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How would you make the Senate more representative? Inspired by Pitman


marylander1940
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I would settle for reconfiguring the Senate so Wyoming doesn't have the same representation as California, whose population is 67 times larger.

 

We can always dream... I know it would be hard to achieve something like this but how would you dream of a more representative senate?

 

I would give states with more than 10 million inhabitants 3 senators, states with more than 2 million 2 senators and states with under 2 million 1 senator.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_population

 

9 top states will have 27 senators

 

26 states will have 42 senators

 

12 states will have 12 senators

Liberal, born and raised in Maryland, proud member of pink pistols!

Ignore list: WilliamM

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Picky, I know but the number of states didn't add up.

9 top states will have 27 senators

26 27 states will have 42 54 senators

12 14 states will have 12 14 senators

On the main point, it is pretty much an exercise in fantasy, and I don't think there would be much appetite for attempting it. Yes the current system skews representation towards smaller states many of which are red, but not all (and there are big red states too). If you had rigid party discipline both from voters and elected representatives it could lead to a permanent republican majority (based on the current ideology of the parties, but that's not fixed). I think partisan districting is more of a threat. As things stand, the two big parties' representation in the senate is generally similar to their overall share of the national vote, so from that perspective the current system is not wildly unfair. That is helped by the frequency with which candidates from the 'wrong' party win senate seats.

 

There are parallels and differences in the Australian senate. Each state was granted the same number of senators but the constitution allows Parliament to decide how they will be elected and that has changed over time. Importantly, the equal numbers provision only applies to the original states. Any new ones would have an allocation determined by Parliament. So now, Tasmania (500,000) and NSW (7 million) each have 12 senators. This has the potential to skew representation, but in general the major parties' shares end up reasonably reflective of the two-party vote. Unlike the US, the proportional representation system used (six senators elected at large in each state at each election) rarely gives one party a majority, with minor parties (both serious and lunatic fringe) winning seats (there are about 20 of them in the current 76 seat senate).

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Picky, I know but the number of states didn't add up.

 

On the main point, it is pretty much an exercise in fantasy, and I don't think there would be much appetite for attempting it. Yes the current system skews representation towards smaller states many of which are red, but not all (and there are big red states too). If you had rigid party discipline both from voters and elected representatives it could lead to a permanent republican majority (based on the current ideology of the parties, but that's not fixed). I think partisan districting is more of a threat. As things stand, the two big parties' representation in the senate is generally similar to their overall share of the national vote, so from that perspective the current system is not wildly unfair. That is helped by the frequency with which candidates from the 'wrong' party win senate seats.

 

There are parallels and differences in the Australian senate. Each state was granted the same number of senators but the constitution allows Parliament to decide how they will be elected and that has changed over time. Importantly, the equal numbers provision only applies to the original states. Any new ones would have an allocation determined by Parliament. So now, Tasmania (500,000) and NSW (7 million) each have 12 senators. This has the potential to skew representation, but in general the major parties' shares end up reasonably reflective of the two-party vote. Unlike the US, the proportional representation system used (six senators elected at large in each state at each election) rarely gives one party a majority, with minor parties (both serious and lunatic fringe) winning seats (there are about 20 of them in the current 76 seat senate).

 

No doubt, I just felt inspired by @pitman who raised out of the blue this larger issue that will never be address.

 

One more thing population and therefore number or congressmen/electoral college votes changes, unfortunately NOT the number of senators. The invention of AC has moved a lot population from the northern states to the South.

 

 

 

Liberal, born and raised in Maryland, proud member of pink pistols!

Ignore list: WilliamM

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