Friday, January 15, 2010

The non-representative government

We presently have 40 Republican senators, controlling 40% of the vote in the US Senate. But they actually only represent 36% of the population.

Of course - that's just my way of thinking of things.  The GOP represents 36% of the populace, the Democrats represent 64% of the populace, which adds up nicely to 100%.

But I've been criticized for the above because, in the opinion of one friend: "each Senator represent[s] ALL the people of the state, regardless of their party."  As a practical matter, I haven't seen a single vote of either Kay Bailey Hutchinson or John Cornyn that reflects the politics of the 44% of the people of Texas that voted for Barack Obama.  I also doubt that 37% of voters in California that supported McCain feel like their views are represented by Barbara Boxer or Diane Feinstein.  Nor do I expect that Democrats of Indiana routinely sway the opinions of Richard Lugar.  Likewise, Republicans of Indiana probably don't call on Evan Bayh to push their political agenda.

But let's put such argumentation aside look at the numbers if we assume that a single senator really represents all the voters of the state:

Of course, the numbers above don't add up to 100%, because some people are getting represented by both parties using this way of thinking.  Interesting that even with this accounting the GOP doesn't represent a majority of the populace.

All data from Wikipedia 2008 estimates of US state populations (ignoring District of Columbia and populations in US territories).

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