The Democrats May Control Washington, But Republicans Control The States


The New York Times notes that while Washington is deeply divided, with Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House, the states have become increasingly polarized, but on the whole nearly twice as many states are now under single-party Republican control compared to those under single-party Democrat control.

Though the Nov. 6 election maintained divided government in Washington, the picture is starkly different in capitals from California to Florida: one party will hold the governor’s office and majorities in both legislative chambers in at least 37 states, the largest number in 60 years and a significant jump from even two years ago.

Twenty-four states will be controlled by Republicans, including Alaska and Wisconsin, where the party took the State Senate, and North Carolina, where the governorship changed hands. At least 13 states will be Democratic, including Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon, where control of the legislatures shifted, and California, where the already dominant Democrats gained a supermajority in both chambers.

In addition there are six states with a Republican governor and a split legislature, and seven states with a Democrat governor and a split legislature.

There are a couple of reasons why all this is significant.

For one, this is why Republicans in Washington ought to be fighting to leave more policy decisions up to the states. Not only is federalism a first principle of conservatism (or should be, anyway), but most state governments tend to be more conservative in their taxing and spending relative to the federal government. This is no doubt because state leaders live and work a lot more closely to the voters that elect them.

For another, all these state-level leaders mean a deeper bench for Republicans when it comes to moving candidates up to federal office. More Republicans serving as state legislators, governors and other state-elected offices means a wider pool of Republicans from which to draw for federal office up to and including the presidency. That, one would think, should serve Republicans well going forward.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • WOOF

    The cream of the Republican crop, Chris Christie, walks alongside
    Barack Obama.

    The Confederacy faces an enlarging progressive populace.
    Demographics is destiny.

    • Randy G

      “Demographics is destiny”. So is brain damage from glue sniffing, if you didn’t have such damage you would know this.

  • Snarkie

    “For one, this is why Republicans in Washington ought to be fighting to leave more policy decisions up to the states.”

    And if it were a 2008 or 2010 scenario… where more Dems controlled at the state level… and Obama wasn’t the president, then you would not feel this way.

    If you want to cure the ills of your party, short term instrumental policy orientations would be a good place to begin the cleansing process.

  • Neiman

    This is why the electoral college is so important, otherwise those coastal liberal states will dictate who gets elected president on the rest of the country.

    The only way the GOP can get those states back is: (a) Drop the family/moral values platform. I am against that change and would not vote GP ever. (b) Accept the welfare state and just become conservative Democrats. (c) Get their head out of their behinds, catch up to the new media, learn how to communicate and pick conservative leaders that can craft a vision the people can support.

    Otherwise, the Democrats are the dominant party for many decades.

  • Tatersalad

    anyone smell a dead fish and it is named Barack Obama? When the
    Benghazi killings are finally open to the public and found, it will
    reveal that it is going to be the “biggest criminal cover-up” in
    American history. Mark these words! Pay particular attention to item #6 which
    is a 17 minute video!

    Admiral Gaouette – CenCom – Reassigned:


    2. General Carter Ham -Afri-Com – Reassigned:

    3. General Petraeus, director of the CIA:

    4. Treason?:

    Please read in full:

    6. (video) –

  • Tatersalad

    Why Socialism does not work:

    “We can’t expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have communism.”–Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev

    This should have been signed by Barack Obama because he subscribes to the meaning of this statement.

  • Geoff

    Pipe dream Rob! Republicans fighting in Washington…. For what? They r already pandering… Argue all you want for states control, how will they achieve that?

    Let it go, let the house of cards come down, then rebuild! The only way

  • VocalYokel

    It seems like the only difference between Republican “control” and Democrat “control” is what programs and whose benefactors the excessive taxation is spent on.

  • ‘Tom Crawford

    From what I understand, the “dream” was to have each represented…the American Citizen, the States and the Country.

    Country represented by the President.
    States represented by the Senate.
    The American Citizen represented by the House.

    Too bad that changed so long ago…

  • camsaure

    More states need to follow Texas’ lead and resist Obamacare, The Dept of homland security, EPA and other alphabet Govt entities. There is a proposal in Texas at present to stop Homeland Security gropings at airports. That is a good start, more states should follow and resist the Fed Govt siezing more unconstitutional control.

  • spud

    In 2014 democrats stand a very good chance of winning Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. I guarantee they win Florida and Michigan. Ohio not so sure of but Kasich is very beatable. Scott and Snyder are dead men walking.

  • lucas

    what does this matter? republicans have shown that they have little appetite for standing up for the states rights against the onslaught of federal government power grabs. they are much too addicted to the federal funds flowing into the states coffers to make any hard choices. other than a token lawsuit in front of 9 un-elected dc elitists what exactly has any elected republican done any different that a democrat. republican ideals died on the grassy knoll in 1963. other than 1 conservative reprive in the 80’s that still resulted in amnesty and no substantive reforms the national republican party has done nothing to fight for the american ideals that made this country a powewrhouse in the late 19th and early 20th century’s. republicanism is dead, american idealism is dead, american exceptionalism is dead the american dream is dead. all that is left for us is a slow steady march Bataan style to a socialist utopia designed to rid the planet of its sole bastion of freedom and liberty.