Jump to content

US Senate & State Populations


Airbrush
 Share

Recommended Posts

Every state of the US gets 2 senators, no matter the state's population.  I guess this is to protect against a tyranny of the majority.  California has 68 times the population of Wyoming (CA 39,557,000 to WY 578,000 in 2018), but they have EQUAL representation in the senate.  What I propose is a slight proportionality modification.  The 5 most populous states (CA, TX, FL, NY, PN) each gets 3 senators, and the 5 least populous states (WY, VT, AK, ND, SD) each gets only ONE senator.  The total number of senators remains 50, just a little more proportionately (and fairly) distributed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States_by_population

Edited by Airbrush
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You've missed the whole point of the Constitution.  The Senate is designed to give equal voice to each state-- which is (in some sense) a balancing of cultural differences, while the House of Representatives gives equal voice by population, which gives a balance by population.  The whole purpose is to make it so that legislation is supported both by region/culture and population.   What you are suggesting takes away that balance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 minutes ago, OldChemE said:

You've missed the whole point of the Constitution.  The Senate is designed to give equal voice to each state-- which is (in some sense) a balancing of cultural differences, while the House of Representatives gives equal voice by population, which gives a balance by population.  The whole purpose is to make it so that legislation is supported both by region/culture and population.   What you are suggesting takes away that balance.

I agree with this, with one caveat. The filibuster prevents those underlying purposes and needs to be removed. If it remains, then this proposal in the OP seems more viable. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Airbrush said:

Every state of the US gets 2 senators, no matter the state's population.  I guess this is to protect against a tyranny of the majority.  California has 68 times the population of Wyoming (CA 39,557,000 to WY 578,000 in 2018), but they have EQUAL representation in the senate.  What I propose is a slight proportionality modification.  The 5 most populous states (CA, TX, FL, NY, PN) each gets 3 senators, and the 5 least populous states (WY, VT, AK, ND, SD) each gets only ONE senator.  The total number of senators remains 50, just a little more proportionately (and fairly) distributed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_states_and_territories_of_the_United_States_by_population

100?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, iNow said:

I agree with this, with one caveat. The filibuster prevents those underlying purposes and needs to be removed. If it remains, then this proposal in the OP seems more viable. 

Edit to add: Gerrymandering has also largely eliminated the intent of the House to (as OldChem said) give equal voice by population. 

The need for balance is clear. That the system was designed to provide balance is also clear. The most clear thing, however, is how overwhelmingly unbalanced the system has become.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

Electoral College has some anti-Democratic elements to it as well. It generally favours the larger States, and the ones with a relatively even split between the two parties, due to the "winner takes all" part of the process.

I do agree that the WTA system is problematic for a number of reasons. However, from what I understand the system actually favours smaller states disproportionately.  The reason being that the number of votes in each state is equal to the number of senators and representatives. As a consequence, each state has at least three votes regardless of size.  Therefore very small states receive a higher weight relative to their population.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/9/2019 at 4:04 PM, OldChemE said:

You've missed the whole point of the Constitution.  The Senate is designed to give equal voice to each state-- which is (in some sense) a balancing of cultural differences, while the House of Representatives gives equal voice by population, which gives a balance by population.  The whole purpose is to make it so that legislation is supported both by region/culture and population.   What you are suggesting takes away that balance.

Good point.  Suppose that each state is given as much representation in the House based on how much they contribute to the other states and the nation as a whole.  States get credit for how much they contribute to the nation.  If they supply the nation with food or anything of measurable value, they get credit for that in having more House members.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And who is to decide what constitutes "how much they contribute"?  Are we talking money?  agricultural products? art? inspirational writings?   Great food recipes?  Who is to decide what constitutes a good contribution versus what is ultimately bad for society?  Philosophically this might sound good but I do believe that from a practical standpoint it is a non-starter.

What you are basically doing is trying to figure out a formula to increase the influence of the population that you prefer to support.  That is in the same class as gerrymandering and other political pursuits.  The beauty of the constitution is that it lays out principles for representation that are supposed to be above this sort of thing, and much of the time it even succeeds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That’s an excellent point, OldChem. The subjectivity introduced by this “value” system opens up more space for corruption, not less... which is our goal. 

The constitution does, as you say, lay out core principles in a way that helps elevate us beyond human weaknesses.

My core concern is those human weaknesses have instead found power in other spaces like a gerrymandered House, a filibustered Senate, an Electoral Colleged POTUS, and a partisanly stacked Supreme Court.

My hope is that I’m being melodramatic and hyperbolic, that I’m wrong. My fear is that I’m being accurate and insightful, that I’m correct. 

Edited by iNow
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, iNow said:

That’s an excellent point, OldChem. The subjectivity introduced by this “value” system opens up more space for corruption, not less... which is our goal. 

The constitution does, as you say, lay out core principles in a way that helps elevate us beyond human weaknesses.

My core concern is those human weaknesses have instead found power in other spaces like a gerrymandered House, a filibustered Senate, an Electoral Colleged POTUS, and a partisanly stacked Supreme Court.

My hope is that I’m being melodramatic and hyperbolic, that I’m wrong. My fear is that I’m being accurate and insightful, that I’m correct. 

Is everyone here in agreement that gerrymandering the House, filibustering the Senate, and the Electoral College should be abolished?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.