Want to Improve America? Turn the Senatorial Chambers into a Jan. 6th Museum.
The US Senate is, and always has been a terrible, antidemocratic concept and is (once again) undermining the greater good of most Americans.
Democracy is very simple: Everyone gets 1 vote and the most votes win.
That’s how the House of Representatives (what you think of when you think of Congress) is. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, and any other bullshit aside, it’s democracy in action.
THE US CONSTITUTION
Article 1, Section 2.
If you want to review it before I rip this thing apart, feel free.
Article I, Section 2 - Annenberg Classroom
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States…
There are a couple of key points that make the lower House truly democratic;
#1. There is a limit to the number of members, yet the number of members of the House your state has is based on population. There are 435 members, period. Based on Census data your state may gain or lose a seat in the House every 10 years. No entitlement, no BS, no grandfather clauses, this is how it is.
Currently, that works out to about 700,000 citizens to every congressperson.
#2. Every state gets at least 1 lower House representative.
Two of the states have less than 700,000 citizens. Vermont and Wyoming with Wyoming having in the 530,000 range which is low, but by guaranteeing each state at least 1 rep, the entirety of democracy maintains continuity.
It also means every American has (more or less) 1/700,000th voice in Congress. No matter your income, race, gender, religion, etc.
Now, Washington DC has over 700k and doesn't have a rep. Puerto Rico has over 3,000,000 people and has a fake Congressman called a RESIDENT COMMISSIONER. Samoa also has one as do a few other “territories”. I call them “fake” because they don’t get to vote. I can’t fix everything as the editor of this fantastic publication has asked me to keep the word count reasonable, so I’ll come back to these at a later date.
Other than the kerfuffle over US Colonies..er..Territories, it’s a pretty fair system. Because those congressional people make our laws they control things like; how much larger the % of your income you pay in taxes than APPLE does (for instance) or, whether someone on the FBI TERRORIST WATCH LIST can buy firearms or not. (Spoiler — they can)
Congress is also the only group in the Federal govt. with the power to declare war. So it’s a pretty important job.
Then you have the US Senate.
Called the upper House, the Senate is 2 reps per state. Period.
So Texas (29 million people) and Wyoming (530,000) have the ability to neutralize one another with things like who is going to run the following departments:
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Also, when a Supreme Court Justice leaves or dies, they decide whether the person the president appoints to replace the departed judge is worthy or not.
Both branches are very important to every American, and I’d even go so far as to say every country on the planet, as decisions made in Washington are felt every square meter of the globe.
Here’s the problem……
As a Californian, I have 1/20,000,000th of a say over the US Senate. However, if I lived in Wyoming, I would have a 1/250,000th.
That’s right, I have 1/80th the voice in the US Senate someone in Wyoming has.
So I ask the question…How the fuck is that democratic?
Well, it’s not.
By comparison, the Electoral College is more democratic than the Senate and the Electoral College is an idiotic outdated concept.
From what I understand, this absurd, oxymoronic system that rewards rural states (Vermont) with shit economies (Wyoming) that don’t have comfortable climates (Mississippi) or arable land (Alaska) was started so these less desirable chunks of rocks and sand wouldn’t succeed.
Like the Dakotas have value other than fracking. What were their options after we killed all the Buffalo? Become southern Canada? Yet they have much more say in who is approved to lead the Department of Defense than anyone working at MIT, Caltech, or Princeton.
I don’t want to be an education snob, because the university system in this country is another target I’m taking aim at right now, but if you worked hard enough in high school to get into a top 50 university (assuming your mother isn’t an aging TV star who bought you a sailing scholarship) that does show a lot of work ethic and general aptitude. Which are qualities that are foundational when learning how to make better decisions.
*****Research sidenote, rant*****
8 of the 10 least literate counties in the US are in Texas. Mississippi and Louisiana; each have 1 of the other two slots. Everything is BIGGER IN TEXAS — including illiteracy. Famously, the Texas school board buys textbooks for Texas and about 8 other states who lack the money to have such detailed school boards or need the buying power aligning with Texas’ massive purchase affords. So that’s awesome……
Now, neither of these will happen, but there are two ways to fix this.
#1 Give every state 1 senator and fold them into the rest of Congress. Our political system is really just layers upon layers of voting. So having senators occupy every Congressional committee (only 2 per committee) with voting rights, but once a bill passes committee the senators (all get to vote like Congress does) have a .5 vote.
Why do all that? Just roll the Senators into the lower House?
This system adds checks and balances that we need in this day and age of hyperpartisan politics. The lower House party in control can bulldoze the system, except the extra vote at committee will complicate matters there forcing more compromise or nothing gets done. I’d rather have gridlock than either side going crazy forcing legislation down the other throat. At least with gridlock, the reps have to go back and justify themselves to voters without doing further damage.
#2 To pass the Senate you need 66%.
Right now 33% of the population of the country can control 100% of the process. If the 26 least populated states are all either red or blue, game over. Since what I want to avoid is 33% of the population forcing legislation down the other 66%’s throats, this fixes that. 66% of the US voters want one side or the other and you can’t really argue the tail is wagging the dog.
None of this could happen right now as the 2 party system won’t let it happen. The GOP is at such a massive registered voter disadvantage since Trump that they can’t allow any legislation to make voting more democratic and DNC aren’t up to the challenge to fight with the Republican war machine.
So in conclusion, we are fucked.