I’ve written about politics a great deal in the last couple of weeks. Part of that is because it’s one of my interests (and one of the categories that I write for) and part of that is because the US just had a presidential election. I do have some other posts in the coming days that won’t be about politics, but this will be another one about it.
In the US, every two years, Congress is up for an election. That is, all the seats in the House of Representatives are up for election every 2 years. The Republicans had a majority in the House going into the election and were expected to keep that majority (they did). Though, something intriguing did happen during the election — there were more total votes cast for Democratic Representatives than there were for Republican Representatives. According to ThinkProgress:
Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates. Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.
For those people who follow American politics, it’s quite understandable as to why this happened. Every 10 years, there’s a Census in the US and as a result, an update on the population of the states. By extension, those states are then responsible for redrawing the districts [areas of representation]. Since the 2010 election was one where there was a great deal of Republicans swept into office, it made it easier for them to redraw the districts in a way that made it easier for members of their party to keep their seats. This is known as gerrymandering and it’s not unique to the Republicans. had the Democrats won, they most certainly would have done the same thing.
Lost in this discussion is the apparent “will of the people.” I realize that taking a straight popular vote can silence minorities (and was one of the primary reasons for the Electoral College), but it does seem a bit strange that there will probably be 1 million to 2 million more votes cast for Democratic Representatives than Republican Representatives and yet, the Republicans will maintain a 35- to 45-seat advantage.
Redistricting (called redistribution outside of the US) isn’t a problem that Americans have to deal with — it happens in other countries, too.