Across the 49 state Senates in the United States, 20 are at least two-thirds Republican, and eight of those 20 are more than 80 percent GOP.
Such is the dominance of the Republican Party in state legislatures. President Trump's popular-vote-losing win and the GOP's congressional majorities are huge for the party — don't get me wrong — but they actually undersell the GOP's unprecedented dominance at the state level. As previously noted, the GOP has complete control over about half the states in the union, while Democrats have only a handful.
But not all those GOP-dominated states are equally dominated. In some of them, the dominance is so complete that the Democratic Party barely has a pulse. And some of the states on this list might actually surprise you.
I ran the numbers and found 10 states that meet each of the following criteria:
- At least 70 percent Republican in both the state House and Senate.
- At least 75 percent Republican in statewide offices (governor, Senate, attorney general, etc.).
- At least 75 percent Republican in their delegations to the House of Representatives
Included in this group are Missouri and Indiana, both of which were swing states as recently as 2008. (Barack Obama won the latter.) And while some might expect a bunch of Deep South states, they actually don't make the cut — in large part because they have more diverse populations that help keep the Democratic Party in business.
Here are the 10 states, along with their percentages of Republican officeholders in each category:
In the map above, I've averaged each state's percentage for state House, Senate, statewides and Congress and assigned them an average percentage — or what I'll call a “Republican dominance” score.
Wyoming is tops in the nation. Fully 85 percent of its state House (51 out of 60 members) and 90 percent of its state Senate (27 out of 30) are Republican, as are all of its statewide officeholders and its lone member of Congress. It gets a Republican dominance score of 94.
Next highest are South Dakota (92), Idaho (92) and Utah (92), which all have state Houses and Senates that are at least 80 percent Republican.
Missouri is our No. 10 here. It pulls down the curve a bit, but it narrowly makes the cut for its state House (72 percent Republican), state Senate (74), statewides (75) and Congress (75). It seems a notable inclusion given its former swing-state status — and the fact that it had a Democratic governor until last month.
The fact that Republicans dominate most of these states won't be all that shocking. But the extent to which they do is what's unusual. Democrats, by contrast, wield such control over just three states: Hawaii (where Democrats are 25 for 25 in the state Senate), Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Apart from those, in no state do Democrats have at least 70 percent of both state chambers.
And just as the GOP is largely invisible in those three states, the Democratic Party is missing in action in many states across middle America — states in which the Republican Party is basically the only game in town.
Update: This post previously transposed the state House and state Senate percentages. The numbers have been fixed.