Your choice: The Republican...or Chuck Schumer

Do you like to think that you vote for the man, not the party?  Then I should inform you that in the Senate race, if you vote for the Democrat, you are voting for Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), regardless.

There is a nice little ProPublica website that compares the voting records of senators.  I used the 2021–22 session to make some comparisons.  (I pulled the data on Oct. 6.  There may be more votes in this session after that date.)

This first figure shows how many senators voted with Schumer, Democrat majority leader, by the percent of agreement.  For example, that large blue spike on the right means that 33 Democrat senators (of 49) voted with Schumer 98% of the time.  Think of it as a political spectrum.

Here are a few observations from these data.

  • There is an obvious and large difference between parties.  The average Democrat agreed with Schumer over 97% of the time, while the average Republican agreed with him only 27% of the time.
  • Democrats vote together: 46 of the other 49 Democrats voted with Schumer 96% to 98% of the time.  All of them voted with him at least 91% of the time.
  • Republicans do not vote together.  Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, voted with Schumer 70% of the time, while Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) voted with him only 11% of the time.  Republican votes are spread out much farther than Democrat votes.
  • The "independents" are not really independent.  Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) voted with Schumer 97% of the time, about like any Democrat.  Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted with Schumer 93% of the time, even more often than Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did.
  • The "moderate" Democrats are not very moderate.  Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Manchin voted with Sen. Schumer 95% and 91% of the time, respectively.
  • The moderate Republicans are actually moderate.  Those three red votes in the middle of the spectrum belong to senators Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who voted with Schumer 70%, 63%, and 55% of the time, respectively.
  • If you like bipartisanship and "working together," you are already getting a decent amount of it.  The average Republican voted with Schumer about 27% of the time.  Even the most "conservative" senators voted with him 11% of the time.  The Venn diagrams overlap.

The second figure shows how many senators voted with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky., and Republican minority leader) by the percent of agreement.  For example, that large blue spike on the left means that 20 Democratic senators voted with McConnell 33% of the time.  Again, the Democrat votes were fairly tightly clustered compared to the Republicans'.

You might be surprised that Democrats voted with McConnell about one third of the time.  That is because McConnell voted with Schumer 34% of the time.  Those Democrats were not really voting with McConnell; they were voting with their own majority leader, Schumer, on the same votes where McConnell voted with him.

Republicans do not have quite the same party discipline as the Democrats do.  While Democrats agreed with their leader over 97% of the time on average, Republicans agreed with theirs less than 82% of the time.  The Democrat "renegade," Sen. Manchin, still voted with his leader 91% of the time.  The Republican "renegade," Sen. Collins, voted with her leader only 63% of the time.  In fact, Collins voted with Schumer more often than she voted with her own party leader, McConnell: 70% to 63%.

Voters should know that when they vote for a Democrat, they are getting a clone of Chuck Schumer when it comes to voting.  Maybe you find Senator Mark Kelly attractive because he was in the military and was an astronaut.  He voted with his party leader 96% of the time, even more often than Bernie Sanders and Kyrsten Sinema did.  His 96% matches that of the very liberal Edward Markey (D-Mass.).  Arizonans should know that a vote for Mark Kelly is equivalent to a vote for a Massachusetts liberal.

If you like Chuck Schumer's agenda, go ahead and vote Democrat.  But don't think you are going to be sending some kind of independent thinker to the Senate by voting Democrat.  Whenever they get to the Senate, they will do Schumer's bidding.

"UPDATE: (thanks to a commenter at If you live in New York you can vote against Chuck Schumer himself this November. His Republican opponent is Joe Pinion. Here is his website:

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