Sunday, November 12, 2006

Senate reflective of the popular vote – yeah, right.

Democrats carried 55% of the vote for Senatorial candidates this election. Factor in the non-competitive races including those like Indiana where the Democrats didn’t even bother with a candidate and you suddenly begin to appreciate the significances of this vote. Of course, Democrats won 55% of the Senate, right? Wrong. Remember, under our system the Senate does not represent people but states. So much for democracy.

From R.K. Eskow at the Huffington Post:

Look how easily the media manipulates everyone's perceptions, including our own. An hour of vote tabulation reveals a stunning fact: Democrats won the popular vote for the Senate by an overwhelming 12.6% margin - 55%/42.4%. "Bipartisanship" and "compromise" are today's buzzwords, when the phrase on everybody's lips should be "mandate for dramatic change" - especially in Iraq.

Contrast the media's performance this week with its reaction to the 2004 election results. The overwhelming catchphrase that November was "political capital." Bush had squeaked through with the tiniest popular vote margin of any postwar President, yet was hailed as a leader with a popular mandate to continue his extremist policies.

(For Bush and the media, apparently not actually losing before being appointed was exciting enough.)

What a short road from "political capital" to "need for bipartisanship." Nobody lectured the Bush team in '04 about the need to act in a bipartisan manner - even though, as I pointed out then, the Democratic popular vote mandate in the Senate was as great as Bush's. (Only the Senate's highly unrepresentative form of democracy resulted in a GOP victory that year.)

1 comment:

Joel Monka said...

Are you saying that a state senator should be elected by a national vote? What would be the point in having senators and representatives if they do not represent a given district? If senators were aportioned by the national vote, rather than their state's vote, that would mean overturning the will of the people in that state- clearly UNdemocratic. Would you tolerate the senator you had voted for, and who won his/her state, being replaced by someone from the other party because a lot of people in another state voted for the other party, skewing the national totals? In this election, how would you decide which elections to overturn so that the Democrats would get 55 senators? You mentioned my state- Indiana- would you have us forfeit senator Lugar? By the way, he was *NOT* unopposed- there was a Libertarian running as well.