There will be exciting elections in the United States on November 8th. According to forecasters from FivethirtyEight website, Democrats have a two-in-three chance of retaining a majority in the Senate. Republicans have a two-in-three chance of winning a majority in the House of Representatives.
With this result, both parties can squeeze their hands. Democrats have long feared losing a majority in the House and Senate. It would make President Biden a paralyzed president. But Republicans have been repeatedly frustrated by actions or lawsuits against their leader, Donald Trump, in their efforts to present Americans with an alternative political agenda.
The president can set quite a few policies based on his own authority, but when it comes to fundamental changes in areas like health care or taxes, he needs support for laws from both houses of Congress. The appointment of principal officials, including judges, on the recommendation of the President is a function of the Senate. If the Democrats retain the Senate, the door will remain open to the long-term exercise of power, at least for the Democrats.
And if Republicans get a majority in the House, they can at least block any bill introduced by Democrats or Biden.
But chances of two out of three have yet to be imposed. Especially for the House, the Republican advantage is actually surprisingly small. For, did they not attempt to manipulate the electoral boundaries with the help of the majority in the parliaments of a number of states in such a way that they would be difficult to lose?
The Republicans did, but it helped them less than they expected, as many political journalists expected. If only because the Democrats in the countries in which they wielded power, they also knew how to deal with it.
Predicting winning or losing a national election involves a lot of statistics. If it were just a national percentage, which was then proportionately converted into a number of seats, as in the Netherlands, it was easy. But in the district system, you have to look at who lives in each district, how they voted last time, or whether either party makes a significantly bad or good candidate. This provides estimates of whether that district’s seat will clearly or presumably go to a particular party, or whether it will be a cent on its side.
If you look at the 435 House districts this way, the distribution is actually quite equal, as Nate Cohen analyzes from New York times. In a very small majority of the counties, 220, Republicans have the advantage. But since, of course, not every election turns out exactly as the political coffee-keepers expected, that number could be slightly higher or lower. And he just has to drop to 217 for the Democrats to come home with a win.
The choice between Biden and Trump
If that happens, Republicans can blame Donald Trump. For starters, it is not very popular. Americans aren’t exactly impressed with Joe Biden’s qualities right now, but if they had to choose between Biden and Trump right now, they would know.
But the second reason is that during his presidency Trump tried to influence the districting in another way. He wanted to ask the 2020 census whether or not you were a US citizen. The basic idea is that foreigners staying illegally in the country should not be counted.
Between 10 and 11 million foreigners who are not registered in the United States are not allowed to vote. But they are considered residents. This has consequences for the political weight of the state. The number of seats in the House of Representatives is determined in proportion to the population.
In the end, the judge banned Trump’s work. But as a result of the controversy over citizenship, many Americans of foreign descent have become shy. Fearing that undocumented relatives would be expelled from the country, or that they themselves might get into trouble in some way, they did not take part in the census. Trump did not give the Census Bureau any additional time to try to reach that group.
As a result, the US government, for example, underestimates how many Latin Americans are in the official figures for that census. And the official population of six states is very low, as high as five percent. But there is nothing that can legally be done about this: Only Americans who have completed the form and submitted are included.
Trump’s failed act
Overall, this cost a number of states’ seats in the House of Representatives, while other states won. It’s impossible to say for sure, but it appears that the Republican-majority states of Florida and Texas each got one seat less than their population growth would have given them, and that the Democratic states of Minnesota and Rhode Island retained seats that in fact were. He must give up.
If the difference in the upcoming congressional elections is very small, this could be the deciding factor.
The new distribution of seats is valid for ten years. After the 2024 presidential election, as always, the president is appointed by an electoral college. Each state has a number of Representatives equal to the number of Representatives and Senators. Even then, Trump’s failure could give Democrats the needed boost.
Bas Den Hund is a US reporter who writes a weekly column.
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