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Airbrush

US Senate & State Populations

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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

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You'd REALLY need to get rid of the Electoral College before this could be considered fair at all. Even then, I think it would overly mute the influence of those smaller states.

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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.

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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. 

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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?

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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.

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iNow:  I concur with both the caveats.  I too would like the system to be in balance properly.

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11 minutes ago, OldChemE said:

iNow:  I concur with both the caveats.  I too would like the system to be in balance properly.

Maybe we should spend a few hundred million dollars lobbying for it? ;) 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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Instead of gerrymandering, use mathematical models with constraints on shape.  A district cannot have an unusual or lob-sided shape.  They should be more compact.

Edited by Airbrush

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