Thursday, August 04, 2005

Democrats Chances to Take Back Congress

Many liberal bloggers are excited about the Democratic loss in a heavily Republican district that it might lead to Democratic gains in the November 2006 elections. I think they are missing the overall trends, and that George W. Bush is likely to lead Republicans to gain additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Has former President Bill Clinton been the best politician of our time? Many believe this, but to do so, one has to ignore the numbers:

1965–1967: 295 Democrats and 140 Republicans - Johnson elected
1991–1993: 267 Democrats and 167 Republicans
1993–1995: 258 Democrats and 176 Republicans - Clinton elected
1995–1997: 204 Democrats and 230 Republicans - Newt Gingrich Contract with America
2005-2006: 201 Democrats and 231 Republicans

Perhaps the reasonable goal for Republicans should be 257 Representatives as Bush carried 59% of Congressional districts. This would leave Democrats with 178 down from 267 prior Bill Clinton’s election in 1992.

See "The Hardest Numbers" Tuesday, April 12, 2005 by Michael Barone at

"Why did Bush carry 59 percent of the districts while winning 51 percent of the popular vote? One reason is that winners usually carry a disproportionate share of districts. Another is gerrymandering, which favored Republicans this cycle. One more is the Voting Rights Act, which encourages concentrations of blacks and Hispanics in a few districts that Democrats usually carry heavily, while losing adjacent seats."

By the way, Michael Barone is now blogging at


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