A decade-long crisis of democracy

We highlighted that despite Ohio voters in the aggregate preferring Democrats over Republicans in the 2012 election, the Republicans will hold a probable super majority 60-39 as a consequence of extreme partisan gerrymandering. The Dispatch was prompted by this result to produce an article about redistricting

Issue 2 is dead, buried deep by Ohio voters last week.

But over and over again, opponents of the redistricting plan, be they Republicans or editorial-page writers, noted that their opposition was not based on the belief that the current system of drawing legislative and congressional districts is good.

In fact, most acknowledged that it remains badly in need of an overhaul.

But if was this paragraph in the article that prompted us to take an even deeper look

Republicans now control 75 percent of the U.S. House seats and nearly two-thirds of the legislative seats in a state that has leaned Republican but is a key battleground state

We analyzed Ohio House of Representative results for each of the past 6 election cycles. By aggregating the votes for Democrats and Republicans in contested races we found a systematic, and extreme disenfranchising of Democratic representation in Ohio

Year Democratic Republican D Seats R Seats
2012 2,418,815 2,362,310 39 60
2010 1,447,949 1,696,064 40 59
2008 2,296,678 1,982,281 53 46
2006 1,832,548 1,605,801 46 53
2004 1,869,051 2,036,398 38 60
2002 1,243,671 1,364,656 36 63
Total 11,108,712 11,047,510

Based upon the preferences of voters, Democrats should have controlledthe General assemblies after the 2012, and 2006 elections - but were denied by partisan gerrymandering. Furthermore, the majorities that Republicans did earn in all of their successful years should have been much, much smaller - and never reacher super majority status.

Indeed when one looks at the sum total of votes in contest races over the past decade, rather than being center right, the results indicate a center to center left leaning electorate.

It is simply not possible to conclude that Ohioans have been legitimately represented in the 21st century by their preferred choices, either in actuality or in scope. We have a crisis of democracy in Ohio.