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Founding Fathers' fateful decision gives Trump a free pass; the way to evade removal

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Message Michael Payne


I am a great admirer of the Founding Fathers and the many things that they did for their country and its people in rejecting monarchy and establishing our democracy, But, as historians have pointed out, they weren't perfect.

Here's one example of that. They, after much deliberation, decided to create the US Senate with two senators from each state, regardless of their populations. Yes, that was a very big mistake but, then again, they could not foresee that it would, at some time in the future, adversely affect this nation's democracy.

We are living in that moment right now as we have watched the US Senate conduct an impeachment trial that, instead of being a fair trial with witnesses and evidence, was anything but that. If the Founders could witness what has just happened they would see what their decision is doing to our democracy and majority rule.

Based on the solid facts and evidence presented by the Democrats in House Committee hearings and subsequent Senate presentations, this president could not be more guilty of abuse of power and blatant obstruction of Congress. But, because of the way the Senate is configured, with two senators from each state, he will be allowed to escape removal.

Let's discuss how and why the Founder's made this decision and how it is adversely affecting our democracy.

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 ."

Back, during those trying times, the Founders received both strong support as well as strong opposition when deciding what they should do. They heard from many different areas, from larger states to smaller ones; and even the issue of slavery by Southern states was a significant part of the deliberations. To a great degree, the end decision was largely based on a political compromise.

The Founder's had no way of knowing how large this country would become in the future and the great degree to which the populations of its states would vary. They likely thought that, as the country grew in size, any such imbalance in representation would be rectified by the actions of intelligent, dedicated legislators. How mistaken they were in thinking that this country would possess mostly rational-thinking, competent legislators in its Congress.

To see just how totally unbalanced this representation in the Senate is: the combined population of this country's three most populous states, California, Texas and New York is close to 90 million and they have a combined total of 6 senators. The three least populous states, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming have about 2 million people, and they also have a combined total of 6 senators. So, the three states that are 45 times larger in population have the same number of senators as those three tiny states.

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

We have a condition in America in which some 55 million people who live in its smallest states, about 20% of the entire population of this country, possess as much power and representation as the states in which 276 million people live. What kind of system of governing in such a huge, complex nation like this is that? Is that one in which the majority rules, where the wishes and power of the people determine the direction of the country; is this an example of how a democracy functions most effectively?

This has now become a largely unworkable situation because, based on the Senate rules that allow senators from tiny states to possess and use the same degree of power as senators from the most populous states, that's just plain ludicrous.

If the Founders could have predicted the future it is highly likely that they would have made the entire process of impeachment the responsibility of the House instead of the Senate. That legislative body could conduct a thorough investigation after which all the House members, who truly represented all the people of America, would vote to decide if a president was guilty or was not.

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.

Now, 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. So, the Senate should conduct the trial.

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