If past performance is in any way related to future results, all of the congressional races in Minnesota–and most in the nation–are over before they even begin. (Hint: In Minnesota, all the incumbents will win.) So says the work of 538, a project of the New York Times. Of 435 seats in the House, only 37–less than 10 percent–are truly in play. Cartel, anyone?
I took a look at the profiles for the 8 congressional districts in Congress. The following list shows the likelihood (in percent) that the underdog has of winning Here’s a list of congressional districts in the state, with the likelihood of the challenger defeating the incumbent.
I’ve constructed a similar list for Michigan (here). There, out of 15 races, only 3 underdogs have a greater than 10 percent chance of winning.
Truth be told, control of Congress in any year depends on what happens in a small number of districts.Blame gerrymandering, among other factors.
You can dismiss the methodology of the Times or cite special circumstances in favor of this or that candidate, or a “Republican wave,” I think that by and large the Times has it right. Now here’s the fun parlor game, and the point of bringing this to your attention: How would our political industry and our policies look if, instead of 37 race were up for grabs, 373 races were? I’m not sure we would get better outcomes, but it’s a question worth pondering.
First published on True North:
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