There has been some arguing in the threads about Scalia’s death, and the nomination/confirmation of his replacement, along the following lines:
Democratic Doper: “President Obama won the 2012 election fair and square, and he’s still got almost a year left in his term.”
Republican Doper: “Okay, but Republicans won their majority in the Senate fair and square, too–and that 2014 election that gave them control was more recent than Obama’s 2012 reelection.”
Right off the bat, there was from my POV an obviously bogus element of the latter claim: not only did only 33 of the 100 members of the Senate get elected or reelected in 2014, 17 states–including big blue states like California and New York–had no Senate election at all. Then there’s the fact that it was a midterm election, which always represents less of the U.S. population’s views than does a presidential election: there were only about 40 million total votes cast for Republicans and Democrats combined in 2014 Senate races, compared to 127 million votes for Obama and Romney combined.
Beyond that, though, I wondered how the difference in states’ populations would shake out in terms of how many Americans’ votes the 54 Republicans now in the Senate represent, vs. the number for the 46 Democrats. So I got out the NYT election atlases and started adding with my computer’s calculator. It took a while, so I didn’t go back to double-check; thus, if these are way off, feel free to set me straight. But I was pretty careful, so I think this is at least close.
And the results were (drumroll) that the 46 Democrats in the Senate represent roughly 67.9 million votes, a little more than the 66 million Obama received in 2012. But the 54 Republicans represent a cumulative total of only 45.9 million votes, *way *below Romney’s haul of 61 million.
So when you’re tempted to describe the obstructionist Republicans in the Senate as “doing the will of the people”, maybe think twice unless you have a shit-ton of chutzpah on hand.