Fractions of the US Population in Politically Dominated States

Fractions of the US Population in Politically Dominated States

For politically sensitive people, it can be difficult to be concerned with issues that are decided politically by the other party. As the party that lost the presidency, the Democrats of the blue states look to their state to save some of their ideals in state programs. This is how the Republicans in red states have felt like over the last eight years.

On the eve of Trump’s first announcement about his new health care program, we consider Republican ideas that involve some grants to the states. So the states may run the new plan. This is also being considered in California, in case we need to institute our own healthcare for some people now covered by the ACA. We have to remember that Obamacare came from Romneycare in Massachusetts, which pioneered in the healthcare field.

We commonly hear that 33 Governors are Republican, which is 66% of the states. It is also true that 32 legislatures are Republicans, or 64%. Since California is the largest state with 12% of the US population, and is Democratic, we wonder if less than 66% of the population is in the Republican dominated states.

Stephen Wolf of Daily Kos on Nov. 14, 2016 wrote up the report of how much of the population lived in states with Republican and Democratic Governorships and Legislatures. His excellent treatment also includes US maps of which states are in various stages of party dominance. We paraphrase a summary from his article.

Republicans are in charge of 68 state legislatures, and Democrats are only in charge of 31. Republicans are in charge of both legislatures in 32 states, and in 17 of these have veto-proof majorities. The Republican controlled states have 61% of the US population. Democrats control both legislatures in 13 states, and only 5 of them are veto-proof. The Democratic controlled states have 28% of the US population. Adding up the percentages, give 89%, so only 11% of the US population is in more balanced states.

From Wolf’s article, the 33 states having Republican governors have 60% of the population, very close to the 61% of the Republican controlled legislature states. Democrats have 16 state governors, with 40% of the population, better than the 28% Democratic dominated legislatures. The outlier is Alaska with an independent governor supported by Democrats.

Republicans totally control 25 states and can override a veto in two more, for a total of 27 states, with 56% of the population, slightly less than the 60% of the population for the governor controlled states. Democrats have total control in 6 states and can override a Republican governor in 2 more, adding up to 19% of the population.

Since not even our President and Vice President are elected by a nationwide popular vote, but by the electoral college vote distribution with gerrymandering folded in, and similarly for state legislatures, we are far from a democratically represented country. The Republican dominance at the state level, and their dominance in the Senate and House, and now in the Presidency, and soon in the Supreme Court, show how far our divisiveness has made us less cooperative and democratic. Some blame this on the release of control on election spending, and the dominance of partisan control of gerrymandering.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2016 Election, Donald Trump, Governors and State Legislatures, Health Care, Politics, Trump Administration. Bookmark the permalink.

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