Should the senate be changed?
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  Should the senate be changed?
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Author Topic: Should the senate be changed?  (Read 15203 times)
SInNYC
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« Reply #50 on: May 18, 2020, 03:30:27 PM »

I recognize the principle of having minority rights being represented as an original motivation behind the senate (though the minority was that of states rather than people of the states). I'll ignore for the purposes of this post that in reality other reasons were slavery and a holdover from the House of Lords.

However, at the time of the constitution, the states represented distinct interests that unified [white male landowners of] the state, and this doesn't hold today. I as a NYCer have way more in common with a Bostonian (Red Sox nothwithstanding) or a Chicagan than I do with somebody living in Binghamton. If we want to have a body to represent interests of particular groups, state boundaries are the wrong way to go about it. I'm not saying that such a change will happen or even that there is a viable approach for it to happen.

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cris01us
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« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2020, 04:49:51 PM »

I recognize the principle of having minority rights being represented as an original motivation behind the senate (though the minority was that of states rather than people of the states). I'll ignore for the purposes of this post that in reality other reasons were slavery and a holdover from the House of Lords.
Correct.  I should have made that explicit in my explanation.  I was aiming for brevity, and I just assume everyone on here is smarter than me and knows these details inherently. 
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iceman
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« Reply #52 on: May 19, 2020, 08:44:21 AM »

Make it more like the house of Lords in UK. Wherein there would be lifetime members and doesn't represent any state of district if you really want it to be changed.
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zoz
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« Reply #53 on: May 20, 2020, 09:44:03 AM »

we have equal representation of the people in one chamber and equal representation of the states in another. Nothing wrong with that at all.
If your party is incapable of winning a Senate majority, boo hoo. You aren't winning enough rural voters. Try to do that instead.

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Amenhotep Bakari-Sellers
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« Reply #54 on: May 25, 2020, 07:17:43 PM »

McConnell got rid of all the reforms concerning the minority rights when he blocked Obama judges in 2013 and got rid of judicial filibuster after he blocked Garland.

The Senate needs to restore its tranquility once the Ds get back in charge. And get some balance back in the Crts
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Former President tack50
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« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2020, 08:00:51 AM »

Honestly unless the people in here defend abolishing the states and ruling all of the US as a single unitary state like say France, they should defend the existence of the Senate.

One of the biggest aspects of federalism is the existance of a second chamber, that is represented in a 1 state = 1 vote basis, to counteract the lower chamber that is 1 person = 1 vote (at least in theory).

Since I am a big fan of federal states for the most part, and there is no real reason to turn the US into a unitary state, I would keep the current senate structure for the most part.

As for in terms of legality, while the Senate can't be abolished it could still be rendered powerless by making it into a chamber that does not matter and can be overridden by the House like the British House of Lords (or the Spanish Senate for that matter).
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Lord Halifax
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« Reply #56 on: July 22, 2020, 08:46:07 PM »

Honestly unless the people in here defend abolishing the states and ruling all of the US as a single unitary state like say France, they should defend the existence of the Senate.

One of the biggest aspects of federalism is the existance of a second chamber, that is represented in a 1 state = 1 vote basis, to counteract the lower chamber that is 1 person = 1 vote (at least in theory).

Since I am a big fan of federal states for the most part, and there is no real reason to turn the US into a unitary state, I would keep the current senate structure for the most part.

As for in terms of legality, while the Senate can't be abolished it could still be rendered powerless by making it into a chamber that does not matter and can be overridden by the House like the British House of Lords (or the Spanish Senate for that matter).

That doesn't make sense. If the Senate is "rendered powerless" it can't "counteract" the House.
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brucejoel99
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« Reply #57 on: July 22, 2020, 09:28:13 PM »

Honestly unless the people in here defend abolishing the states and ruling all of the US as a single unitary state like say France, they should defend the existence of the Senate.

One of the biggest aspects of federalism is the existance of a second chamber, that is represented in a 1 state = 1 vote basis, to counteract the lower chamber that is 1 person = 1 vote (at least in theory).

Since I am a big fan of federal states for the most part, and there is no real reason to turn the US into a unitary state, I would keep the current senate structure for the most part.

As for in terms of legality, while the Senate can't be abolished it could still be rendered powerless by making it into a chamber that does not matter and can be overridden by the House like the British House of Lords (or the Spanish Senate for that matter).

That doesn't make sense. If the Senate is "rendered powerless" it can't "counteract" the House.

Not necessarily, the House of Lords is - in tack50's words - "powerless," but it does still counteract the Commons as a revising chamber: scrutinizing legislation (they can hold a bill for up to a year), examining if legislation is workable &, if not, make suggestions & send legislation back to the Commons to be re-worked. They do a very good job of making a load of small changes to legislation & very, very occasionally, will block a piece of legislation from going through: generally speaking, they can only do this temporarily & not outright, but if they time it right & do it for the right reasons (as they usually do), it can have a major impact & be an embarrassment for the ruling party in the Commons.
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Battista Minola 1616
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« Reply #58 on: July 23, 2020, 04:08:55 AM »

The people who want to abolish the Senate or at least the fact that it represents the states and not the people (who are mostly Democrats) should directly ask for the United States of America to stop being a federal nation, since it's clear they want the intervention of the national government in every single issue.
And to be clear I would agree with them - the American way of federalism at times seems to be a recipe for disfunction.
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Damocles
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« Reply #59 on: July 23, 2020, 09:39:23 PM »

The people who want to abolish the Senate or at least the fact that it represents the states and not the people (who are mostly Democrats) should directly ask for the United States of America to stop being a federal nation, since it's clear they want the intervention of the national government in every single issue.
And to be clear I would agree with them - the American way of federalism at times seems to be a recipe for disfunction.

The greatest danger is a gridlocked government unable to act and divided against itself with competing popular legitimacies. We canít have it both ways. Either the senate is designed to protect minorities and hold sacrosanct the equality among states as peers and political entities, or it represents all people. Letís not stick with this inane and stupid system which necessarily enforced the worst characteristics of both.
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Battista Minola 1616
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« Reply #60 on: July 24, 2020, 04:28:12 AM »

The people who want to abolish the Senate or at least the fact that it represents the states and not the people (who are mostly Democrats) should directly ask for the United States of America to stop being a federal nation, since it's clear they want the intervention of the national government in every single issue.
And to be clear I would agree with them - the American way of federalism at times seems to be a recipe for disfunction.

The greatest danger is a gridlocked government unable to act and divided against itself with competing popular legitimacies. We canít have it both ways. Either the senate is designed to protect minorities and hold sacrosanct the equality among states as peers and political entities, or it represents all people. Letís not stick with this inane and stupid system which necessarily enforced the worst characteristics of both.

So you would see favorably a repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment?
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Alcibiades
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« Reply #61 on: July 24, 2020, 08:35:28 AM »

The state boundaries are completely arbitrary. It would be one thing to argue giving all states equal weight regardless of population if the US contained strong regional/national/linguistic identities like Spain or Switzerland, but it doesnít.

Why should rural plains voters be protected from urban coastal ones? Why not the other way around? Why not blacks from whites? Hispanics from Anglos? etc. Why should the value of your vote be determined by the population density of your community?

I could see the case for state-based upper house if this upper house was less powerful than the lower house, like virtually every bicameral country. But the US is bizarre in that its less representative upper house is actually more powerful than its lower house.

Much of the debate on this thread has centred around the negative future implications of the Senateís lack of proportionality while arguing it has in the past provided stable government. Many seem to be forgetting that this lack of proportionality has already had a detrimental effect on the US. For decades, the Southern states essentially used the Senate and their outsize influence in it to hold the rest of the country to hostage and prevent federal civil rights legislation, while engaging in egregious pork barrel.
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Tamika Jackson
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« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2020, 08:37:53 AM »

No. If people feel like their states are too large, they should seek to divide their states. Texas's admission to the union had a provision that allowed it to be divided into 5 states for example.
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Damocles
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« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2020, 04:02:12 PM »

So you would see favorably a repeal of the Seventeenth Amendment?
Insofar as that is concerned, assuming the current classwise distribution of Senatorial seats, that isnít a viable option. I had floated a proposal to have the Senate elected by state houses, but alter the number of senators per state, change the system of staggering, change the system of winner determination, and possibly include representation for territories and indigenous people. Equal suffrage among the states doesnít necessarily preclude the idea of including non-state representation, even if itís a fraction of the normal state delegation size.
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Storr
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« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2020, 04:10:44 PM »

No. If people feel like their states are too large, they should seek to divide their states. Texas's admission to the union had a provision that allowed it to be divided into 5 states for example.
I'm still confused as to why Californian division hasn't gained greater popular support. The population centers and geographical features of California make it fairly easy to divide North and South.
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Tamika Jackson
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« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2020, 10:06:22 PM »

No. If people feel like their states are too large, they should seek to divide their states. Texas's admission to the union had a provision that allowed it to be divided into 5 states for example.
I'm still confused as to why Californian division hasn't gained greater popular support. The population centers and geographical features of California make it fairly easy to divide North and South.

There was a ballot initiative that would have split California into 3 states back in 2018 yet the proponents weren't able to successfully defend a challenge in the California Supreme Court.
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Hope For A New Era
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« Reply #66 on: September 06, 2020, 11:49:08 PM »

If your party is incapable of winning a Senate majority, boo hoo. You aren't winning enough rural voters. Try to do that instead.

Curious to see what you think after the inevitable future Dem EC win/PV loss (thanks to Texas). I think 2028 might be the year. Better start winning some urban voters!


If polarization and trends keep going the way they have been, things could get pretty ugly for a while. Permanent Republican lock on the Senate, permanent Democratic lock on the Presidency, endless gerrymandering wars in the House.
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President Punxsutawney Phil
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« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2020, 07:07:48 AM »

If your party is incapable of winning a Senate majority, boo hoo. You aren't winning enough rural voters. Try to do that instead.

Curious to see what you think after the inevitable future Dem EC win/PV loss (thanks to Texas). I think 2028 might be the year. Better start winning some urban voters!


If polarization and trends keep going the way they have been, things could get pretty ugly for a while. Permanent Republican lock on the Senate, permanent Democratic lock on the Presidency, endless gerrymandering wars in the House.
I don't regard anyone having a permanent hold on anything as a scenario that should seriously be used to justify changes to how we fundamentally arrange our Republic. Even leaving aside the necessity or lack thereof for the given constitutional change proposal, it's a false premise, whether those proposing it know it to be one or not. Every time parties have held a fairly enduring advantage, they never enjoyed foolproof advantages that can be enough by themselves. Rs had advantages in presidential elections from the Civil War to the Great Depression (owing to the wasted D votes in the South), but Cleveland and Wilson still won twice.  Ds had a critical edge in all 3 post-1932 for eons and in Congress until 1994, but Rs still won all but 1 election from 1968 to 1988, and Democratic majorities alone in either house or both were insufficient in blocking conservative policy (just ask Reagan in his first two years in office). The GOP wasn't stopped from winning back both houses in the late 1940s despite memories persisting of the Hoover administration, and in 1874, the Dems still won back the House in a landslide less than ten years after Lincoln died. Permanent locks don't exist in American politics.
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Turbo Flame
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« Reply #68 on: October 02, 2020, 01:59:23 PM »

Yes. I think there should be 150 senators with 50 from each state being up for election every 2 years. The first 50 in the first year, The next 50 after that, and the final 50 after that. Afterwards, cycle it again.
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Hammy
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« Reply #69 on: October 08, 2020, 04:52:05 AM »
« Edited: October 08, 2020, 04:56:14 AM by Hammy »

Yes. I think there should be 150 senators with 50 from each state being up for election every 2 years. The first 50 in the first year, The next 50 after that, and the final 50 after that. Afterwards, cycle it again.

Damn, I came her to post exactly this. It's always bothered me how in any given year 15% of the states (and up to 30-40% of the population depending on which cycle) have no say in a full branch of government.

Alternately I could see having Class I and II at four year terms, and making it 200--the second set determined by popular vote proportion (though that might start getting too bloated and I have no idea how you'd go about listing the party's slate)
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Del Tachi
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« Reply #70 on: October 08, 2020, 08:36:38 AM »
« Edited: October 08, 2020, 08:41:37 AM by Del Tachi »

Yes. I think there should be 150 senators with 50 from each state being up for election every 2 years. The first 50 in the first year, The next 50 after that, and the final 50 after that. Afterwards, cycle it again.

Increasing the size of the Senate substantially would probably require a rework of it's rules, as well.  The Senatorial courtesy, anonymous holds, and the rules of unlimited debate becomes increasingly cumbersome the more seats are added.   

The most fundamental difference between the House and Senate is not term-lengths or constituency sizes, but that senators can exert individual rights as members of the body whereas the House is essentially mob rule by "a majority of the majority."
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Secretary of State Liberal Hack
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« Reply #71 on: October 09, 2020, 10:49:20 PM »

Of course it should, their is no logic behind somebody from Wyoming having a 100x more representation in the goverment than a californian. Any defense of that is mostly anti-democracy nonsence.

Minority rights being protected by the senate is laughable given how long the senate stonewalled reforms in terms of civil rights for actual minority oppresion.
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AndyHogan14
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« Reply #72 on: October 10, 2020, 01:18:05 AM »
« Edited: October 10, 2020, 12:36:03 PM by AndyHogan14 »

I like the idea of expanding to 150 seats to lessen the chance of extremely one-sided maps (like 2018) and that would probably be the easiest thing to do when it comes to Senate reforms.

As far as the Senate's mere existence, I can't say that I like it as a Californian, but I do understand why it exists and I would not call for its abolition. That said, under no circumstances should the Senate be the more powerful of the two houses of Congress. The House, at the very least, should have a say in judicial nominees (I would strip the Senate of this power altogether) and there should be a way for the House to overrule the Senate with a supermajorityóI think a 60% vote should suffice. Also, any bill passed by the House must be taken up by the Senate and if the Senate does not vote on a bill, then it is assumed that the Senate consents and it goes straight to the President's desk for his signature or veto. As far as overriding a veto is concerned, I would keep that exactly the same.
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terkeypie
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« Reply #73 on: February 02, 2021, 03:30:27 PM »

No
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Skill and Chance
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« Reply #74 on: February 04, 2021, 11:29:06 AM »

Either make it completely ceremonial like the House of Lords or leave it as is.  None of the intermediate stuff matters.  At least the 17th Amendment passed and states can't be gerrymandered willy nilly. 
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