From a personal standpoint, Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman is frustrating, because he so frequently crunches data in a fascinating way that I wish I’d done first. Objectively speaking, his analysis is always useful and insightful, but just speaking as myself, I often wish he were slower or less creative at his job so that I might have a chance to get to a subject first, were I ever to think of it.
So it was early Tuesday morning that Wasserman shared some fascinating numbers about Democratic representation of the public in the next Congress, thanks to the finally almost-completed tally of votes from the midterm elections. With only California’s 21st District outstanding — and another Democratic pickup there likely — Wasserman compared the incoming class of Congress with the demographics of each congressional district, giving us insights like this: Democrats will have a solid majority in the House but represent only one-fifth of the country’s land area.
If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em, as they say, so I decided to join Wasserman’s analysis by looking at two other metrics beyond party representation.
In the next Congress, most representatives will be Democrats, most will be white, and most will be men. Interestingly, only 21 percent of the next House will be all three; most of the white men are members of the Republican, not Democratic, Party.
But I broke down the United States' demographic groups by those three metrics: how many people will be represented by Democrats, men and white people.
Here, for example, is how the land area distribution looks. A fifth of the country’s dirt will be represented by Democrats, but nearly 9 out of every 10 square inches will be represented by a white person or a man.
Unsurprisingly, the breakdown by gender has only minor differences. About 54 percent of men and women will be represented by a Democrat. About 77 percent will be represented by a man and 76 percent by a white person. Those are, also not surprisingly, the baselines for the majority of each group.
So let’s jump to one of the metrics Wasserman looked at. Two-thirds of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 will be represented by Democrats, while only about 4 in 10 Trump voters will be. Trump voters are also much more likely to be represented by whites and men — a function of the dominance of white men in the Republican caucus.
One of the most interesting breakdowns is by racial or ethnic group. Most white Americans (meaning non-Hispanic whites) will be represented by a Republican. At least two-thirds of black, Hispanic or Asian Americans will be represented by a Democrat. Black and Hispanic Americans are much less likely to be represented by a white person in the House (though majorities still will be).
Two in 10 white Americans will be represented by a woman, and about 1 in 10 will be represented by a nonwhite person.
Wasserman notes that about 6 in 10 college graduates will be represented by a Democrat. More interestingly, about three-quarters of those born outside the United States will be, in part a function of how well Democrats do in urban areas.
Looking at age groups, there’s a small but interesting gap between those younger than 18 and those 65 and older. Younger Americans are slightly more likely to be represented by a Democrat and slightly less likely to be represented by a white person.
Why? Probably in part because of the density of younger people in nonwhite populations.
If you’re curious, only 0.2 percent of American women and 0.1 percent of Hispanic Americans will be represented by a Republican woman of color. That’s because there’s only one: Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.).
I bet Dave Wasserman didn’t know that.