Should the senate be changed?
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  Should the senate be changed?
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ProgressiveModerate
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« on: April 20, 2020, 03:32:59 PM »

As more and more people flock to cities, by 2050, about 15 states are expected to have 70% of the population. Especially as the rural-urban divide continues to grow , this could spell out trouble, like one party (the Republican party) has a lock on the senate just by winning 40% of the vote or something like that. I get the point of the senate was the represent the states, not the people, but since California is a state with more people, shouldn't it get more senators, the same way it needs more resources and has a bigger economy than any other state? I kind of think that a cool solution would be if senator's actual votes were weighted based on the population they represent, but that would bring new problems, like the fact that population is always changing and Republicans still exist even in CA and NY. We're already begginning to see this problem today; the senators who voted for Kavanaugh represent a minority of the country, and despite Dems winning the PV in 2016, and 2018 being a D landslide, it'll take another semi-landslide to flip the senate in 2020. Increased partisanship could make it more or less impossible for the party that aligns with urban voters to ever get a senate majoirty, even if they represent a majoity of the country. Does omething need to be done, and if so, what?
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2020, 05:23:10 PM »

As more and more people flock to cities, by 2050, about 15 states are expected to have 70% of the population. Especially as the rural-urban divide continues to grow , this could spell out trouble, like one party (the Republican party) has a lock on the senate just by winning 40% of the vote or something like that. I get the point of the senate was the represent the states, not the people, but since California is a state with more people, shouldn't it get more senators, the same way it needs more resources and has a bigger economy than any other state? I kind of think that a cool solution would be if senator's actual votes were weighted based on the population they represent, but that would bring new problems, like the fact that population is always changing and Republicans still exist even in CA and NY. We're already begginning to see this problem today; the senators who voted for Kavanaugh represent a minority of the country, and despite Dems winning the PV in 2016, and 2018 being a D landslide, it'll take another semi-landslide to flip the senate in 2020. Increased partisanship could make it more or less impossible for the party that aligns with urban voters to ever get a senate majoirty, even if they represent a majoity of the country. Does omething need to be done, and if so, what?

Bolded - The House of Representatives already accounts for the population differences in each state, as California has more representatives in the House than any other state. It would be a redundancy to have the Senate follow the same design, with more senators allocated to the populous states.

Just leave it as it is. Each state has different people, different lifestyles, different customs,  and different beliefs. Some states are more religious, some are more diverse, some have more resources, etc. The senate ensures that the differences in each state will always get some  attention, regardless of population (or lack thereof). And correspondingly, the House ensures that those smaller states donít get too much attention.

When you factor that the Senate doesnít exist on its own, that it exists alongside the House, then you should see that the system is fine as it is.

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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2020, 05:26:42 PM »

As more and more people flock to cities, by 2050, about 15 states are expected to have 70% of the population. Especially as the rural-urban divide continues to grow , this could spell out trouble, like one party (the Republican party) has a lock on the senate just by winning 40% of the vote or something like that. I get the point of the senate was the represent the states, not the people, but since California is a state with more people, shouldn't it get more senators, the same way it needs more resources and has a bigger economy than any other state? I kind of think that a cool solution would be if senator's actual votes were weighted based on the population they represent, but that would bring new problems, like the fact that population is always changing and Republicans still exist even in CA and NY. We're already begginning to see this problem today; the senators who voted for Kavanaugh represent a minority of the country, and despite Dems winning the PV in 2016, and 2018 being a D landslide, it'll take another semi-landslide to flip the senate in 2020. Increased partisanship could make it more or less impossible for the party that aligns with urban voters to ever get a senate majoirty, even if they represent a majoity of the country. Does omething need to be done, and if so, what?

Bolded - The House of Representatives already accounts for the population differences in each state, as California has more representatives in the House than any other state. It would be a redundancy to have the Senate follow the same design, with more senators allocated to the populous states.

Just leave it as it is. Each state has different people, different lifestyles, different customs,  and different beliefs. Some states are more religious, some are more diverse, some have more resources, etc. The senate ensures that the differences in each state will always get some  attention, regardless of population (or lack thereof). And correspondingly, the House ensures that those smaller states donít get too much attention.

When you factor that the Senate doesnít exist on its own, that it exists alongside the House, then you should see that the system is fine as it is.


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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2020, 06:44:36 PM »

As more and more people flock to cities, by 2050, about 15 states are expected to have 70% of the population. Especially as the rural-urban divide continues to grow , this could spell out trouble, like one party (the Republican party) has a lock on the senate just by winning 40% of the vote or something like that. I get the point of the senate was the represent the states, not the people, but since California is a state with more people, shouldn't it get more senators, the same way it needs more resources and has a bigger economy than any other state? I kind of think that a cool solution would be if senator's actual votes were weighted based on the population they represent, but that would bring new problems, like the fact that population is always changing and Republicans still exist even in CA and NY. We're already begginning to see this problem today; the senators who voted for Kavanaugh represent a minority of the country, and despite Dems winning the PV in 2016, and 2018 being a D landslide, it'll take another semi-landslide to flip the senate in 2020. Increased partisanship could make it more or less impossible for the party that aligns with urban voters to ever get a senate majoirty, even if they represent a majoity of the country. Does omething need to be done, and if so, what?

Bolded - The House of Representatives already accounts for the population differences in each state, as California has more representatives in the House than any other state. It would be a redundancy to have the Senate follow the same design, with more senators allocated to the populous states.

Just leave it as it is. Each state has different people, different lifestyles, different customs,  and different beliefs. Some states are more religious, some are more diverse, some have more resources, etc. The senate ensures that the differences in each state will always get some  attention, regardless of population (or lack thereof). And correspondingly, the House ensures that those smaller states donít get too much attention.

When you factor that the Senate doesnít exist on its own, that it exists alongside the House, then you should see that the system is fine as it is.




But why should voters from smaller states get extra protection in the senate and EC, when voters from large states and Urban Cities don't get any extra "protection" I would argue the house doesn't favor cities since usually cities vote 95% D, but rual areas are mostly 70-30 R minus rural districts that have a large minority population. In 2018, even though Dems won the house, it took them a landslide to win, whereas in 2016, Reblicans held more seats but barely won the PV. Literally, in every way, if you're a voter in an urban city, your vote is less powerful than a rural voter. That just seems wrong to me. Look at how the Rs can easily get a trifecta in an R+0 year, but Ds have to win in a landslide. Right now, there's only 2 Rs in objectivley blue states: CO and ME, but Dems have senate seats in WV, MT, AL and OH, alongside most of the seats in tossup states and still don't have a majority in the senate.
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2020, 06:45:57 PM »

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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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2020, 08:18:32 PM »

I feel like the basic Senate set up should be kept as it is, but bigger states given a third Senate seat to give the body at least a little bit of proportional representation. What the rules for how states get an extra seat, I'm not sure. Give it to the top 5, 10, in population? Give it to states with X (10, 15, 20, 25?) or greater Congressional seats? I feel like giving it to X or greater population (10 million, 20 million) would be less effective since, as the Country's population grows, more and more states will reach that threshold and defeat the purpose of the change.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2020, 10:12:45 AM »

What if there was just some admendment put into place that a state must be split up into 2 equal parts if it exceeds 2.5% of the total US population. Also, if 2 states are next to eachother and their total populations combined add up to less than 2% of the poplation, they must be merged. This would make the senate do what it was intended to do, but ensure that people who live in cities don't have their voice dilluted, and it would also solve the issue in some of these big states like NY where upstate and downstate have very different needs
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2020, 12:33:15 PM »

Yes, preferably it should be abolished.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2020, 01:02:15 PM »

Yes, preferably it should be abolished.

What would replace it though? I like how in the senate the seats are up every 6 years, making it harder to flip and immune to waves to some degree. I think the best solution is to keep it but redraw the states to be more porportional in population sizes, basically smaller states merge togethr (The Dakotas and the farm belt, WY+ID+MT, and larger states would be split, and to ensure there's no "state gerrymandering", the 2 new states would need to have 2 more or less equal populations, counties must be preserved, and a supermajority in the state legistlature as well as in the senate would have to agree to it. If no agreement can be reached in x amount of time the court draws the new districts.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2020, 01:06:37 PM »

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.

Why should rural voters get such outweighed representation though. It isn't fair that Democrats have to try to outreach to a few rural communities when Republicans don't even have to try to win cities like NYC or Los Angeles. It just seems like this supresses the ideals of people in major urban centers by ensuring taht their agenda is aproved by a few stubborn rural voters, wheras rural states alone can get a majoirty and inflict there agenda upon everyone else, even if they're the minority population wise. Your argument makes zero sense.
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2020, 01:13:11 PM »

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.

Why should rural voters get such outweighed representation though. It isn't fair that Democrats have to try to outreach to a few rural communities when Republicans don't even have to try to win cities like NYC or Los Angeles. It just seems like this supresses the ideals of people in major urban centers by ensuring taht their agenda is aproved by a few stubborn rural voters, wheras rural states alone can get a majoirty and inflict there agenda upon everyone else, even if they're the minority population wise. Your argument makes zero sense.
I mean I'm pretty institutionalistic and small c-conservative when it comes to the structures by which we arrange our government, so I (hope at least) you aren't offended or anything by my remarks on the matter. I just find the system the Founders gave us to have been remarkably able to give us stability and encourage keeping conflict within the system and not out of it. We are a nation that has lasted for close to two and a half centuries and the only civil war we can speak of lasted a mere 1.7% or so of that existence. I'd say the founders did a pretty good job.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2020, 01:35:29 PM »

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.


Why should rural voters get such outweighed representation though. It isn't fair that Democrats have to try to outreach to a few rural communities when Republicans don't even have to try to win cities like NYC or Los Angeles. It just seems like this supresses the ideals of people in major urban centers by ensuring taht their agenda is aproved by a few stubborn rural voters, wheras rural states alone can get a majoirty and inflict there agenda upon everyone else, even if they're the minority population wise. Your argument makes zero sense.
I mean I'm pretty institutionalistic and small c-conservative when it comes to the structures by which we arrange our government, so I (hope at least) you aren't offended or anything by my remarks on the matter. I just find the system the Founders gave us to have been remarkably able to give us stability and encourage keeping conflict within the system and not out of it. We are a nation that has lasted for close to two and a half centuries and the only civil war we can speak of lasted a mere 1.7% or so of that existence. I'd say the founders did a pretty good job.

Yes, I understand your point, however, times change, and the needs of people change with it. No one could've imagined how partisan things would be when America was first founded; there weren't even parties in the first place. However, as the Democratic Party continues to cluster in the cities, and the Republican party spreads out in rural areas. In the EC, Congressional Districts, and in the Senate, the Republicans have structural advantages, and the senate is the Democrat's biggest probelm in the long term, as a bunch of small states shift away from them: ME, NH, VT, RI, CT, DE MN, WI, and they continue to make gains in a few larger states: TX, NC, GA, AZ. I don't mean to make this partisan, but using our current political coalitions fro reference. This could mean that urban voters find themselves being in the majoirty in the popular vote, but because rural voters are the voters that get the most influence, they find that there aganda can't be passed, or worse, the minority of rural voters inflicts an unwanted agenda upon urban voters. Also, considering that the senate appoints a lot of judges, this could mean that they only appoint judges hat represent rural voters, throwing the juduicial system off balance. The institution of the senate, in my view, is no longer needed to help protect larger states, like CA and NY, from bullying WY, but's it's done the opposite because now, WY, MT, ND, SD, KS, NE, UT, and ID can bullying around the folks in CA and NY with their outweighed power. I don't think that abolishing the senate is the right answer, but I would do something more along the lines as making the house the dominant chamber, where judicial appointments are confirmed and such, and make the senate a check for when things seem to be thrown off balance. In the house, I make it so that CDs are up every 6 years so that a wave election doesn't completely knock out the otehr party. This would be a fair comprimise as the majoirty of people would generally be able to get what they want, but the minority coud block them if they feel it would hurt their people.
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« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2020, 02:43:25 PM »

I am familiar with your general arguments, I have debated this before. However, regardless, if we tinker with the governmental structure solely for the sake of one party's partisan interests at the expense of arrangements that have delivered stabiity and order in this country, we do more damage to the Republic than Mitch and friends have managed to do in their entire lifetimes. Dangerous precedent would be set and Pandora's Box would be opened.
Stability and order are never outdated.
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ProgressiveModerate
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2020, 03:02:23 PM »

I am familiar with your general arguments, I have debated this before. However, regardless, if we tinker with the governmental structure solely for the sake of one party's partisan interests at the expense of arrangements that have delivered stabiity and order in this country, we do more damage to the Republic than Mitch and friends have managed to do in their entire lifetimes. Dangerous precedent would be set and Pandora's Box would be opened.
Stability and order are never outdated.

I agree with you that if changes are executed poorly, they can cause long term damage, and if it may set a precendent for the future that a party can change how the system works for their own personal game. My fear is that if the parties become almost purely an urban v rural divide, you could have a situation where one party knows they'll win the senate no matter what, and run extreme canidates, that shift the overton window far in the direction of whatever rural values are. That could be dangerous if the WY and the other rural states stagnate in population growth, and most people live in just a few states, because every vote could be vetoed just by what a few rural people think. Also, if it gets to a point when one party uses this advantage to get to 67+ senate seats, what's to say they can just impeach any president who aligns with urban values and not face any consequences themselves. It just seems like if nothing is done, the current system might begin to fail in the current political climate.
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2020, 04:33:49 PM »

I am familiar with your general arguments, I have debated this before. However, regardless, if we tinker with the governmental structure solely for the sake of one party's partisan interests at the expense of arrangements that have delivered stabiity and order in this country, we do more damage to the Republic than Mitch and friends have managed to do in their entire lifetimes. Dangerous precedent would be set and Pandora's Box would be opened.
Stability and order are never outdated.

I agree with you that if changes are executed poorly, they can cause long term damage, and if it may set a precendent for the future that a party can change how the system works for their own personal game. My fear is that if the parties become almost purely an urban v rural divide, you could have a situation where one party knows they'll win the senate no matter what, and run extreme canidates, that shift the overton window far in the direction of whatever rural values are. That could be dangerous if the WY and the other rural states stagnate in population growth, and most people live in just a few states, because every vote could be vetoed just by what a few rural people think. Also, if it gets to a point when one party uses this advantage to get to 67+ senate seats, what's to say they can just impeach any president who aligns with urban values and not face any consequences themselves. It just seems like if nothing is done, the current system might begin to fail in the current political climate.
You aren't entirely wrong in that this is worth worrying over, but I am not as pessimistic as you are on the future of rural-urban polarization in this country.
Moreover, no American political alignment has ever been purely based off relative population density. And polarization is likely to begin to ebb at some point over the next half decade as well, though it'd be a gradual process if anything.
It is also the case that historically the United States has always had big states and small states. In 1800 we had even more of a relative concentration of people in a comparable share of states, and this % fell as time went on due to the frontier opening up and people going West, and then even further as time went on due to people going from more populous MW states to the Sunbelt. Only recently did this reverse.
I think that we'd have more reason to fear this sort of arrangement if we had a firmly capital-a agrarianist party (which the GOP is not, they can't win based off of just rural and small-town votes - they need mid-sized states too, think NC, SC, OH, IN, and so on). Reality is that rural areas in various areas have had a wide range of voting behaviors, though over the past 40-50 years they have tended to be more right than left overall. Rural areas in New England remain D-leaning, and rural Alaska remains Democratic due to Alaska Natives. Wide swathes of rural Mississippi remain Democratic because of black votes. Rurals have never been uniformly for either side; they were left-leaning relative to the nation as a whole in the 1930s and 1940s, decisively right-leaning on that same basis from 2000 onwards overall and esp. since 2016, and might well shift again at some future point.
I don't buy into the idea that the GOP can hope to feel assured of this huge advantage for the next half-century or so, which is what would be a prerequsite for what you are positing to become possible. Karl Rove spoke of a 'Permanent Republican majority'. It didn't last. Some Democrats must have felt the same after 2012, when Obama won a convincing win and Ds expanded their Senate advantage. Then 2014 and Trump happened.
America has a way of proving confident political declarations to be short-sighted. If you told me you had a crystal ball and knew, 100%, for sure how, say, Iowa would vote in 2052, then I'd never be able to take you seriously; my brain would just not be able to accept the idea that such a thing could be prognosticated so far in the past.
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Itís so Joever
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« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2020, 07:36:40 PM »

No, but state borders should be changed.
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« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2020, 10:24:02 PM »

Yes, it should be removed of all substantial power and turned into an advisory body. To do otherwise is to damn the Republic for the sake of Jonathan Trumbull.
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« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2020, 12:22:28 AM »

Few good outcomes if it does come to pass that the Senate becomes safe R as the country continues to shift to the left.

Governments have to be representative of their population. But what do I know, Dems only have to win my state by 20 to get a slim majority in the statehouse...
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« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2020, 01:13:49 AM »

Yeah of course. I'd rather do a 1-chamber legislature. You can give every state 3 reps as a minimum.
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Landslide Lyndon
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« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2020, 03:58:11 AM »

Bicameralism is dumb.

I feel like the basic Senate set up should be kept as it is, but bigger states given a third Senate seat to give the body at least a little bit of proportional representation. What the rules for how states get an extra seat, I'm not sure. Give it to the top 5, 10, in population? Give it to states with X (10, 15, 20, 25?) or greater Congressional seats? I feel like giving it to X or greater population (10 million, 20 million) would be less effective since, as the Country's population grows, more and more states will reach that threshold and defeat the purpose of the change.

I thought the same thing. This might be a good compromise.
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« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2020, 12:52:38 AM »

A Senate abolition would be bad for my party + people, so no, it should not be done.
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« Reply #21 on: April 26, 2020, 06:01:49 AM »

Some of the posts on this thread are absolutely crazy and just illustrate the hate that liberals have for the US Constitution, and more generally for democray, but also their incredible hypocrisy.

First it seems that the original poster and some other red avatars have some problems with basic algebria.
Contrary to what they think the US Senate is not a collection of a bunch of small, right wing states, opressing a majority of large, blue states.

Here is a quick look at some demographics data.
*The 10 largest states (CA/TX/FL/NY/PA/IL/OH/GA/NC/MI) are sending 10 democratic senators and 10 republican senators. In other words the most populous states have a equally partisan Senate delegation. Yeah, sorry democrats, large states are not just California.
*The 10 smallest states (WY, VT, ND, AK, SD, DE, RI, MT, ME, NH) are, (BIG SURPRISE) also sending a equal number of democratic and republicans senators. You see, liberals ? Sparsely populated states are not just WY or SD, they are also VT and DE (the states from where your two main presidential contenders are coming from)

So the idea that the US Senate is some kind of oppressive institution which is giving the ability to rural rednecks to bully the good, progressive, people of New York is not resisting to the facts. And I guess that you aren't thinking that the Senate is somewhat unfair to conservative Texans as it gives a disproportionate power to progressive Vermonites , right ?

Secondly, and it's why liberals are, generally speaking, so hard to trust, your critics of the Senate are not motivated by sincere reformist arguments, but by a partisan point of view.

Abolishing the Senate is great from your perspective when democrats are the minority, but strangely in 2011 or in 2013, when the democratic Senate majority led by Harry Reid was provided Obama a protective wall against conservative legislations from the House, the Senate and the inbalance between the small and the large states wasn't a problem for you.
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« Reply #22 on: April 26, 2020, 06:06:18 AM »

Some of the posts on this thread are absolutely crazy and just illustrate the hate that liberals have for the US Constitution, and more generally for democray, but also their incredible hypocrisy.

First it seems that the original poster and some other red avatars have some problems with basic algebria.
Contrary to what they think the US Senate is not a collection of a bunch of small, right wing states, opressing a majority of large, blue states.

Here is a quick look at some demographics data.
*The 10 largest states (CA/TX/FL/NY/PA/IL/OH/GA/NC/MI) are sending 10 democratic senators and 10 republican senators. In other words the most populous states have a equally partisan Senate delegation. Yeah, sorry democrats, large states are not just California.
*The 10 smallest states (WY, VT, ND, AK, SD, DE, RI, MT, ME, NH) are, (BIG SURPRISE) also sending a equal number of democratic and republicans senators. You see, liberals ? Sparsely populated states are not just WY or SD, they are also VT and DE (the states from where your two main presidential contenders are coming from)

So the idea that the US Senate is some kind of oppressive institution which is giving the ability to rural rednecks to bully the good, progressive, people of New York is not resisting to the facts. And I guess that you aren't thinking that the Senate is somewhat unfair to conservative Texans as it gives a disproportionate power to progressive Vermonites , right ?

Secondly, and it's why liberals are, generally speaking, so hard to trust, your critics of the Senate are not motivated by sincere reformist arguments, but by a partisan point of view.

Abolishing the Senate is great from your perspective when democrats are the minority, but strangely in 2011 or in 2013, when the democratic Senate majority led by Harry Reid was provided Obama a protective wall against conservative legislations from the House, the Senate and the inbalance between the small and the large states wasn't a problem for you.
do you agree or disagree with my postings in this thread?
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« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2020, 07:08:25 AM »

The whole point of the Senate is to reinforce federalism by making it 1 state = 1 vote.

Though I would expand the Senate to 150 Senators so that all states elect one of their senators every 2 years (so 3 per state) instead of having some states off each year. Depending on how bold we are allowed to go, give the territories and DC 1 senator each as well. (they are not full states so they get representation but not full representation)

A Senate abolition would be bad for my party + people, so no, it should not be done.

Ah, so the classic, follow the rules when it suits me, disregard them when they don't Tongue
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2020, 07:17:03 AM »

The whole point of the Senate is to reinforce federalism by making it 1 state = 1 vote.

Though I would expand the Senate to 150 Senators so that all states elect one of their senators every 2 years (so 3 per state) instead of having some states off each year. Depending on how bold we are allowed to go, give the territories and DC 1 senator each as well. (they are not full states so they get representation but not full representation)

A Senate abolition would be bad for my party + people, so no, it should not be done.

Ah, so the classic, follow the rules when it suits me, disregard them when they don't Tongue
Fair-weather institutionalism is a bane of functional government. Change my mind.
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