Joy Behar said Democrats lost key senate races because of gerrymandering in a segment on ABC’s ‘The View’ Wednesday morning.
For some bizarre reason, ABC’s News’s Matthew Dowd brought up the fact that more ballots were cast in favor of the total number of Democratic candidates than Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate.
“In 2016 we had a split decision,” Dowd said. “Trump takes the electoral college, geography. Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote. Democrats won the popular vote last night by 8 million votes. But they lose U.S. Senate races in red areas –”
“Because of gerrymandering,” Behar interrupted.
Here’s the clip of Joy Behar thinking Dems lost Senate seats because of gerrymandering pic.twitter.com/JlwPWMJER0
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 7, 2018
“It’s not gerrymandering, that’s the Constitution,” Dowd said. “The districts are gerrymandered but states are part of the Constitution. And I think that what we end up having is both sides, the blues are getting bluer, the reds are getting redder and it’s getting harder and harder for each side to figure out how to come together and deal with this.”
When discussing Senate races, the number of total votes cast in favor of one party or another at the national level is completely irrelevant. To win a senate seat, one must win the popular vote in one’s own state. Control of the U.S. Senate is not automatically handed to whatever party happens to get more ballots cast in its favor at the national level because senate races are determined at the state level, not nationally. When counting the total number of votes cast nationwide, one must consider the disproportionate effect blue states with high populations have on the overall vote total. A state like California, where Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein beat her opponent, who was also a Democrat handily, will skew the total number in that direction, despite the fact that its own senatorial outcome has no bearing on Florida, Arizona, or any other state’s senatorial race.
As ABC News’s chief political analyst, Dowd knows this. His decision to conflate these two numbers which have no bearing on one anther is utterly bizarre. He continued to dig himself into an even deeper hole by comparing presidential elections to senatorial elections, which is also strange.
“So if you think about this, a Republican has only won the popular vote for president one time in the last seven presidential elections,” Dowd said. “George Bush in 2004 is the only time in the past seven elections. If this keeps up, they could possibly win the electoral college and still lose the popular vote and that’s the place we’re in after last night.”
Dowd and Behar aren’t the only pundits pushing wild and false ideas about how elections work.
Hugely important point just now by @ezraklein: if the outcome of the midterms is that Republicans lose the popular vote for House and Senate, as they did w/ the White House, but due to gerrymandering emerge still controlling all three (and the Supreme Court)? Legitimacy crisis.
— Emo Desperado (@JoyAnnReid) November 6, 2018
In the days leading up to the election, media pundits have been mixing these two numbers up and pretending that the popular vote is a thing when it comes to determining who is elected to the U.S. Senate.