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America’s unfair democracy

17 0 2
25.12.2017

Doug Jones' remarkable victory in the Alabama Senate special election on Dec 12 is the strongest sign yet that Republicans will lose seats in Congress in 2018 because of their unpopular president and extremely unpopular agenda. And yet a close reading of the Alabama result also highlights just how American democracy can thwart the will of the majority rather than serve it.

The warning signs are right there on a map of Alabama. Despite his statewide victory, Jones lost six of Alabama’s seven congressional districts. That’s a symptom of gerrymandering, just one of the features of the American electoral system making it very difficult for Democrats to beat Republicans.

In most democratic frameworks, the Republican Party would be facing near-certain doom in the 2018 mid-terms. The party that occupies the White House usually loses ground in mid-term elections, especially during a president’s first term, as Democrats did in 2010 and 1994. This is even more true if the president is divisive, inspiring the opposing party to turn out.

Donald Trump's approval ratings have been below 40% for months, an unprecedented rejection for a president at this stage in his term. The tax cut bill that Republicans passed last week is the second-most unpopular proposed legislation in recorded history. The least popular was the Republican proposal earlier in the year to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

This has created an electorate very hostile to the GOP. Democrats have an 11 point lead among voters for the next election, but whether Republicans will even lose control of either house of Congress remains very much an open question.

In the House of........

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