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Why the U.S. Senate, as Presently Constituted, is a Total Misrepresentation of the American People

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U.S. Senate at work by senate.gov

The Founding Fathers appear to have made a monumental Constitutional error when they created the U.S. Senate and determined how many senators would represent each state. They agonized and debated over this issue and, though many of them had great reservations, they decided that each state should have two senators. And now the people of America are paying a terrible price for that decision.

Article 1, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two senators from each state, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years and each senator shall have one Vote." Further that each state will have two senators, regardless of the size of its population." The 17th Amendment to the Constitution later established direct election of U.S. Senators by popular vote.

Providing for two senators from each state was most certainly a highly controversial and questionable decision on their part; however, they had the best interests of the country in mind in doing so. So let's not blame them because they had no way of knowing how large this country would become and the great degree to which the populations of its states would vary. And it's very likely that they thought that, as the country grew in size, any such imbalance would be rectified by the actions of intelligent, dedicated legislators. How mistaken they were in thinking that this country would involve mostly rational thinking, competent legislators in the future.

To see just how ludicrous this imbalance of representation in the Senate is take a look at these telling statistics: the combined population of this country's three most populous states, California, Texas and New York is about 84.5 million; these three states have a total of 6 senators. The three least populous states, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming, have a total of 1.9 million people and they also have 6 senators; and the three most populous states, collectively, are 45 times larger than the 3 smallest.

Let's also take a look at this condition from a slightly different view that makes the continued existence of this imbalance almost incomprehensible:

The 25 least populous states = a population of 52 million which = 50 senators

The 25 most populous states = a population of 264 million which = 50 senators

What we have here is a condition in which the 52 million people who live in these smallest states, about 20% of the entire population of this country, possess as much power and an equal representation as the states where 5 times more people live. What kind of system to govern such a huge, complex nation like America is that? Is that one where the majority rules, where the power of the people determines the direction of the country; is this an example of how a democracy functions in the most effective manner? The answers are no, no and no.

So we might conclude that the Americans who live in California, Texas and New York probably pay something on the order of 45 times more taxes than those from the three tiny states and, yet, the representation is identical; that is truly absurd, a complete misrepresentation and living proof that this Senate, as currently constituted, is a perfect example of taxation without adequate representation.

This has now become a tenuous, unworkable situation because, based on the Senate rules that allow the blocking and filibustering of legislation, one or more senators from tiny states can exert equal to or more power than senators from the most populous states; that's just plain ridiculous. It's no wonder why this Senate has now become so very dysfunctional, why it remains in a perpetual state of gridlock. If this legislative body's decisions were based on majority rule many of the problems currently facing this nation would no longer exist.

Of course, there are those who would say that such a change in the Senate is unwarranted, that everything is fine just as is and, besides, the same Article I of the Constitution provides for fair and equitable representation of the people, based on states' populations, in the U.S. House of Representatives. That's only partly true and while that may be just fine, what does that have to do with the Senate that is a completely separate entity with separate responsibilities?

The fact of the matter is that when important legislation comes before the Senate what should determine whether it is passed or not? Well, most rational thinking individuals would say that such a decision should be based on the views of the majority of the people of America. In this current Senate that is not happening and that may be one of the main reasons why the majority of Americans in poll after poll indicate that this Congress is not working in their best interests.

So if this situation is as bad as it seems then it would follow that there needs to be something done to determine what is more fair and equitable, i.e., how many senators should each state have, based on its population? Well, it should really take a study group to figure out the best configuration but, in the meantime, here are my suggestions for how this should be done. Here's a link which shows the populations of the 50 states of this country in order of the most to the least populous, which can aid in this analysis.

Proposed Senate Reconstitution

California -- 6 senators

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)
 

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This total misrepresentation of the American peopl... by michael payne on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 11:52:50 AM
Well, yeah ... but then isn't the Senate much more... by Charles Roll on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 1:13:31 PM
You may be right with regard to the House with all... by michael payne on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:32:18 PM
You say "total misrepresentationof the American pe... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:44:26 AM
Valuable thinking but you should be careful.As Cha... by BFalcon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:52:24 AM
This is downright offensive. The author is horribl... by @ZaRdOz420WPN on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:24:18 PM
Oh, really? I have no idea who you or what your de... by michael payne on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:51:23 PM
Excellent points. It is absolutely true that it is... by E. J. N. on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 7:07:43 PM
We definitely need a 21st Century Declaration of I... by Patricia Gray on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 9:51:21 PM
I gave u thumbs up on this, even though there are ... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:18:12 AM
I believe what we need is new amendments to the Co... by E. J. N. on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 1:19:21 PM
Well E.J.N. and Patricia Gray are way ahead of me ... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 3:34:02 PM
Pal, you are correct in realizing the need to util... by E. J. N. on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 8:02:27 PM
I sure could have used your support on the blog of... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 5:12:37 AM
There is no question in my mind that many parts of... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 2:26:57 AM
It is especially annoying to me that after the tax... by Pal Palsimon on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 7:36:31 AM
Actually, if you were to measure the most damaging... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 10:19:35 AM
I appreciate your views and those of others on thi... by michael payne on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 10:56:05 AM
Eliminating the Senate (not a bad idea t all) has ... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 11:48:10 AM
The big gripe that I have with this Senate is that... by michael payne on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 12:43:14 PM
We need to distinguish two different realms here: ... by Charles Roll on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 1:57:12 PM
Charles: with all due respect for your views and t... by michael payne on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 6:51:19 PM
Charles: with all due respect for your views and t... by Charles Roll on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 4:03:31 AM
Here is what I say in my first comment, farther up... by Charles Roll on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 4:14:43 AM
Never at loggerheads Charles. I'll get back to you... by michael payne on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 9:19:47 AM
Did it ever occur to you that some Democrats like ... by Pal Palsimon on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 10:34:40 AM
Excellent observation. It's beyond obstructionism,... by Robert S. Becker on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 11:53:46 AM
To create breathing space for reform, Democrats ha... by Charles Roll on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 1:01:05 PM
"Populist progressives are now trying to establish... by Robert S. Becker on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 1:57:25 PM
It's beyond obstructionism, as I find that the sym... by Charles Roll on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 1:41:49 PM
You don' think a little psychedelic foolishness ta... by Robert S. Becker on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 2:26:23 PM
My intent was to avoid my tendency to write longis... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 6:25:55 PM
Charles: you and Robert Becker are thinking so dee... by michael payne on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 5:42:24 PM
Hey, don't blame me: I was just keeping the conver... by Robert S. Becker on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 6:28:12 PM
This thread has gotten a little convoluted, as som... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 2:20:19 AM
As for the Republican Party, while it does seem th... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 2:24:43 AM
My tendency is to root for and work toward Medea ... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 2:35:00 AM
Charles: Of course I was just jesting about you gu... by michael payne on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 11:25:25 AM
Michael:I'm glad that you ask about the particular... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 5:00:10 PM
You may wish to correspond with Mr. Zuesse to ask ... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 5:56:51 PM
Myself, I guess that I have a love-hate thing with... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 6:37:41 PM
I share your ambivalence about Mr. Zeusse, mostly ... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:13:24 PM
I'll take some more time to digest your latest com... by michael payne on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 8:46:29 PM
I wonder why you anti-Obamans so enjoy dissing Oba... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 11:01:49 PM
The current issue is control of the Senate. If you... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 11:09:06 PM
You anti-Obama people are fond of saying that ther... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:15:51 AM
BTW: Check out the New Populism Conference videos ... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:22:13 AM
You are misrepresenting me in any number of ways. ... by michael payne on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 9:52:47 AM
Thanks for detailing a list of grievances against ... by Charles Roll on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 1:32:06 AM
"It's amazing America hasn't already imploded, wei... by intotheabyss on Friday, May 23, 2014 at 5:46:02 PM
Or, think Joseph Goebbels ... he was great at manu... by Charles Roll on Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 1:22:14 PM
Hey, Michael and everybody -videos of the Populism... by Charles Roll on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 6:47:43 PM
Charles: I don't see any big leftwing push for imp... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 12:21:04 PM
I don't see any big leftwing push for impeachment.... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 2:30:01 PM
Really, Charles, if I didn't respect your contribu... by Robert S. Becker on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 4:00:06 PM
Robert:Okay, you were talking about a broad impeac... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 10:38:36 PM
Where have I been? Reading the dozen sites that I... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:02:54 PM
Continuing: Here is Erich Zuesse in his article on... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:11:15 PM
Here is the clincher, Robert. Prepare yourself to ... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:46:14 PM
I like your remark from the Bill Maher show. I wat... by Charles Roll on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 2:23:17 AM
Washington misunderstands Obama, although he under... by Charles Roll on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 2:39:22 AM
"Your mistake was when you abandoned your crouch t... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 10:41:51 AM
Thanks so much for the link to ourfuture.org and t... by michael payne on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 5:35:45 PM
100% AGREED! ... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:48:13 PM
General comment:I'll make one more point about the... by michael payne on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 8:46:36 PM
So the Republicans have a great chance to take con... by Charles Roll on Monday, May 26, 2014 at 11:50:18 PM