Michael Barone | Republicans Find Refuge in the House

In the decision desk at Fox News on election night, none of us paid much heed when it became clear that Republicans would maintain their majority in the House of Representatives. The information was broadcast quickly and everyone went back to talking about the presidential election. But actually it was rather extraordinary.

Republicans won or are leading in 236 of the 435 House seats, down just six from the 2010 midterm. And they achieved this despite losing five seats because of partisan redistricting in Illinois and another five in California thanks to a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission that the Democrats successfully gamed.

The GOP has now won control of the House in eight of the past 10 congressional elections, dating back to 1994. When I began following politics it seemed like that would never happen. Republicans failed to win a majority in the House in the 20 elections between 1954 and 1992. Political scientists wrote articles about how the Democrats would always have a lock on the House.

The same political scientists also wrote articles about how the Republicans had a lock on the presidency. And indeed they won five of the six presidential elections between 1968 and 1988. But Democrats have won the White House in four of the six presidential elections starting in 1992, and Democrat Al Gore won a popular-vote plurality in 2000.


(18853 Posts)