11 votes

How to give California 12 senators and Vermont just one

5 comments

  1. [4]
    Keegan
    Link
    I think the current system is fine tbh. Change at the federal level is slow, yes, but the issues had by these states can often be addressed by legislation at the state level. Giving 26 of the...

    I think the current system is fine tbh. Change at the federal level is slow, yes, but the issues had by these states can often be addressed by legislation at the state level. Giving 26 of the states only one senator is crazy, especially when the Senate is the only real representation they get since there is basically none in the House. These states have much different ideas of living and what they want compared to New York or California.

    Anyways, this discussion is pointless. To get this kind of legislation through would require these smaller states to agree to halving their representation in the Senate, forever giving up that power. Personally, if I was in one of those states I would never vote a politician back into office that did that.

    10 votes
    1. [3]
      Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I will admit I dislike the Senate primarily because it benefit small states that currently mostly lean Republican, which have indirectly become the undemocratic party thanks to voter suppression...

      I will admit I

      1. dislike the Senate primarily because it benefit small states that currently mostly lean Republican, which have indirectly become the undemocratic party thanks to voter suppression via IDs and the like, meaning the Senate is indirectly undermining democracy by chance.

      2. live in the largest city in the largest state of my country.

      That being said, if the Senate is an institution for states, not people then it at least shouldn't be a part of the Electoral College, the body deciding a democratically elected president and shouldn't be involved in anything democratic or partisan.

      Anyways, this discussion is pointless. To get this kind of legislation through would require these smaller states to agree to halving their representation in the Senate, forever giving up that power. Personally, if I was in one of those states I would never vote a politician back into office that did that.

      This is the article's response to your comment. (Which I copy-pasted specifically to avoid comment's like yours but OK.)

      First, consider that Article V applies only to amendments. Congress would adopt the Rule of One Hundred scheme as a statute; let’s call it the Senate Reform Act. Because it’s legislation rather than an amendment, Article V would—arguably—not apply.

      Second, the states, through the various voting-rights amendments—the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth—have already given their “consent” by directing Congress to adopt legislation to protect equal voting rights, and this delegated power explicitly applies to “the United States” as well as the states. The Senate Reform Act would simply shift seats according to population. No state or its citizens would lose the franchise.

      Admittedly this is debatable, relies on technicalities and would definitely be one hell of a partisan vote if it ever becomes real.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        Keegan
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Changing the Senate to benefit the Democratic party would permanently suppress those Republicans in the smaller states. Then there is just one party that has all the power. The House benefits...

        Changing the Senate to benefit the Democratic party would permanently suppress those Republicans in the smaller states. Then there is just one party that has all the power.

        dislike the Senate primarily because it benefit small states that currently mostly lean Republican

        The House benefits large states that mostly lean Democrat. The current setup has a balance of power between the two parties, which is much better than having one party ruling.

        meaning the Senate is indirectly undermining democracy by chance.

        Saying this isn't quite correct. Just because the people in power enact a law doesn't mean that the system is bad.

        the Electoral College, the body deciding a democratically elected president

        The Electoral College isn't a direct democracy. It's a representative democracy, even if you remove the Senate from the equation. Both Senators and House members are elected by the people.


        I started writing this before you edited, since I am doing this in sporadic sentences between house chores.

        Which I copy-pasted specifically to avoid comment's like yours but OK.

        I refuse to even read the copy paste comments anymore, and prefer to read the article in its entirety. I saw the parts you mentioned, and they did not convince me that it would have any chance of becoming legislation.

        2 votes
        1. Kuromantis
          Link Parent
          But it's not to benefit Democrats, it's to make it proportional to population, which happens to be more democratic than Republican. Also the Senate has 3 separate classes of senators for the...

          Changing the Senate to benefit the Democratic party would permanently suppress those Republicans in the smaller states. Then there is just one party that has all the power.

          But it's not to benefit Democrats, it's to make it proportional to population, which happens to be more democratic than Republican. Also the Senate has 3 separate classes of senators for the states' 2 separate seats, meaning the Senate isn't WTA, although an actual method to elect multiple candidates to the Senate would be better and simpler. If the whole point of the Senate is to not be democratic, then it shouldn't be partisan, or powerful (although around here the debate turns into a debate on civics and how the US government works, something I don't know on an even superficial level, so this could just be trump, who is a executive, not the Senate, who is probably being coerced by their electorate and didn't want to acquit trump.)

          The House benefits large states that mostly lean Democrat. The current setup has a balance of power between the two parties, which is much better than having one party ruling.

          This is probably more related to the parties' coalitions now than anything the 'founding fathers' intended to do. In this case, FPTP is the problem since it forced the parties into the positions they have now.

          The Electoral College isn't a direct democracy. It's a representative democracy, even if you remove the Senate from the equation. Both Senators and House members are elected by the people.

          Admittedly the electoral college should probably go away in general, but unfortunately it was amended in, meaning articles like these are the best options we have.

          1 vote
  2. Kuromantis
    Link
    [...]

    Pundits, professors, and policy makers have advanced various solutions. Burt Neuborne of NYU has argued in The Wall Street Journal that the best way forward is to break up large states into smaller ones. Akhil Amar of Yale Law School has suggested a national referendum to reform the Senate. The retired congressman John Dingell asserted here in The Atlantic that the Senate should simply be abolished.

    There’s a better, more elegant, constitutional way out. Let’s allocate one seat to each state automatically to preserve federalism, but apportion the rest based on population. Here’s how.

    Start with the total U.S. population, then divide by 100, since that’s the size of the current, more deliberative upper chamber. Next, allocate senators to each state according to their share of the total; 2/100 equals two senators, 3/100 equals three, etc. Update the apportionment every decade according to the official census.

    Using 2017 census estimates as a proxy for the official one coming in 2020, the Rule of One Hundred yields the following outcome: 26 states get only one senator (having about 1/100 of the population or less), 12 states stay at two, eight states gain one or two, and the four biggest states gain more than two: California gets 12 total, Texas gets nine, and Florida and New York get six each.

    [...]

    The obvious reply is, “This is impossible! The Constitution plainly says that each state gets two senators. There’s even a provision in the Constitution that says this rule cannot be amended.” Indeed, Article V, in describing the amendment process, stipulates that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”

    This seems like a showstopper, and some scholars say it’s “unthinkable” that the one-state, two-senators rule can ever be changed. But, look, when conservative lawyers first argued that the Affordable Care Act violated the Commerce Clause, that seemed unthinkable, too. Our Constitution is more malleable than many imagine.

    First, consider that Article V applies only to amendments. Congress would adopt the Rule of One Hundred scheme as a statute; let’s call it the Senate Reform Act. Because it’s legislation rather than an amendment, Article V would—arguably—not apply.

    Second, the states, through the various voting-rights amendments—the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Fourth, and Twenty-Sixth—have already given their “consent” by directing Congress to adopt legislation to protect equal voting rights, and this delegated power explicitly applies to “the United States” as well as the states. The Senate Reform Act would simply shift seats according to population. No state or its citizens would lose the franchise.

    1 vote