A note to Mitch McConnell

I understand that you're going to do everything in your power to weaken President-elect Obama's economic stimulus package. You've shown yourself in the past as the kind of guy wo consistently puts party before country--you got to be Senate Minority Leader, after all--and since the Republican party right now pretty much stands for opposing Democrats and not much else, your opposition is not unexpected. But I would like to set you straight on something you said earlier today on Meet the Press.

"This is an enormous bill. It could be close to a $1 trillion spending bill," McConnell said. "Do we want to do it with essentially no hearings, no input, for example, in the Senate from Republican senators who represent half of the American population? I don't think that's a good idea."
The Republican party no longer represents half the American population in the Senate, not after the November elections, anyway. But simply saying that wasn't going to be enough for this post, so I did some math to make sure.

Warning: Person with English degrees doing math here, so there's some rounding and the potential for transposition. The numbers seem to work out though, and I'm showing my work (sort of).

To figure out just what percentage of the American population that Republican Senators represent, I started out with a table of state by state population. I rounded it to the nearest ten-thousand to make it easier to calculate. Then I doubled those numbers, since each state has two Senators, and each Senator represents the same number of people. I gave credit to the states with empty seats (New York, Illinois, Delaware, Colorado) to the party that will retain the seat, and for Minnesota, I gave credit for Franken since he's the current leader in that race and it's supposed to be certified soon. Then I went state by state and credited population based which party represents that state.

So here are the results. Democrats represent 63.4% of the population, Republicans represent 35.9%, and Independents represent 0.7%. In terms of population--because Democrats tend to represent larger population states with two Senators and split a lot of medium population states with the Republicans--Democrats actually represent more people in the Senate than their actual Senate numbers would indicate they would if they were represented proportionally, as in the House.

So Senator McConnell, your party doesn't represent half of the population of the country. Your party represents just over a third in terms of population, and you have a bit more actual power than you deserve. Your party has taken a beating in the last two elections, and if you stand in the way of this stimulus package, you're liable to find your already limited support further weakened.

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