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Old 06-01-2019, 07:50 PM
CoastalMaineiac is offline
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Should we abolish the Senate?


I've been reading a lot lately about the nature of the Electoral College. It's come up for debate in Maine, because the state is thinking about joining a compact that would award our electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote, regardless of how the people in Maine actually voted. Supposedly this would take effect when enough states to determine the outcome of the election join the program.

The issue always seems to come down to "one person, one vote" vs "rural states should keep their influence."

The thing is, the real power in the country is in the legislative branch. They are the ones with the power to declare war, to levy taxes, to pass laws, and to otherwise do things that can actually effect our day-to-day lives. The president is a fairly weak executive, with very limited authority by comparison He can't really do much of anything without the approval of both houses of Congress. If we change the system of electing the president, that still leaves us with a legislative branch with the exact same power imbalance that folks complain about with the Electoral College. So shouldn't we also abolish the Senate?
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Old 06-01-2019, 08:28 PM
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Among other things that the Senate does, is provide a brake on rash popular choices. (In the case of the current Senate, it provides a brake on well considered proposals when they're from the "wrong" party, but eliminating the Senate would only move the location of the battles.)

The House is supposed to be the "Rah, rah, let's get it done!" chamber giving voice to the people with a lower age to join, fewer protocols to observe, etc.

The Senate is supposed to be the deliberative chamber, requiring greater age to get in, with many odd protocols to be threaded to accomplish anything.

That is why it is often not a heavy burden to stampede the House into impeaching someone, but it is much more difficult to persuade the Senate to convict.

If you do not like the way that Senators are allocated by state, suggest a new manner to fill that body, but I am going to oppose any effort that results in a unicameral legislative body.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:55 PM
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On one hand you have congress where members always have to worry about reelection every 2 years so I feel they make choices based on short term things while the senate, since they can wait 6 years, can see things for the long term.

So I think both are good. Sort of like the UK has the house of lords and house of commons.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:03 PM
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First we had this thread alleging that "the Supreme Court is pretty much discredited garbage as an institution at this point"; now we have the current thread inviting us to abolish the Senate. Are we just getting rid of every branch of the U. S. Government today?
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:15 PM
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People are stomping their little feet, like children do when they don't get their way.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:22 PM
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People are stomping their little feet, like children do when they don't get their way.
This, exactly. The % of people that would actually support abolishing the Senate is probably tiny (I can't readily find a pollster that's even bothered to ask because it's such a fringe position).
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:28 PM
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First we had this thread alleging that "the Supreme Court is pretty much discredited garbage as an institution at this point"; now we have the current thread inviting us to abolish the Senate. Are we just getting rid of every branch of the U. S. Government today?
For the record, I don't actually think the Senate should be abolished. I was just posing the question because, for all the people who are upset by the electoral college system, nobody seems to even notice that the same disparity of representation exists in the legislative branch.

It seems logically inconsistent to me to care so much some states have proportionally more influence than others when electing the president, but otherwise not care that they have the same disproportionate influence in the legislative branch, especially given that the legislative branch is the one that actually has the authority to write laws, raise taxes, and otherwise do things that actually have a discernible impact on the average Joe's daily life.

I've always figured that the E.C. was borne out of the same compromise that gave us a bicameral legislature, which is why each state got a number of votes equal to their representation in the legislature. So why is it the E.C. takes the brunt of people's ire these days? But the bicameral legislature does not?

Last edited by CoastalMaineiac; 06-01-2019 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:09 PM
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For the record, I don't actually think the Senate should be abolished. I was just posing the question because, for all the people who are upset by the electoral college system, nobody seems to even notice that the same disparity of representation exists in the legislative branch.
Count me in this group. I'm very strongly in favor of abolishing the Electoral College. But I have no substantial objection to the way the Senate is elected (and I'm from a large state which is presumably getting screwed by this).
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:17 AM
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First we had this thread alleging that "the Supreme Court is pretty much discredited garbage as an institution at this point"; now we have the current thread inviting us to abolish the Senate. Are we just getting rid of every branch of the U. S. Government today?
Two down, two to go. Let the civil servants rule!
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:28 PM
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Count me another one who thinks that the very existence of the Senate is not what's the problem.
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Old 06-01-2019, 10:54 PM
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I'll stick up for CoastalMaineiac's question. Wyoming, with .17% of the population of the United States should get to elect two U.S. Senators because. . . why exactly? Why should a state with the population of Albuquerque control 1/50 of the voting rights in the Senate? It's even more disproportionate when you consider that individual Senators are particularly powerful compared to House members, due to the hold, the filibuster, the need for unanimous consent to conduct much of the chamber's business, etc.

And I'm simply dumbfounded by anyone who continues to view the Senate as the more "deliberative" body. Slower, sure, but point to a recent example where the high-minded deliberation of the Senate tempered the rash action of the House.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:04 PM
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I'll stick up for CoastalMaineiac's question. Wyoming, with .17% of the population of the United States should get to elect two U.S. Senators because. . . why exactly? ...
Because that's what was agreed upon in the beginning. If you want to change that, they even provided you a mechanism for doing so. I guess it's time to fire up your "let's abolish the Senate" campaign. Good luck (you'll need it).
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:11 PM
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And I'm simply dumbfounded by anyone who continues to view the Senate as the more "deliberative" body. Slower, sure, but point to a recent example where the high-minded deliberation of the Senate tempered the rash action of the House.
The point made was that was the designers' intent, not that the machinations of McConnell, using his arcane knowledge of the rules to destroy the nation, was a good thing.
I still believe that having two houses puts limits on the ability of various groups to railroad panic legislation on the country. It does rely on the members of both houses to act in good faith, but so does the presidency and it is currently in failure, as well. I am open to reform, but not if the baby splashes in the street alongside the bath water.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:26 PM
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I'll stick up for CoastalMaineiac's question. Wyoming, with .17% of the population of the United States should get to elect two U.S. Senators because. . . why exactly? Why should a state with the population of Albuquerque control 1/50 of the voting rights in the Senate? It's even more disproportionate when you consider that individual Senators are particularly powerful compared to House members, due to the hold, the filibuster, the need for unanimous consent to conduct much of the chamber's business, etc.

And I'm simply dumbfounded by anyone who continues to view the Senate as the more "deliberative" body. Slower, sure, but point to a recent example where the high-minded deliberation of the Senate tempered the rash action of the House.
Then the people of California would vote to move millions of their extra people out there. Californians could also vote to remove any other states water rights. The far left of San Fransisco would have no conservative balance.

Ok, maybe not but you get the picture. The senate forces the country as a whole to consider the views of the smaller states.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:27 PM
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Abolishing it would never happen. Reforming it wouldn't be a bad idea.

If I could snap my fingers and change it: We keep it two senators directly elected by the people from each state, but instead of one Senator casting one vote, each senator's vote is proportional to the population of his or her state.

So you take each state's population and each Senator casts a vote representing half of that.

This way, the Senate can still be the deliberative body, Senators still represent the interests of their state rather than their district, but now every state is more accurately represented, as are its citizens.

If you want to see what the US Senate looks like in this situation with the current Senate:

Democrats cast about 162,732,000 votes.
Republicans cast about 145,073,000 votes.
Independents cast about 976,000 votes.

The Independents both caucus with the Dems, which gives Dems control, 53-47%. Not filibuster-proof, and not even a lock for Dems to hold onto going forward. But definitely more fair and representative.

Last edited by Happy Lendervedder; 06-01-2019 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:34 PM
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Conveniently, the "reform" that you consider "fair" increases the Dems power. What a shocking surprise.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:40 PM
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If you're going to abolish anything, abolish the presidency. Abolish the executive branch, and have a bicameral legislative branch in which the majority can enable a foreign minister on his/her behalf.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:17 AM
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Half of the US population lives in these 9 states

Half the country is represented by 18 senators. The other half is represented by 82.

We might be stuck with this because it would be very difficult to change, but the current situation is plainly unfair and I'm pretty sure not what the founders had in mind.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:28 PM
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Half of the US population lives in these 9 states

Half the country is represented by 18 senators. The other half is represented by 82.

We might be stuck with this because it would be very difficult to change, but the current situation is plainly unfair and I'm pretty sure not what the founders had in mind.
Actually, in 1790, half the population of the US lived in only 4 states (out of 13): Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. So, with respect, the Founding Fathers were very aware of the possibility of a limited number of states having a significant majority of the population. That's precisely why they created the Senate the way they did.

And, of course, the fact that only 9 states have half the population is exactly why many people oppose the notion of a popularly elected president; as long as urban areas have relative similarity in political viewpoint on significant issues, people who live in more rural areas will always view the potential that the urban populations will be able to dominate politics with severe skepticism.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:00 PM
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Actually, in 1790, half the population of the US lived in only 4 states (out of 13): Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. So, with respect, the Founding Fathers were very aware of the possibility of a limited number of states having a significant majority of the population. That's precisely why they created the Senate the way they did.

And, of course, the fact that only 9 states have half the population is exactly why many people oppose the notion of a popularly elected president; as long as urban areas have relative similarity in political viewpoint on significant issues, people who live in more rural areas will always view the potential that the urban populations will be able to dominate politics with severe skepticism.
Hey! Don't cloud a good debate with historical context.
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:08 PM
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as long as urban areas have relative similarity in political viewpoint on significant issues, people who live in more rural areas will always view the potential that the urban populations will be able to dominate politics with severe skepticism.
But you have no problem with the same situation if the positions are reversed? It's okay for a rural minority to impose its views over an urban majority?
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:17 AM
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Actually, in 1790, half the population of the US lived in only 4 states (out of 13): Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. So, with respect, the Founding Fathers were very aware of the possibility of a limited number of states having a significant majority of the population. That's precisely why they created the Senate the way they did.
This is wildly misleading. You're stating it as if they viewed that as a bonus. They created it that way not because they thought that sort of representation was good, but because giving that concession to small states was the only way they would join the union. A necessary evil.

Hamilton explains in The Federalist papers #22 that it's a bunch of bullshit and it's only gotten worse.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:19 AM
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Conveniently, the "reform" that you consider "fair" increases the Dems power. What a shocking surprise.
Almost as shocking as your frequent calls for the elimination of Gerrymandering where Republicans have won disproportionate representation based on the popular vote.

Oh, wait; that has not happened.

Let's stick to the actual discussion and leave partisan sniping for a different thread, (preferably the Pit).

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Old 06-02-2019, 01:49 AM
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The issue always seems to come down to "one person, one vote" vs "rural states should keep their influence."
When is this canard going away?

Is Vermont famed as the corn capital of North America? Is Delaware teeming with amber waves of grain? Is this why these tiny states have such disproportionate electoral strength?

No. The largest state for agriculture, by far, is ... wait for it ... California! California has a larger land area than Montana, or than both Dakotas added together. There are 24 Senators representing 12 states whose combined area is less than that of California.

Wasn't there a proposal to split California into four states to pick up six more Senators? Perhaps that's worth doing if/when humans regain control of Middle Earth.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:52 AM
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Wasn't there a proposal to split California into four states to pick up six more Senators? Perhaps that's worth doing if/when humans regain control of Middle Earth.
I think that's doomed by the placement of the second semicolon in the first paragraph of Article IV, Section 3:
Quote:
New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.
As I read that:
1) New states may be admitted into the Union.
2) No new state may be formed within an already-existing state.
3) New states can be formed from the joining of existing states, or parts of existing states, with the consent of Congress and the legislatures of the existing states in question.

So the solution (which I'm sure is politically implausible, so I'm just having fun here) is to have California come up with a plan to divide itself into several sub-states, all of which share a border with Nevada. Then strike a deal with Nevada where in return for cash, water rights, or other valuable considerations, Nevada agrees to contribute a few acres of Nevada to each of the California sub-states, so that they would each constitute "the junction of two or more...parts of states" which could be OK'd by Congress and the respective state legislatures.

One of those California sub-states would have to give a few acres of present California to Nevada, so that Nevada minus some modest acreage didn't run afoul of the "no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state" language.

Of course, once California and Nevada did a deal like that, there'd be nothing to stop other pairs or clusters of states, no matter how small, from doing the same thing. The Dakotas could collaborate to turn themselves into a whole bunch of smaller states, and next thing you know, the flag would have to have hundreds of white stars in that blue field.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:48 AM
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I think that's doomed by the placement of the second semicolon in the first paragraph of Article IV, Section 3:
...

Of course, once California and Nevada did a deal like that, there'd be nothing to stop other pairs or clusters of states, no matter how small, from doing the same thing. The Dakotas could collaborate to turn themselves into a whole bunch of smaller states, and next thing you know, the flag would have to have hundreds of white stars in that blue field.
I don't know how Scotus would rule on that semicolon — a case has been made to partially invalidate the 2nd Amendment based on a smudge that looks like a comma! (My best solution to the Axis of Evil on Scotus would draw a Warning.)

But the Dakotas would not be able to gerrymander themselves unless the R's got control of both Congressional houses.

Is my proposal "partisan?" Sure! Criminals have taken over the GOP and have declared War. It's foolish for Americans to ignore that fact. It's a delusion to imagine that "playing fair" has any merit in this subverted former Republic. Restore Democracy by whatever means necessary. Then we can talk about fairness.

Last edited by septimus; 06-02-2019 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:20 AM
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I think that's doomed by the placement of the second semicolon in the first paragraph of Article IV, Section 3: As I read that:
1) New states may be admitted into the Union.
2) No new state may be formed within an already-existing state.
3) New states can be formed from the joining of existing states, or parts of existing states, with the consent of Congress and the legislatures of the existing states in question.

So the solution (which I'm sure is politically implausible, so I'm just having fun here) is to have California come up with a plan to divide itself into several sub-states, all of which share a border with Nevada. Then strike a deal with Nevada where in return for cash, water rights, or other valuable considerations, Nevada agrees to contribute a few acres of Nevada to each of the California sub-states, so that they would each constitute "the junction of two or more...parts of states" which could be OK'd by Congress and the respective state legislatures.

One of those California sub-states would have to give a few acres of present California to Nevada, so that Nevada minus some modest acreage didn't run afoul of the "no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state" language.

Of course, once California and Nevada did a deal like that, there'd be nothing to stop other pairs or clusters of states, no matter how small, from doing the same thing. The Dakotas could collaborate to turn themselves into a whole bunch of smaller states, and next thing you know, the flag would have to have hundreds of white stars in that blue field.
I see what you are saying, but that also seems like a hypertextual reading of that clause. Also it belies experience as West Virginia was formed entirely from Virginia.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:59 AM
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Conveniently, the "reform" that you consider "fair" increases the Dems power. What a shocking surprise.
Try to divide up the political power in this country in any way that resembles "fair" and you end up with an increase in Dem power. That's the problem - that a minority party (by a wide margin) can hold a majority of political power.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:27 AM
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The Constitution provides that NO amendment may ever be had which denies a state its equal representation in the Senate, so any proposal along these lines is a non-starter.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:32 AM
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The Constitution provides that NO amendment may ever be had which denies a state its equal representation in the Senate, so any proposal along these lines is a non-starter.
Technically, it says no state can be denied equal representation without its consent. So I think an amendment giving proportional Senate representation would be legal if it was ratified by all fifty states. Which admittedly is unlikely to happen (we all know how difficult North Dakota can be).

Of course, there's nothing that prohibits abolishing the Senate. If that was done, each state would still have equal representation ie zero.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 06-02-2019 at 01:34 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:47 AM
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Of course, there's nothing that prohibits abolishing the Senate. If that was done, each state would still have equal representation ie zero.
I think that is a bit too creative for its own good. Equal "representation" requires a form of representation does it not? And the mention of a body named the "Senate" requires there be a Senate, no? That seems a mathematical, overly linguistic and artificial construction of the Constitution.

We might as well say that "equal protection of the law" is satisfied by providing all persons no protection of any law.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:18 AM
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I think that is a bit too creative for its own good. Equal "representation" requires a form of representation does it not? And the mention of a body named the "Senate" requires there be a Senate, no? That seems a mathematical, overly linguistic and artificial construction of the Constitution.

We might as well say that "equal protection of the law" is satisfied by providing all persons no protection of any law.
Yeah, word games really don't work in trying change govt to make election outcomes more to your liking (which is exactly what most recent 'reform' proposals are all about, though this one even more extreme than usual). Unless/until you can elect reps (who then appoint judges) who make the whole thing a complete joke. Which can happen. It doesn't matter what a constitution says or was clearly intended to mean if the level of cynicism and 'ends justify means' rises sufficiently. Lots of examples of that around the world in modern history.

And I mean really, it's *so* shockingly 'unfair' that the Senate is composed the way it's written in the Constitution and has always been. I mean who knew, right? Also hard to imagine why smaller states insisted that future reduction of their Senate representation not even be subject to the amendment process but each one's consent. Why would they have ever done that?

Last edited by Corry El; 06-02-2019 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:39 PM
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Also hard to imagine why smaller states insisted that future reduction of their Senate representation not even be subject to the amendment process but each one's consent. Why would they have ever done that?
States insisted? How do states communicate? I've live in a state all my life and I've never heard it say a word.

States don't talk. People talk. So explain why a person who lives in Wyoming should have more representation than a person who lives in California.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:16 PM
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Technically, it says no state can be denied equal representation without its consent. So I think an amendment giving proportional Senate representation would be legal if it was ratified by all fifty states. Which admittedly is unlikely to happen (we all know how difficult North Dakota can be).

Of course, there's nothing that prohibits abolishing the Senate. If that was done, each state would still have equal representation ie zero.
You don't need a single 50 state approved amendment, just two amendments that meet the standard amendment bar.

Amendment A strikes the clause requiring equal representation in the senate.

Amendment B changes the senate to something new.
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Old 06-02-2019, 04:11 AM
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If we want a deliberative body, we should go the Roman Senate / House of Lords route:

-- Membership is for life
-- Membership is based on time of service in elected roles, with more weight exponentially based on level such that ex-two-term Presidents get in, Representatives would get in after 24 years of service, or less if they've also served as mayors/state representatives, etc.*
-- Senators get a least a million dollars a year salary indexed to inflation
-- Senators may have NO other source of income
-- If no one within a state qualifies in a four year span, there may be an election amongst the most-qualified to add to the senate, which would ensure some equality in membership amongst the states although the larger ones would have more people "naturally" qualify.

It certainly has its flaws but that would ensure a deliberative, independent body. One thing it would not be is collegial since the number of members would be larger than a person's monkeysphere so they could not all be considered close friends of each other, but the collegiality ship has already sailed.

*Adjust the number of years to qualify depending on the size of the Senate you want and how many vacancies there are.

Last edited by Ludovic; 06-02-2019 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:33 AM
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OK, if we interpret the Constitution as requiring a Senate with a nonzero number of senators for each state, then we could pass an amendment to de-power it, much like the UK did with the House of Lords. Every state would still get two Senators, they could still deliberate and give their official advice and judgement on legislation, they could still vote, and the democratically-elected House could hold all of the actual power.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:42 AM
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I'm not a fan of the Senate because it is ultimately undemocratic, and I am a firm believer in democracy. The way senate seats are distributed and they way the senate sets its own rules undermines the will of the majority and delays good legislation way more often than it prevents bad legislation. If we keep the Senate, we should keep it the way the UK keeps the House of Lords, as a cute political curiosity with almost no power. I would make the Senate an unpaid position, and all senators get to do is confirm executive branch appointments, and then by a simple majority.

I'd also increase the number of Representatives in the House, get rid of all US Territories by making them states or parts of states, and let everyone over 18 vote, but like I said, I think democracy is a good thing.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:17 PM
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Among other things—

I’d be in favor of reallocating both the Senate and the House to be based on socio-economic zones rather than states.

I’d lift the numerical limits on House numbers and reallocate to make it more proportional.

I’d nationalize Senate, House, and Presidential elections and give line-drawing to a non-political body.

I’d adopt a New Zealand style hybrid system with proportional representation with top offs from party lists and some form of preference voting.

Essentially I’d make the national government representative of the people, removing any representation for states.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:35 PM
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Iíd nationalize Senate, House, and Presidential elections and give line-drawing to a non-political body.
I just don't see how this can happen. It's like the Supreme Court; it was intended to be a non-political body but as people realized its functions had political impacts, the choices of who served on it became political issues. The same would happen with any organization tasked with drawing congressional districts. Its decisions would have significant political effects so politicians would want to influence the membership of the organization. Democrats would try to get Democrats in and Republicans would try to get Republicans in. Direct elections wouldn't be a solution; parties would just run candidates for the organization.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:19 PM
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Sure, it makes sense to select legislators to vote on the laws-- Everyone voting directly on all of the laws would get way too cumbersome. But we should at least make an attempt to make the legislature a representative sample of the people, so we'll get at least approximately the same laws that the majority of the people want.
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Old 06-02-2019, 12:31 PM
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Sure, it makes sense to select legislators to vote on the laws-- Everyone voting directly on all of the laws would get way too cumbersome. But we should at least make an attempt to make the legislature a representative sample of the people, so we'll get at least approximately the same laws that the majority of the people want.
But, what if the Real AmericansTM cannot get a majority of the people to vote for their favored representatives?

If the will of the conservatives is thwarted by the people, then the people are the problem.
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:55 PM
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The views of the smaller states should be considered in proportion to their population.

That argument has always been and always will be the dumbest fucking shit that any non-trivial amount of people hold.

Hamilton had it right from the beginning:
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Every idea of proportion and every rule of fair representation conspire to condemn a principle, which gives to Rhode Island an equal weight in the scale of power with Massachusetts, or Connecticut, or New York; and to Delaware an equal voice in the national deliberations with Pennsylvania, or Virginia, or North Carolina. Its operation contradicts the fundamental maxim of republican government, which requires that the sense of the majority should prevail. Sophistry may reply, that sovereigns are equal, and that a majority of the votes of the States will be a majority of confederated America. But this kind of logical legerdemain will never counteract the plain suggestions of justice and common-sense. It may happen that this majority of States is a small minority of the people of America; and two thirds of the people of America could not long be persuaded, upon the credit of artificial distinctions and syllogistic subtleties, to submit their interests to the management and disposal of one third.
And the situation is far worse today and will continue to get worse. We're going to have a situation within our lifetimes where ~25% of the population has a strangelhold on all legislation and all political nominees including the supreme court. Large states where extorted into accepting the compromise when the constitution was written, but it's an insane system that is fundamentally broken under actual geographic distribution of people.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:39 PM
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It was a compromise the larger states were free to reject. That they didnít is no evidence of extortion. If the people want more power then vote to start partitioning some of the larger states.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:51 PM
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Quoth mikecurtis:

Because we are a collection of 50 individual states, not just one nation.
The Senate doesn't represent you. It's supposed to represent the interests of the States. And there is more to a State than just it's population. Its it's natural resources, it's commerce and industry, it's agriculture, etc.
And so we have a situation where the state with the most population, and the most natural resources, and the most commerce and industry, and the most agriculture, nonetheless has the weakest representation in the Senate.
Quote:
And our nation doesn't work if each of the states are not equal. If a State's worth in our legislature was based solely on population; what incentive would a state like WY or ID have to join the Union in the first place? And then where would we be? (dont forget WY has Yellowstone).
If Wyoming or Idaho didn't join, then they'd be suffering greatly, and the rest of the nation would barely even notice. California would be able to go it along as an independent nation; there's no way that Wyoming could.

Quote:
Quoth Urbanredneck:

Then the people of California would vote to move millions of their extra people out there.
Why would they do that? If millions of Californians want to move to Wyoming, they can already do that. There's no need to vote for anything to make that happen.
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:26 PM
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And so we have a situation where the state with the most population, and the most natural resources, and the most commerce and industry, and the most agriculture, nonetheless has the weakest representation in the Senate.
And in the House we have the opposite problem. States like Ca (and NY and IL) can dictate what happens inside a state like UT. Why should the citizens of L.A. have more say about what happens in Bears Ears, fer instance, than the people who actually live in UT? If it wasn't for equal representation in the Senate there would be NO interstate highways in HI. Why would I, as a citizen of Chicago ever vote to approve spending my taxes on bridges in the middle of nowhere MT?

And while I realize that its not a perfect analogy; octopus' point is apt. China has 5x the population of USA. Should the Chinese get 5x the voting power in the UN?

mc
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Old 06-02-2019, 09:57 PM
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Why should the citizens of L.A. have more say about what happens in Bears Ears, fer instance, than the people who actually live in UT?
Because we have a national government. They make decisions that effect the entire country, including both California and Utah.

As for why the citizens of Los Angeles should have more influence than the citizens of Bears Ear, it's because of democracy. If two million people vote one way and a thousand people vote another way, then the two million people are supposed to win. That's how democracy is supposed to work.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:44 PM
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It was a compromise the larger states were free to reject. That they didn’t is no evidence of extortion. If the people want more power then vote to start partitioning some of the larger states.
If the original colonies that were asked to join in the union in order to prevent them from reverting back to British rule had been grandfathered in with equal representation, leaving new states to be given representation based on their population, are you saying that Wyoming would have balked at becoming a state?

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And in the House we have the opposite problem. States like Ca (and NY and IL) can dictate what happens inside a state like UT. Why should the citizens of L.A. have more say about what happens in Bears Ears, fer instance, than the people who actually live in UT? If it wasn't for equal representation in the Senate there would be NO interstate highways in HI. Why would I, as a citizen of Chicago ever vote to approve spending my taxes on bridges in the middle of nowhere MT?
The citizens of LA should have a say over what happens in Bears Ears for the same reason that MT expects the people of Chicago to pay taxes towards building a bridge in the middle of nowhere.

A bridge in nowhere MT is still an asset to the nation, it still can easily be made the case that it should be built and paid for. Instead, the case does not need to be made, as a senator with massively disproportionate power can make his few voters happy at the expense of millions of others.
Quote:
And while I realize that its not a perfect analogy; octopus' point is apt. China has 5x the population of USA. Should the Chinese get 5x the voting power in the UN?
The UN has very little to no control over the working of sovereign nations, unlike the federal government's power over the states. If the UN had the same power over countries as the federal govt has over states, China would certainly not join, and I don't think that you would be happy that Lithuania has the same voice as the US.

Last edited by k9bfriender; 06-02-2019 at 10:46 PM.
  #48  
Old 06-02-2019, 11:11 PM
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Because we have a national government. They make decisions that effect the entire country, including both California and Utah.

As for why the citizens of Los Angeles should have more influence than the citizens of Bears Ear, it's because of democracy. If two million people vote one way and a thousand people vote another way, then the two million people are supposed to win. That's how democracy is supposed to work.
That's a thuggish view of our system, IMHO: just because you have the votes you can do anything you want, take anything you want from whomever you want. How is that any different than sticking a gun in someone's face and and taking their wallet.

And we have more than just a national govt. We have a graduated system of responsibility. The Federal govt has jurisdiction over certain thing within its domain. And the State govts have jurisdiction over things in it's domain. and so on down to local govts and to the family unit and finally down to personal jurisdiction. No matter how many votes you have there are some things that no one can force me to do. Just as the Fed govt, no matter how many votes they have can't force a state to do certain things.

When it comes to things like natural resources, the "people" can decide that the country as a whole would be better off if areas like Bears Ears were preserved. But we have to remember that that land is in the state of UT. It's their land. Under normal circumstances the people of UT would be the ones who decide how its used. So UT NEEDS to have a disproportionate say in the matter. Without the Senate, CA and the rest of the country could just take the land without considering, or even caring about the effect it has in UT. And the opposite would not be true. If the Fed govt decided to set aside land in CA for the benefit of all; CA would have a virtual power of veto (or close to it) over such legislature if it was simply majority rule. How is that democratic? when one group of people have powers that a different group of people do not?

Democracy is so much more than "majority rules". The concerns of the minority have to be consider appropriately. Otherwise, its just a form of fascism: the majority forcing the minority to bow to their rule.

Don't get me wrong. Times have changed and priorities are not the same as they were in 1787. Its not the most efficient system. The Senate, imho, does have too much power, and that power is often not used properly. But, I don't think that's the fault of apportionment. It has more to do with our "two party" system and that Senators (and Representatives for that matter) often are more loyal to their party than they are to their constituency.

mc
  #49  
Old 06-02-2019, 11:50 PM
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That's a thuggish view of our system, IMHO: just because you have the votes you can do anything you want, take anything you want from whomever you want. How is that any different than sticking a gun in someone's face and and taking their wallet.
It's different in pretty much every way.

The equivalent of somebody sticking a gun in your face is a dictatorship backed by force. A government like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union or North Korea; these regimes ruled by force because they didn't have popular support.

That's the reason democracy works better than other political system. Democratic rule means the government has to do things which are supported by a majority of the citizenship.

Democracy isn't perfect; it still allows a majority to mistreat a minority. But every other political system is worse because it allows a minority to mistreat the majority.
  #50  
Old 06-03-2019, 02:57 PM
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Revising the number of Senators per state is a non-starter,Article V forbids this to be amended:
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The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
What's wrong with the Senate could be changed by changing its rules and that might require an amendment. Specifically, I'd limit the power of any one Senator to prevent items from coming to the floor. I'd phrase it such that "Any legislation supported by 10 or more Senators shall be voted on within 90 days of its submittal to the clerk of the Senate". Then I'd add something like: "Nominations to the federal judiciary shall be confirmed unless a majority of Senators vote to deny the nomination within 90 days of it being made by the president".
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