“In the U.S.,” Bronner and Rakich explain, “the competition is far from fair. For a variety of reasons — some long-standing, some intentional, others newer or incidental — the political institutions that make up the field of American politics are increasingly stacked in favor of one side: the Republican Party.”
Bronner and Rakich continue, “Take the Senate. Republicans currently hold half of the seats in that chamber even though they represent just 43% of the U.S. And it’s not just the Senate — the Electoral College, the House of Representatives and state legislatures are all tilted in favor of the GOP. As a result, it’s possible for Republicans to wield levers of government without winning a plurality of the vote. More than possible, in fact — it’s already happened, over and over and over again.”
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Bronner and Rakich note, Republicans have made sure that districts are more gerrymandered than ever.
“After the red wave election of 2010,” the FiveThirtyEight reporters note, “Republicans drew more than five times as many congressional districts as Democrats, and they used it to push their structural advantage in the House to record levels.”
Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the United States’ last eight presidential elections. The last time a Republican presidential candidate won both the popular vote and the electoral vote was in 2004, when President George W. Bush was reelected and defeated Democratic nominee John Kerry. But as Bronner and Rakich point out, “It is Republicans who have now won the presidency twice in the last six presidential elections while losing the popular vote.”
“Democrats’ disadvantage in the Electoral College is well-documented,” Bronner and Rakich observe. “President Joe Biden won the national popular vote by 4.5 percentage points, yet he won Wisconsin — the state that gave him his decisive 270th electoral vote — by only 0.6 points. In other words, Biden needed to beat former President Donald Trump nationally by more than 3.8 points in order to win the White House outright.”
Despite the size of the Democratic Party, Bronner and Rakich point out, Democrats have to work extra hard to win elections for either branch of Congress.