drawing of districts.
En The New Yorker.
Más de Sam Wang.