In case you were wondering what Vox was all worked up over Saturday, first, you should at least know that even they had the minimal amount of sense required to call it “crazy” and, in effect, meaningless. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop them from running with it, bless their dumb and misguided little hearts.
At issue is the notion that the current number of Democrats in the Senate, 46, received more raw votes than the current number of Republicans, 54:
But here’s a crazy fact: those 46 Democrats got more votes than the 54 Republicans across the 2010, 2012, and 2014 elections. According to Nathan Nicholson, a researcher at the voting reform advocacy group FairVote, “The 46 Democratic caucus members in the 114th Congress received a total of 67.8 million votes in winning their seats, while the 54 Republican caucus members received 47.1 million votes.”
What they didn’t say, perhaps until later in an “update,” is that the statistic is relatively meaningless and is firmly rooted in the bicameral nature of Congress and the Connecticut Compromise. On balance, most feel the system works very well. That is, unless one wants New York and California to run the entire federal government.
Bonus! Vox conveniently waited until the bottom of the item to point out how the tables were turned as recently as 2008 and 2012:
This doesn’t mean that the Republican majority is illegitimate or anything like that. Indeed, after 2008 and 2012, the tables were turned: Democrats got more Senate seats than their vote share suggested they should. The problem isn’t that the deck is stacked in favor of Republicans. The problem is that the deck is stacked in favor of small states, which receive equal representation in the Senate despite dramatic variance in population. The Senate is a profoundly anti-democratic body and should be abolished.
Sadly, this bit of drivel from Dylan Matthews at Vox appears to lack the heft of a constitutional amendment. But we will give him a half-a-pointy-head for trying.