Despite Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives last night, it came as part of a “blue splash” rather than the “blue wave” so many pundits predicted. Republicans solidified their control of the Senate, and they may have made their position so strong that there’s little risk of losing it in the 2020 elections.
Republicans solidify Senate control
At the day’s outset, Republicans controlled 51 seats to the Democrats’ 46 (counting two Independents who caucus with the Democrats). One race is still pending: Martha McSally in Arizona, and she is currently favored to win. Rick Scott also won his race in Florida on the first vote count, but it’s being contested. There was another contested race between incumbent Democrat Jon Tester and challenger Matt Rosendale, but Tester ended up winning.
So in sum, with McSally and Scott victories, Republicans could hold as many as 53 Senate seats.
Here’s why that is important:
Bigger Senate story: Rs *gained* enough seats to protect them from 2020 backlash — and as a hedge against potential Dem pickups in 2 years. https://t.co/bqsGhsBTHp
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) November 7, 2018
While these gains in the Senate will obviously help Republicans confirm future judges, and possibly even another Supreme Court Justice, there’s a bigger reason why it’s so important. Based on the races that will occur in 2020, the GOP could be poised for almost-guaranteed victory.
Why? Because only some Senate seats are up for grabs during elections, and some seats are essentially impossible to flip (absent an act of God). In the 2020 elections, there should be only three Senate seats that Democrats can reasonably attempt to flip, in Colorado, North Carolina, and Indiana.
But Republicans should have a 53 seat majority, meaning that the best-case-scenario for Democrats, is a split Senate – Democrats and Republicans each holding exactly 50 seats. But then there’s the kicker: if President Trump is re-elected in 2020, Vice President Pence would be able to break any 50-50 tie.
The obvious reason it’s bad for Democrats is because, well, the GOP just increased its margin in the Senate. Confirming judges will be easier. The power of Collins and Murkowski, for example, to affect a race is now diluted. Rick Scott ain’t gonna be caviling about such things.
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) November 7, 2018
And remember, even if the Dems pick up all three of those Senate seats (bouncing Gardner, Tillis and Ernst), they’re still giving back Doug Jones’ seat in AL to the GOP. It’s hard to see how they take the Senate in 2020, or 2022 for that matter, absent a massive recession.
— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) November 7, 2018
In other words, we know for a near-certainty that after tonight there cannot be a “blue wave” in the Senate in the immediate future.
Introducing the “Senate popular vote”
If you think the Senate doesn’t matter, just look at how upset liberals are, despite their House win.
In reacting to Republicans strengthening their control of the Senate, liberals coined a new term; the “Senate Popular Vote.” Now, isn’t every Senate race determined by a popular vote? Yes – but wait till you see what liberals are trying to argue.
Here’s one comment from Salon writer Amanda Marcotte, who apparently just learned today that the United States isn’t a democracy. “Republicans lost the popular vote in Senate races by over 15 percentage points, but still gained two seats” she wrote. “Our country is not a democracy,” she concluded by pointing out a fact that’s been true for over two centuries.
Republicans lost the popular vote in Senate races by over 15 percentage points, but still gained two seats. https://t.co/TFVdDGIiat
Our country is not a democracy.
— Amanda Marcotte (@AmandaMarcotte) November 7, 2018
Now, how did Republicans “lose” in the popular vote, but still win Senate seats? Because Marcotte (and other liberals making this argument) are looking at the overall vote tally from all the Senate races across the country, and adding it up. In other words, she apparently thinks that California’s votes should have an impact on the Senate races of the 49 other States.
Her analysis is entirely wrong, too. Democrats actually did win more Senate races, but they didn’t win more seats.
I’m trying to figure how to phase it so people begin understand how dumb of a take this is.
Republicans won 10 Senate races last night (so far). Democrats won 22. Democrats won the “Senate popular vote,” and they also won the vast majority of Senate races. This is totally normal https://t.co/7vcFr78i62
— A source close to Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) November 7, 2018
When “Popular vote for Senate” talking point doesn’t seem like it could possibly be more asinine but then you consider only 35 Senate Seats were up for re-election, and 26 held by Dems. She’s outdone herself.
— Katie (@KatieS_1) November 7, 2018
How is a professor this stupid? Senators are chosen by the popular vote in each state, not the popular vote of the whole country. The senate is set up deliberately so that every state has equal representation. You are dumb. https://t.co/yVyaOGwGWz
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) November 7, 2018
Even Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman seemed to be under the impression that the Founding Fathers could have never conceived that different States would have different populations.
Wyoming has <600K people, 86% white, 24% with Bachelors degrees. New Jersey has 9 million people, 58% white, 35% with Bachelors. Each is electing one senator. 2/
— Paul Krugman (@paulkrugman) November 6, 2018
If only there was another chamber of Congress that accounted for different State populations in the number of representatives they receive.