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Cyrano

(15,115 posts)
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:25 PM Dec 2022

California has 39 million people and two senators. Wyoming has a few dozen people and two senators.

This is part of the reason that America is so often ruled by a minority.

We can't throw out Wyoming's senators. But we can work toward making Washington DC and Puerto Rico, two additional states. My guess is that will mean four more Democratic senators.

All of America's problems can't be solved in the short term. But making DC and PR states would go a long way to help level the playing field. It would be a good starting point.

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California has 39 million people and two senators. Wyoming has a few dozen people and two senators. (Original Post) Cyrano Dec 2022 OP
The House of Representatives is where you find politicians representing the people. jimfields33 Dec 2022 #1
Not perfect at all with the filibuster rule in the Senate. brush Dec 2022 #7
And more populous states are Bettie Dec 2022 #27
But not proportionally dpibel Dec 2022 #31
Good point - it may have meant something treestar Dec 2022 #34
The Senate was originally set up to represent the states interests DetroitLegalBeagle Dec 2022 #46
I ask again dpibel Dec 2022 #56
The same way Country's are represented in international organizations like the UN Zeitghost Dec 2022 #59
But states are not countries dpibel Dec 2022 #60
Sorry Zeitghost Dec 2022 #71
The senate is undemocratic. Mosby Dec 2022 #74
it would be closer to "perfect" if they lifted the cap on the number of house members. Orangepeel Dec 2022 #52
So you support a massively undemocratic institution? Voltaire2 Dec 2022 #80
Each state is treated equal in the senate whether you have one person or a billion. jimfields33 Dec 2022 #90
but WY has 1.27 million cattle (basically 2 cows/person) hlthe2b Dec 2022 #2
moo Cyrano Dec 2022 #17
It's, Specifically, Designed That Way To Avoid A "Tyranny of the Majority". ruet Dec 2022 #3
Tyranny of the majority? What kind of disinformation phrase is that? brush Dec 2022 #9
If a majority said blacks and Jews should be gassed, that would... Lucky Luciano Dec 2022 #13
The history of the country shows that that sentiment... brush Dec 2022 #19
But that doesn't HAVE to be the case just because it might be at the moment. In our own ... Whiskeytide Dec 2022 #37
That's what the bill of rights treestar Dec 2022 #36
Mob rule is dangerous and does need to be checked. Lucky Luciano Dec 2022 #38
I take it you have not studied the philosophy of liberalism and the founding principles of Just A Box Of Rain Dec 2022 #14
It's historic term all right, but it's misinformation bullshit. brush Dec 2022 #22
You are deeply misguided on this point. Just A Box Of Rain Dec 2022 #23
Cite an example in American history. No bs imagined scenarios... brush Dec 2022 #24
You should do your own homework, however I'd suggest reading Federalist 10 (and if you Just A Box Of Rain Dec 2022 #28
Is it an example of actual tyranny of the majority in Congress? brush Dec 2022 #30
I should know better Just A Box Of Rain Dec 2022 #32
Is it? brush Dec 2022 #33
You tried dumbcat Dec 2022 #48
And probably won't Genki Hikari Dec 2022 #95
Ok. I'll jump in. For almost 100 years a ... Whiskeytide Dec 2022 #49
And in no case did the Senate protect the minority dpibel Dec 2022 #57
Yeah... Ummmm... No. ruet Dec 2022 #16
See post 23. brush Dec 2022 #25
agreed, this is how the constitution functions treestar Dec 2022 #35
The Supreme Court found slavery to be perfectly constitutional, and that ... Whiskeytide Dec 2022 #50
Nothing is perfect treestar Dec 2022 #51
But we don't actually have "minority ... Whiskeytide Dec 2022 #55
When did a majority elect Trump? dpibel Dec 2022 #58
Yes. You're right. I used a bad example. Perhaps a better one ... Whiskeytide Dec 2022 #65
Interesting question! dpibel Dec 2022 #67
A majority of voters didn't vote for that...thing Genki Hikari Dec 2022 #94
The United States is not a democracy, it is a Constitutional Democratic Republic. Dysfunctional Dec 2022 #72
Newsflash: A republic is a representative DEMOCRACY. brush Dec 2022 #73
It was explicitly designed that way to appease slave states... hunter Dec 2022 #18
Our bicameral system was not there to appease slave states. Cuthbert Allgood Dec 2022 #29
Oh, please. Our Senate was modeled after the House of Lords... hunter Dec 2022 #62
Are you aware sarisataka Dec 2022 #63
Virginia had the largest population of the 13 colonies. hunter Dec 2022 #66
Right, so having a house of Congress based on state representation hurt the slave states. Cuthbert Allgood Dec 2022 #77
Ironically those "Lords" and sarisataka Dec 2022 #85
I was thinking people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. hunter Dec 2022 #91
That's an interesting theory. It has no basis in the actual deliberation of the country founding, Cuthbert Allgood Dec 2022 #69
All democracies are a "hot mess." hunter Dec 2022 #70
The Senate was that way to put a balance between state and national governments. Cuthbert Allgood Dec 2022 #76
You seem to think I respect the "founding fathers." I don't. hunter Dec 2022 #78
well no it was specifically designed to ensure that the slave states would Voltaire2 Dec 2022 #81
That makes precisely zero sense. Imperialism Inc. Dec 2022 #87
The Senate should go the way of the House of Lords in the UK CloudWatcher Dec 2022 #4
That is fairly obvious Johonny Dec 2022 #82
YES!!! And sooner than later!!! calimary Dec 2022 #5
And there's not a damn thing that can ever be done about it Polybius Dec 2022 #6
California is one state and has 2 senators sarisataka Dec 2022 #8
Luckily (for now), both Dems and Reps have their own share of small states. BlueCheeseAgain Dec 2022 #10
Maine likes Susan Collins because she's always "concerned." Cyrano Dec 2022 #21
In terms of Senators & the 20 smallest States, the Rethugs have 23 out of 40 possible, we have 17 Celerity Dec 2022 #26
Rhode Island should be bold. jimfields33 Dec 2022 #39
Fixed Celerity Dec 2022 #40
Thanks. You did a great job pointing out the inequity of the senate. jimfields33 Dec 2022 #41
also it's depressing that soon 70% of the seats will be controlled by only 30% of the population Celerity Dec 2022 #43
Inequity of the senate intelpug Dec 2022 #68
Why is Vermont never mentioned in these discussions? Kaleva Dec 2022 #11
And the solution is....51 national senators. GreenWave Dec 2022 #12
Puerto Rico is not at all guaranteed to yield 2 Dem Senators. Celerity Dec 2022 #15
those 4 states should go back to being 1 state. mopinko Dec 2022 #20
Another solution would be for blue cities or counties Genki Hikari Dec 2022 #96
They also only have one Congressional representative. Initech Dec 2022 #42
The makeup of the Senate was a check on the power of the more populous state ripcord Dec 2022 #44
Yep. Exactly as intended when Cyrano Dec 2022 #45
What power would Californians have treestar Dec 2022 #53
More people in CA voted for TFG then in many smaller states combined Kaleva Dec 2022 #83
With a population of almost 40 million, of course the Cyrano Dec 2022 #88
And they probably feel like they don't get representation in the Senate Kaleva Dec 2022 #89
Yes indeed. Especially the Electoral College treestar Dec 2022 #92
Technically speaking KentuckyWoman Dec 2022 #47
Shall we talk about the Dakota Territories? gldstwmn Dec 2022 #54
A few dozen????? USALiberal Dec 2022 #61
States like CA are stuck in a "constitutional straightjacket". roamer65 Dec 2022 #64
Senate should be dissolved, along with the electoral college. Mosby Dec 2022 #75
538,000. Why distort the real numbers when they are truly horrible? Voltaire2 Dec 2022 #79
We could probably do away with states all together Kaleva Dec 2022 #84
Good luck getting buy in on that here. Imperialism Inc. Dec 2022 #86
"wyoming has a few dozen people..." orleans Dec 2022 #93

jimfields33

(16,676 posts)
1. The House of Representatives is where you find politicians representing the people.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:29 PM
Dec 2022

California has a ton more people representing them than Wyoming. The senate represents the state. It’s a perfect representation for governing.

brush

(54,526 posts)
7. Not perfect at all with the filibuster rule in the Senate.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:41 PM
Dec 2022

Far from perfect, it's a Senate rule, not in the Constitution, which serves as a conduit that allows the minority to rule and halts significant legislation that would improve the lives of millions.

Bettie

(16,234 posts)
27. And more populous states are
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:29 PM
Dec 2022

shortchanged there as well.

The number of reps should be increased significantly.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
31. But not proportionally
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:35 PM
Dec 2022

CA's population is 40 million.

WY's is 580,000.

CA's population is 69 times that of WY.

But CA has only 53 times as many representatives.

Thus, Wyoming has disproportional representation BOTH in the Senate and in the House.

Also, what exactly does "represents the state" mean? There is some interest that an arbitrarily selected chunk of real estate has that is somehow separate from the interests of its inhabitants? How does that work in the real world?

treestar

(82,383 posts)
34. Good point - it may have meant something
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:39 PM
Dec 2022

to the Founding Fathers from smaller would-be states. There was the consideration of getting the South to go along as well. But by now, do we really needs states to be represented as such? It's not like there are difficulties between states at this point.

DetroitLegalBeagle

(1,964 posts)
46. The Senate was originally set up to represent the states interests
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 06:09 PM
Dec 2022

Prior to the 17th Amendment, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
56. I ask again
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 08:14 PM
Dec 2022

What are these states' interests that are different from the interests of their inhabitants?

What is this entity called "Wyoming" that needs to be represented?

Zeitghost

(3,971 posts)
59. The same way Country's are represented in international organizations like the UN
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 08:25 PM
Dec 2022

Last edited Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:45 AM - Edit history (1)

You have to remember that the original concept of the US, especially under the Articles of Confederation but also under the Constitution, was a union of sovereign States much more akin to the EU than our modern view. The phrasing used to be "These United States" instead of "The United States". The Civil War and the constitutional amendments it lead to changed that in many ways, but not all.

The House was intended to represent the people directly, the Senate represented the States, which is why State Legislatures elected Senators until the passing of the 17th amendment in the early 20th century.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
60. But states are not countries
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 08:38 PM
Dec 2022

At best, they have limited sovereignty.

As to your analogy to the U.N., I hope you are not suggesting that the Senate exists in order to keep New Jersey from invading Pennsylvania. But that's where your analogy leads.

As for the original concept of the U.S., well: The Constitution exists because it pretty promptly became apparent that the Articles of Confederation were a rollicking clusterfuck. The Constitution, in fact, came about because the notion of a loose confederation of independent sovereigns wasn't going to work.

I ask you, as I have asked others, when you say "the Senate represented the States," what do you mean? Is there some time where a Senator rises and says, "The residents of my state sure don't want this legislation, but my state does, so let's get after it"?

Zeitghost

(3,971 posts)
71. Sorry
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 11:25 AM
Dec 2022

I'm not teaching a class on early American History. If you don't grasp the historical context of our bicameral system, I'd suggest reading up on it.

Orangepeel

(13,936 posts)
52. it would be closer to "perfect" if they lifted the cap on the number of house members.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 07:26 PM
Dec 2022

In the century-plus since the number of House seats first reached its current total of 435 (excluding nonvoting delegates), the representation ratio has more than tripled – from one representative for every 209,447 people in 1910 to one for every 747,184 as of last year.

That ratio, mind you, is for the nation as a whole. The ratios for individual states vary considerably, mainly because of the House’s fixed size and the Constitution’s requirement that each state, no matter its population, have at least one

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/05/31/u-s-population-keeps-growing-but-house-of-representatives-is-same-size-as-in-taft-era/

jimfields33

(16,676 posts)
90. Each state is treated equal in the senate whether you have one person or a billion.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 02:37 PM
Dec 2022

I believe in the constitution!!!!! However, you can change it. There are mechanisms in the constitution to change any part of it you don’t like.

ruet

(10,042 posts)
3. It's, Specifically, Designed That Way To Avoid A "Tyranny of the Majority".
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:29 PM
Dec 2022

It's not perfect but it's not terrible either.

brush

(54,526 posts)
9. Tyranny of the majority? What kind of disinformation phrase is that?
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:45 PM
Dec 2022

The majority rules is what democracy is all about, in case you haven't heard. What we have now in the Senate with it's filibuster rule is tyranny of the minority, which is anti-democratic plain and simple.

Lucky Luciano

(11,283 posts)
13. If a majority said blacks and Jews should be gassed, that would...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:52 PM
Dec 2022

…be tyranny of the majority.

An extreme example, but a majority approving of something can obviously be unjust.

That said, yes, the republicans are abusing the shot out of the idea of preventing a tyranny of the majority.

brush

(54,526 posts)
19. The history of the country shows that that sentiment...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:07 PM
Dec 2022

has exhibited itself, and still does, among the minority anti-semites and white racists, so what you're suggesting has not happened and won't happen unless the aforementioned minority somehow become the majority.

That won't happen because more Americans have a sense of justice than are there white racists and anti-semites, or whatever other anti-othered group you can plug into that theory.

Whiskeytide

(4,473 posts)
37. But that doesn't HAVE to be the case just because it might be at the moment. In our own ...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:49 PM
Dec 2022

… history, majorities have supported institutions like slavery at one time or another. During the depression, a majority of the population might have supported selling off Montana, Wyoming and both Dakotas to the Canadiens for a few shipments of wheat.

The two chamber system - one representing population and one representing each state equally - was designed to give the majority a strong position, and also give sparsely populated states a legitimate, somewhat equal voice. A Democratic Republic is Intended to PREVENT unchecked majority rule, lest the majority become a mob.

Just because the republicans are currently abusing the system doesn’t necessarily mean the system is irretrievable. Personally, I don’t WANT a pure “majority rule” in the US. Тяцмp showed us that far too close to a majority here are clearly blithering idiots. That’s already too close a call for my peace of mind.


treestar

(82,383 posts)
36. That's what the bill of rights
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:41 PM
Dec 2022

and the 14th amendment take care of.

If a majority wanted an Established Religion, they can't have that.

Or if a majority wants to say due process does not go to certain people.

We just have tyranny of the minority. That's not better.

Lucky Luciano

(11,283 posts)
38. Mob rule is dangerous and does need to be checked.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:53 PM
Dec 2022

As I said, the republicans are disingenuous and are definitely abusing things.

Also, it is indeed disproportionate. The rural people have way the fuck too much power. Power beyond simply being a check on mob rule, so not saying things are fine either.

 

Just A Box Of Rain

(5,104 posts)
14. I take it you have not studied the philosophy of liberalism and the founding principles of
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:55 PM
Dec 2022

the United States?

Much of the logic of our divided government and our bicameral legislature was designed specifically to prevent a "tyranny of the majority."

It is a term is considerable historicity. You have some studying to do.

brush

(54,526 posts)
22. It's historic term all right, but it's misinformation bullshit.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:14 PM
Dec 2022

It has not, and will not ever happen. See post 19.

 

Just A Box Of Rain

(5,104 posts)
23. You are deeply misguided on this point.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:18 PM
Dec 2022

The risks of ochlocracy and the related impulse of populism in democracies goes back to the ancient Greeks, and for very good cause.

Might be time to study the history of the political science around this issue.

brush

(54,526 posts)
24. Cite an example in American history. No bs imagined scenarios...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:22 PM
Dec 2022

from essayists. philosophers and historians.

 

Just A Box Of Rain

(5,104 posts)
28. You should do your own homework, however I'd suggest reading Federalist 10 (and if you
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:30 PM
Dec 2022

are not accustomed to reading material in the style of the period, you might look for a version "in translation" to contemporary English, as the original is challenging for many), John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, and Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.

Then, you might read Polybius, Histories, and John Stuart Mill, On Liberty.

Look forward to hearing back from you then.

Whiskeytide

(4,473 posts)
49. Ok. I'll jump in. For almost 100 years a ...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 06:57 PM
Dec 2022

majority of those in our government supported the concept of slavery. For 150 years, a majority of those in our government supported the concept that women were not entitled to suffrage. For decades, a majority of those in the US government supported the idea of separate but equal. Our government leaders - a majority of them - at one time bought into the philosophy of manifest destiny as an excuse to remove native Americans from their land. Want something more recent? A significant majority of Americans initially supported the war in Iraq.

A “majority” does not mean they have it right. In fact, it seldom does. It only means that they want it and have the numbers to make it happen.

I think that checking the whims and desires of the majority is perhaps the most crucial function of the Constitution.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
57. And in no case did the Senate protect the minority
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 08:20 PM
Dec 2022

Nor did the Constitution, which had to be amended. Interestingly enough, in a democratic process requiring a supermajority.

This thread, at least as I understand it, is about whether the Senate is some sort of bulwark against mob rule.

Just to use one of your examples: The Senate was one of the last great bulwarks supporting separate but equal. See, e.g., Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms.

ruet

(10,042 posts)
16. Yeah... Ummmm... No.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:00 PM
Dec 2022
Tyranny of the majority

The origin of the term is commonly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville, who used it in his book Democracy in America. It appears in Part 2 of the book in the title of Chapter 8 "What moderates the tyranny of the majority in the United States absence of administrative centralization" ("De ce qui tempère aux États-Unis la tyrannie de la majorité'') and in the previous chapter in the name of sections such as "The tyranny of the majority" and "Effects of the tyranny of the majority on American national character; the courtier spirit in the united states".

While the specific phrase "tyranny of the majority" is frequently attributed to various Founding Fathers of the United States, only John Adams is known to have used it, arguing against government by a single unicameral elected body. Writing in defense of the Constitution in March 1788, Adams referred to "a single sovereign assembly, each member…only accountable to his constituents; and the majority of members who have been of one party" as a "tyranny of the majority", attempting to highlight the need instead for "a mixed government, consisting of three branches". Constitutional author James Madison presented a similar idea in Federalist 10, citing the destabilizing effect of "the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority" on a government, though the essay as a whole focuses on the Constitution's efforts to mitigate factionalism generally.

Later users include Edmund Burke, who wrote in a 1790 letter that "The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny." It was further popularised by John Stuart Mill, influenced by Tocqueville, in On Liberty (1859). Friedrich Nietzsche used the phrase in the first sequel to Human, All Too Human (1879). Ayn Rand wrote that individual rights are not subject to a public vote, and that the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities and "the smallest minority on earth is the individual". In Herbert Marcuse's 1965 essay "Repressive Tolerance", he said "tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery" and that "this sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested". In 1994, legal scholar Lani Guinier used the phrase as the title for a collection of law review articles.

A term used in Classical and Hellenistic Greece for oppressive popular rule was ochlocracy ("mob rule&quot ; tyranny meant rule by one man—whether undesirable or not.


It requires honest brokers in the Senate and unfortunately we haven't had that in decades. It's why the US Senate was once known as the worlds greatest deliberative body.

treestar

(82,383 posts)
35. agreed, this is how the constitution functions
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:40 PM
Dec 2022

if a majority wants something improper, it can be found unconstitutional.

Whiskeytide

(4,473 posts)
50. The Supreme Court found slavery to be perfectly constitutional, and that ...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 07:07 PM
Dec 2022

… opinion stuck for a lot longer than it should have.

I just love the “it can’t happen here” crowd. Shit, a majority - on that day at least - elected Тяцмp to the most powerful office on the planet. And you want to make it so the majority is regulated by only the courts - which the current majority selects for lifetime appointments?

Be careful what you wish for.

treestar

(82,383 posts)
51. Nothing is perfect
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 07:23 PM
Dec 2022

But it has worked pretty well in most cases. It's better than minority rule. What's so great about that? What if the minority wanted a law that violated the Constitution? In fact, if anyone does, it is the Trump followers.

Whiskeytide

(4,473 posts)
55. But we don't actually have "minority ...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 07:33 PM
Dec 2022

… rule”. We have a minority that won’t play by the rules, won’t honor custom and tradition, refuses to compromise, and is willing to hurt vulnerable Americans in order to acquire power. They lie most of the time, and have a media apparatus backing up their lies.

That sucks immensely. But it’s not the fault of the way the legislative branch was designed. It’s more reflective of the lack of character of the assholes in the repub party. I bet, during the drafting of the Constitution, somebody said “what if a bunch of assholes get elected and try to fuck up everything we’re doing here”? And he was then immediately shouted down as an alarmist.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
58. When did a majority elect Trump?
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 08:24 PM
Dec 2022

We're talking here about numbers of people, after all--not numbers of electors.

There's no way to parse it that can say a majority of people elected Trump.

And, yes, I know about the Electoral College and I know that Trump won fair and square under the rules as they exist.

That does not mean he got a majority of the vote either time he ran.

Whiskeytide

(4,473 posts)
65. Yes. You're right. I used a bad example. Perhaps a better one ...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 10:49 PM
Dec 2022

… is that a huge majority elected DeSantis. Are you ok with that asshole and his supporters having unrestricted power to make the rules for everyone in FL since they are an overwhelming majority? Wouldn’t it be nice if the blue counties in FL had some obstacles they could throw up in his way?

The problem isn’t the representative characteristics of the bi-cameral legislature. It’s that one side elects asshats who want to blow up the system. Unless the stupids get smarter, that’s not likely to change. And according to the Law of Idiocracy, it’s more likely to get worse.

dpibel

(2,958 posts)
67. Interesting question!
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 12:29 AM
Dec 2022

And I say that sincerely.

But I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how it's analogous to talk about the majority of Floridians electing a governor (which is not at all the house or the senate, and I don't know and am too lazy to look up how FL goes about constituting its house and senate) and the fact that the US Senate is antidemocratic to the core.

It seems to me you're saying, "The majority of Floridians are crazy, hence we should celebrate that the US Senate allows minority rule."

I'm not sure I can get behind that.

 

Genki Hikari

(1,766 posts)
94. A majority of voters didn't vote for that...thing
Wed Dec 14, 2022, 02:58 AM
Dec 2022

States with enough electoral votes did that.

Big difference.

Cuthbert Allgood

(5,034 posts)
29. Our bicameral system was not there to appease slave states.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:31 PM
Dec 2022

Electoral college? Sure. Not two houses in Congress.

hunter

(38,471 posts)
62. Oh, please. Our Senate was modeled after the House of Lords...
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 09:39 PM
Dec 2022

... because many of these powerful slave owners considered themselves something akin to "Lords" of the New World, not by virtue of their birth, but by virtue of their own inherent superiority as white men who controlled large estates. These were the asses who had to be appeased.

sarisataka

(19,466 posts)
63. Are you aware
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 09:47 PM
Dec 2022

The idea of the Senate, each state having equal representation, was proposed by that noted slave state New Jersey?

Virginia proposed a bicameral Congress with both Houses based on representation by population.

hunter

(38,471 posts)
66. Virginia had the largest population of the 13 colonies.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 11:09 PM
Dec 2022

Of course they wanted representation by population. On the face of it. But they were also keenly aware of the growing abolition movements, and the growing mercantile and industrial economies of the North, for example An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, passed by the Fifth Pennsylvania General Assembly on 1 March 1780.

There was a lot going on here below the surface. The fears of those who fancied themselves Lords and Archbishops of the New World got us the Senate, the electoral college, the three-fifths compromise, the tenth amendment, a chaotic banking system... Not to mention a Civil War.

Cuthbert Allgood

(5,034 posts)
77. Right, so having a house of Congress based on state representation hurt the slave states.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 12:14 PM
Dec 2022

But, you just carry on with your ill informed arguments.

sarisataka

(19,466 posts)
85. Ironically those "Lords" and
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:27 PM
Dec 2022

"Archbishops" came from the North.

The Electoral College, Senate, 3/5 compromise and 10th Amendment were all proposed or co-sponsored by soon to be non-slave northern states.

Pennsylvania did introduce an act to abolish slavery, yet still had slaves 60 years later.

hunter

(38,471 posts)
91. I was thinking people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 03:08 PM
Dec 2022

Those are the sorts of people who had to be satisfied if the Union was to succeed.

The motivations of the industrial and mercantile classes were not pure.

Whereas Thomas Jefferson probably thought of himself as the benevolent provider for all the tenants, slaves, women, and children on his estate, making it a matter of course to him that congressional representation should be based on that entire population, the industrial and mercantile class didn't want to cede political power to slave owners in proportion to the number of slaves they owned. By their reckoning a man who owned one or two slaves was the equal of a man who owned a hundred.

By the three-fifths compromise these secular lords like Thomas Jefferson still got the better deal.

As I've expressed myself elsewhere, the entire foundation of the Union was rotten. It could have turned out that slaves weren't even counted as people, which is what happened to the Indians who were specifically excluded from apportionment, the end result being further genocide and dislocation.


Cuthbert Allgood

(5,034 posts)
69. That's an interesting theory. It has no basis in the actual deliberation of the country founding,
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 09:42 AM
Dec 2022

but interesting nonetheless. There are a lot of things you can read about why we have a bicameral vs unicameral legislature. Spoilers: unicameral governments are quite often a hot mess.

hunter

(38,471 posts)
70. All democracies are a "hot mess."
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 10:43 AM
Dec 2022

The alternatives are frequently worse.

You know, of course, that senators weren't popularly elected until the seventeenth amendment which was ratified in 1913. Before that they were selected by state legislators, supposedly on the basis of these senators being superior men... of some sort.

As the Constitution was being debated the "pastoral" slave states really did see the writing on the wall that they would soon be overtaken in population and economic power by the increasingly abolitionist industrial and mercantile states.

In modern times it becomes clear that a sluggish but honest bureaucracy is a better ballast against the excesses of populism than a senate. Career civil servants and specialists counterbalance populism. That's why the fascists want to sweep these bureaucracies away and run government "like a business."

Cuthbert Allgood

(5,034 posts)
76. The Senate was that way to put a balance between state and national governments.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 12:13 PM
Dec 2022

It's federalism at it's most basic level. They wanted states to still have power and not have everything just be majority rule of the whole country. The Senate helps ensure that. Madison and Hamilton wrote a whole thing about it. Maybe reading the Federalist Papers would help you understand where you are just wrong on this.

hunter

(38,471 posts)
78. You seem to think I respect the "founding fathers." I don't.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 12:48 PM
Dec 2022

U.S. history reeks of slavery and genocide. It's a fucking miracle anything good evolved from it.

I am familiar with the Federalist Papers. Nothing sacred there.

I'm not claiming anyone else's history is better.

It's fun to speculate what might have happened if the American Revolution had failed. Would we all be Canadian?

The U.S. Constitution, as it was written, has some extreme flaws.

One of the things that holds us back from improving on it is the fear we'd be opening the floodgates to something worse.

I fear what the deplorables might do, they fear what I might do.

Voltaire2

(13,690 posts)
81. well no it was specifically designed to ensure that the slave states would
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:01 PM
Dec 2022

not have their humans taken away.

Imperialism Inc.

(2,495 posts)
87. That makes precisely zero sense.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:43 PM
Dec 2022

If it is a injustice for people living in populous areas to make rules for those living in less populous areas then the opposite is also true. But, if you buy into the idea that it is an injustice, then there is any easy way to see which is the bigger injustice. Which one commits the injustice against more people? In other words, if you actually believe this then you should support equal say for all.

CloudWatcher

(1,865 posts)
4. The Senate should go the way of the House of Lords in the UK
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:31 PM
Dec 2022

The Senate and the Electoral College are anachronisms and should be discarded into the dustbins of elitism.

They are the antithesis of democracy and one-person-one-vote.

The odds of this happening in our lifetimes are microscopic, but the first step is to realize that the original design is flawed.

Johonny

(21,197 posts)
82. That is fairly obvious
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:08 PM
Dec 2022

Although the constitution in no way provides a way to do that easily since the house and senate have separate powers.

I've proposed for the establishment of the senate redefining the state as sweeping out equal areas of population with the division going to a non-partisan method every ten years. In theory this is possible, in practice, this would require the states with everything to lose, giving up power.

Basically, every solution you can think of requires low population states giving up their huge amount of undeserved power, so it's very unlikely.

Still it's clearly jerrymandering built into the constitution, and it's getting silly as the population becomes more and more unbalanced. There is simply no way to explain why California should be so unrepresented in Congress (both in the house and senate). And it's no surprise California receives back less per person back from the federal government than it gives as a result.

sarisataka

(19,466 posts)
8. California is one state and has 2 senators
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:43 PM
Dec 2022

Wyoming is one state and also has 2 senators

American government 101

BlueCheeseAgain

(1,654 posts)
10. Luckily (for now), both Dems and Reps have their own share of small states.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:48 PM
Dec 2022

They get Wyoming, the Dakotas, Alaska, Idaho, and Montana. We get Vermont, Delaware, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and New Hampshire. We really should have Maine, too, but they seem to like Susan Collins.

As for large states (where votes are "wasted&quot , right now we have California, but they have Texas and Florida.

Cyrano

(15,115 posts)
21. Maine likes Susan Collins because she's always "concerned."
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:14 PM
Dec 2022

She was "concerned" every time TFG did something totally nuts. She was "concerned" every time the Republican Party tried to take America over a cliff. Yet, she voted with her Party on virtually every piece of craziness they tried to turn into law.

I'm sure that if a giant meteor was headed straight for Earth with the certainty of a collision, Susan would be "concerned."

Celerity

(44,499 posts)
26. In terms of Senators & the 20 smallest States, the Rethugs have 23 out of 40 possible, we have 17
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:28 PM
Dec 2022

Last edited Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:20 PM - Edit history (1)

and may have as few as 14 or 15 after 2024 (if we lose WV, and/or MT, and/or NV).


Bold is 2 Dems
Italics is split
Plain is 2 Rethugs

Wyoming
Vermont
Alaska
North Dakota
South Dakota
Delaware
Rhode Island
Montana
Maine
New Hampshire
Hawaii

West Virginia
Idaho
Nebraska
New Mexico
Kansas
Mississippi
Arkansas
Nevada
Iowa

jimfields33

(16,676 posts)
41. Thanks. You did a great job pointing out the inequity of the senate.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:23 PM
Dec 2022

Thank you for that. Sometimes seeing something “on paper” wakes me up to reality.

Celerity

(44,499 posts)
43. also it's depressing that soon 70% of the seats will be controlled by only 30% of the population
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:39 PM
Dec 2022

That 30% is whiter, less educated, more fundie christian, older, more homophobic, more misogynistic, more likely to own firearms, and more RW reactionary than the other 70%, who only will control 30% of the seats.

intelpug

(89 posts)
68. Inequity of the senate
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:06 AM
Dec 2022

Actually there really isn't any inequity in the senate , each state still only has, and gets two. Now inequity as far as party affiliation? your darn right it's inequitable however the founders only guaranteed equal representation to the states , they did not anywhere guarantee an equal number of members of one party or another.People make the mistake of thinking the parties are a designated part of the government when in fact they are not, the members they get elected certainly influence government but, that does not make those parties 'THE' government. That is why right now the Democratic party CONTROLS congress and after new year the Republican party will CONTROL congress but neither one actually IS CONGRESS itself.

Kaleva

(36,589 posts)
11. Why is Vermont never mentioned in these discussions?
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:48 PM
Dec 2022

It's population isn't much more then Wyoming's and it also has two senators.

GreenWave

(7,261 posts)
12. And the solution is....51 national senators.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:51 PM
Dec 2022

No more VP breaking ties. Every two years top 17 make it. We get to vote once each time. Add states like DC, PR, VI... it makes no difference.

Celerity

(44,499 posts)
15. Puerto Rico is not at all guaranteed to yield 2 Dem Senators.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 03:58 PM
Dec 2022
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenniffer_Gonz%C3%A1lez

Jenniffer Aydin González Colón (born August 5, 1976) is a Puerto Rican politician who serves as the 20th Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.

González has served in leadership positions in the New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico (PNP) and in the Republican Party of the United States.

These positions included being the chairwoman of the Puerto Rico Republican Party, speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, and vice-chair of the PNP.

González is the youngest person to be Resident Commissioner and the first woman to hold the role.

mopinko

(70,713 posts)
20. those 4 states should go back to being 1 state.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 04:10 PM
Dec 2022

they were split in the 1st place to get 6 more senators.
i find the idea of splitting cali into 3 states more appealing every day.
old joke- new state names-
log, fog and smog.

 

Genki Hikari

(1,766 posts)
96. Another solution would be for blue cities or counties
Wed Dec 14, 2022, 03:51 AM
Dec 2022

In red states to become their own states.

Blue Houston by itself has a higher population than 15 of the states. That's not counting Harris County as a whole, or, say, a state combining Harris and Ft Bend counties--the most likely alliance in that area.

The city/county governments of these massive population centers are likewise bigger than anything those smaller states have, so the transition to statehood would be quite easy to pull off.

We'd not only get the Senators we need, but also could smash the gerrymandering the r thugs have done to dilute Democratic votes for Congress, too. Those new blue city-states would get to draw their own maps that could better represent their population, at long last.

Example: Right now, a State of Phoenix would get 2 Congressional reps based on the city population by itself. Go for a State of Maricopa, and they'd get 6-7 reps that they could divvy up how they wanted--not how the AZ legislature wants their representation to look like.

Major cities (or some combo of cities, counties or metro areas) becoming their own states would be all win for the Democrats, because it would return the government to people, rather than power derived from acreage with anachronistic boundaries.

There'd have to be some limits on who could declare statehood--say, the population must be at least as large as Wyoming or whoever the least populated state is at the time, and maybe something about a potential state having a local government budget that isn't impossibly in the red. And of course voter approval.

But other than those ground rules, it could work, and almost always in favor of the Ds.

Initech

(100,387 posts)
42. They also only have one Congressional representative.
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:29 PM
Dec 2022

Who was recently replaced with a hardline MAGA nutcase.

 

ripcord

(5,553 posts)
44. The makeup of the Senate was a check on the power of the more populous state
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:39 PM
Dec 2022

I would say it is working as intended.

Cyrano

(15,115 posts)
45. Yep. Exactly as intended when
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 05:52 PM
Dec 2022

the Constitution was cobbled together, with too many compromises for wealthy slave owners, in Philadelphia in the year 1787.

And today, about 235 years later, we're still stuck with some of the racist shit they incorporated into the Constitution. Yet, today's racists choose to ignore the amendments that were added to try to right some of the injustices therein.

treestar

(82,383 posts)
53. What power would Californians have
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 07:27 PM
Dec 2022

over others in a proportionately representative system? Of their 53 representatives, some are Republican, some are Democrats, and all are individual to their districts, as in every state. If they don't vote as a block, how do they give California power to stomp on small states? The bigger the state, the less likely they will vote as a block, and the more likely the districts have divergent interests.

It's become a system unfair to people in larger states.

Kaleva

(36,589 posts)
83. More people in CA voted for TFG then in many smaller states combined
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:12 PM
Dec 2022

Those people will probably argue that the two D senators don't represent them

Cyrano

(15,115 posts)
88. With a population of almost 40 million, of course the
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:50 PM
Dec 2022

Orange Prick will get millions of votes. Just because California is a "Blue State," doesn't mean they don't don't have their share of those who want to live in a theocracy, and many, many total morons.

treestar

(82,383 posts)
92. Yes indeed. Especially the Electoral College
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 05:26 PM
Dec 2022

In the end, you literally vote for the opposing candidate if your candidate loses the state. Your vote converted to an Electoral vote, with the winner-take-all system, means exactly that.

KentuckyWoman

(6,709 posts)
47. Technically speaking
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 06:12 PM
Dec 2022

Senators don't work for the people. They work for the State government.
Congress works for the people.

Yes it's all screwed up now, but that was the intent. Now far too many just out for themselves.

roamer65

(36,752 posts)
64. States like CA are stuck in a "constitutional straightjacket".
Mon Dec 12, 2022, 10:35 PM
Dec 2022

The Constitution is in desperate need of progressive reform, but opening it up for reform via convention could mean it ends up far worse than it is now.

The RW nutbags would try to stick garbage into it and you can bet they will fight giving large blue states any more power.

Mosby

(16,564 posts)
75. Senate should be dissolved, along with the electoral college.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 12:07 PM
Dec 2022

It's an anachronism from another era, that serves no purpose anymore. Letting the political system ossify benefits no one.

Kaleva

(36,589 posts)
84. We could probably do away with states all together
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:22 PM
Dec 2022

State services would be taken over by national agencies.

There'd be no districts. People would vote for party and the vote would be proportional. Each party would have a slate of 435 candidates for the House and 100 candidates for the Senate. The party would decide which of their candidates get seated based on the percentage of the vote the party gets.

Elections for the House and Senate would be every two years.

The party with the plurity of seats in each chamber will select the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader respectively.

There'd be no gerrymandering or squabbling about 1 state having more power then another

Another option is to keep the states but select members of the House and Senate the way I described.

Imperialism Inc.

(2,495 posts)
86. Good luck getting buy in on that here.
Tue Dec 13, 2022, 01:39 PM
Dec 2022

Obviously a system where 40 million people in one location have the same number of Senators as 1 million in a another is indefensible logically and morally but that won't stop people from pretending it makes sense.

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