This diary explores the following alternate reality: What if the US Senate was apportioned like the US House? One hundred members, single-member districts, distributed just like House seats (ie, every state gets one seat and then the rest are apportioned using the rule of equal proportions.)
Using 2010 data, the map would look like this:
California, in red, would have 10 seats. Texas, in orange, would have 7. New York and Florida, in yellow, would have 5. Illinois and Pennsylvania, in green, would have 4. Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan – all in blue – would have 3. Eleven other states, in purple, would have their current 2. And the remaining twenty-eight states, in grey, would be down to 1.
Two seats would have moved as a result of the 2010 Senate reapportionment, with Texas and Colorado gaining at the expense of Ohio and New York.
(Figures are from the Census Bureau. Since we’re doing this just like the House, all you have to do is look at the House priority lists and cut it off at 100 instead of 435. See here for the 2010 data and here for the 2000 data.)
After the jump, I have maps for the 22 states that would have more than one senator in this alternate universe. Please feel free to post your own.
I’d also be very interested to hear who you all think would be in the senate in this alternate universe. I’m having a hard time figuring out how the one-third-at-time-up-for-election rule would work in a reapportioned body, so perhaps in the alternate universe, senators have four year terms and are elected at presidential midterm? That’s not a fixed rule for this hypothetical, just a guess.
Notes: The presentation of maps for states with more than one senator is sorted according to number of senators, then alphabetically. There’s a brief round up of the one-senator states at then end.
I’ve used the default colors throughout, so blue = CD-1, green = CD-2 purple = CD-3, red = CD-4, yellow = CD-5, teal = CD-6, grey = CD-7, slate blue = CD-8, cyan = CD-9 and pink = CD-10.
I’ve assumed that a compactionist ethic would be at play, and that minority opportunity districts would be favored, even if they’re not 50%+. Obviously, that’s another part of the alternate universe.
States with 3 or more senators
AKA those disadvantaged by the current system
California has ten districts: (CD-1) North CA/Sacramento/Sierra Nevada, (CD-2) Central Valley, (CD-3) North Bay, (CD-4) South Bay, (CD-5) Central Coast, (CD-6) East LA County, (CD-7) West LA County, (CD-8) Orange County/Long Beach,
(CD-9) Inland Empire, and (CD-10) San Diego/Salton Sea.
CD-1 is the only one that’s majority-white by total population. CD-2, CD-5, CD-6, and CD-9 are plurality Hispanic. CD-07 is majority Hispanic.
My guess is that CD-3, CD-4, CD-6, and CD-7 would be safe Democratic, with the rest being some form of competitive (ie, between lean Dem and lean Rep). Say for the sake of argument that we would be holding two of them right now. That starts our running total at 6 D – 4 R.
Note: the voting block shapes for CA can be pretty large right now in Dave’s App. CD-6 is about 50k under populated with CD-07 about 50k over populated. If I swap the LA proper parts of CD-8 back to CD-6, that swaps to CD-8 being 30k under and CD-6 being 30k over. So, about half of that southern part of LA proper needs to go back to CD-6. For a fictional scenario, I figure this was an ok kludge.
Texas has seven seats: (CD-1) Harris, (CD-2)Southeast Texas, (CD-3) Northeast Texas, (CD-4) Metroplex, (CD-5) North and Central Texas, (CD-6) San Antonio/Austin, and (CD-7) South Texas.
CD-7, of course, is heavily Hispanic. CD-1 is plurality Hispanic, and CD-4 and CD-6 are only plurality white.
I would think that CD-1 and CD-6 are easy gets for us, with CD-4 and CD-7 leaning our way. The other three are ubersafe for the GOP. Running total: Dem 10, Rep 7.
Five districts: CD-01 North Florida, CD-02 North Central Florida, CD-03 West Central Florida, CD-04 South Central Florida, CD-05 South Florida.
CD-05 is majority Hispanic, the rest majority white.
I’d like to think that these are all at least potentially competitive, but I’m going to be conservative here and say that we only hold one of these (Nelson in Orlando?). Running total: Dem 11, Rep 11.
Five districts: CD-01 Suffolk/Nassau/NW Queens, CD-02 Brooklyn/Staten Island/South Queens, CD-03 Manhatten/Bronx/Northwest Queens/South Westchester, CD-04 East Upstate, CD-05 West Upstate.
I forgot to save this map, so I don’t have racial stats. CD-02 and CD-03 were majority minority, I think.
Partisan breakdown here depends on whether 2010 factors into the equation. In a normal environment, I think CD-04 is the only truly vulnerable district, but we’ll spot the GOP CD-05 as well. Running total: Dem 14, Rep 13.
CD-01 Chicago, CD-02 Suburban Chicago, CD-03 Northern Illinois, CD-04 Southern Illinois. CD-01 is plurality black at 35% or so. The rest majority white. I’m going to call this a 2-2 split, so running total: Dem 16, Rep 15.
CD-01 Philadelphia, CD-02 Northeast PA, CD-03 Central Pa, CD-04 West PA. All majority white. I’m going to call this one a 2-2 split also, so running total Dem 18, Rep 17.
Three districts: CD-01 North Georgia, CD-02 Atlanta, CD-03 South Georgia.
Atlanta is plurality white and about 40% black, the rest are majority white.
I assume we’d take Atlanta and Republicans would get the other two. Running total: Dem 19, GOP 19.
Three districts: CD-01 North and West Michigan, CD-02 Southeast Michigan, CD-03 Wayne/Oakland/South Macomb.
Looks like I forgot to save this map too. I’m pretty sure they’re all majority white.
CD-02 and CD-03 are safe Democratic (and would probably be represented by Stabenow and Levin, respectively.) CD-01 is likely Republican. Running total: Dem 21, GOP 20.
Three districts: CD-01 Greater Newark, CD-02 North Jersey, CD-03 South Jersey.
CD-01 is white plurality, the other two white majority.
I know a lot of Democratic strength is locked-up in CD-01, but we’d still be likely to hold at least two of these, right? Running total: Dem 23, GOP 21.
CD-01 Charlotte/West Carolina – Likely Republican?
CD-02 Triangle and Triad – Likely Dem
CD-03 East Carolina – Toss-up?
All are majority white; CD-03 has the highest black percentage at 27%. I’m going to give us a Blue Dog-ish Dem in the east, so running total: Dem 25, Rep 22.
CD-01 West Ohio, Likely R
CD-02 North Ohio, Safe D
CD-03 Central and SE Ohio, Tossup?
All majority white. I’ll throw the R’s a bone here and call the running total: Dem 26, Rep 24.
Note that these eleven states account for half the senators in the alternate universe.
States with Two Senators
AKA the status quo
No geographic breakdowns anymore, I’m too tired. Remember, Blue = 1 and Green = 2.
Both majority white at 58%. I have no idea if splitting Arizona between Maricopa and outstate helps us. I’ll assume not. Running total: Dem 26, Rep 26.
I assume that cutting out Denver is bad for us. Running total: Dem 27, Rep 27.
I could see both of these being competitive under the right circumstances. I’m going to give us the northern one. Running total: Dem 28, Rep 28.
CD-01 is plurality black at 45%; this makes the other district more competitive than it ought to be. I still think we take both. Running total: Dem 30, Rep 28.
Let’s go ahead and assume Scott Brown. Running total: Dem 31, Rep 29.
No idea what the ramifications of splitting Missouri are. I’m calling it split. Running total: Dem 32, Rep 30.
I assume we can hold both of these? Running total: Dem 34, Rep 30.
CD-01 is safe GOP. I could see us competing in CD-02. But running total: Dem 34, Rep 32.
I’m not happy with this division, but everything else looked worse. Both districts should still be winnable for us, so running total: Dem 36, Rep 32.
Probably the state where the split harms us most, unless Tacoma and Olympia can outweigh the rest of the state. I’m calling it split, so running total: Dem 37, Rep 33.
Madison and Milwaukee versus the Circle of Ignorance! The rest of Wisconsin looks on… I’m giving us both, so running total Dem 39, Rep 33.
The Single Senator States
AKA The unfairly advantaged
The remaining 28 states currently have almost enough votes to sustain a filibuster; in the alternate universe, they don’t even have enough to block one.
I’d give us Delaware, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Maine and New Hampshire are probably toss-ups, so I’ll get us one of them. Running total: Dem 44, Rep 34.
They get Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. We get West Virginia. And I’ll split Arkansas and Louisiana. Running total: Dem 46, Rep 40.
They get Kansas. I’ll split Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas. Running total: Dem 48, Rep 43.
We get Oregon, New Mexico, Hawaii and Montana. They get Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. That leaves splitting Nevada and Alaska. Final total: Dem 53, Rep 47.
Ok, that’s bizarre. I totally didn’t set out to end up where we actually are, it’s just where my guesses lead. Even if my take on this particular exercise didn’t show any partisan bias to the set-up of the Senate, it does highlight just how undemocratic that body is.
Again, please feel free to chime in about who you think would be in office in the alternate universe or to show off your (more gerrymandered?) versions of the alternate universe’s Senate districts.