In Colorado, Republicans won a one-seat House majority by 197 votes, or 0.8 percent of the 25,279 votes cast in HD-29. In Washington, Republicans won a majority in Congress by roughly 250,000 votes or 0.3 percent of the 75 million votes cast.
Nationally, Republicans won a lot of seats. Yet the pivotal 26 seats that decide majority and minority status in Congress were won by very narrow margins, many of them by low four-figure vote totals and, as a whole, by an average of only 8,192 votes.
A win is a win of course but the vote totals suggest the political reality in the United States is different than the picture blustery pundits have been drawing over the past two weeks. The ballot box totals suggest American voters remain almost evenly split in their choosing between Republican and Democratic politicians.
Voters on the right and left have been saying they want Republicans and Democrats to work together to solve problems instead of grandstanding on ideology. That would make great sense given that the electorate is so evenly divided. Lawmakers are supposed to be listening now. What are they listening to? Ideology lost at the polls yet it’s still winning on the TV and on radio and in DC.
In the weeks after the midterm, there has been a lot of talk about a Republican mandate, a lot of talk about the voters rejecting Democratic solutions and a lot of members of the U.S. House and Senate in the lame duck session setting about banging heads and digging in heels.