Friday, June 24, 2005

Small Steps

One of the first steps of reform should probably be the Senate’s representation. I continue to hope one day for a Baker style ruling that says the Senate, like representatives, should represent people not cows.

Senate disproportionality messes with all sorts of things. Not just agrarian subsidies or under-representing other interests, in the more powerful chamber. It gives a philosophical backing to anyone defending minority rule (that we have a major body that is not democratic really), which shows up especially in the Senate rules crafted by these members. It comes out in electoral votes for states (which are Senate plus House reps, giving 3 EV’s to states with less than half a million population). It prevents DC from getting statehood, because the prospect of 2 new Democratic Senators is pretty scary.

One small step would be simply to redistribute Senators to the states, like representatives. Under our current system, we take the population of each state, give them 1 Congressional seat at least, and then distribute the rest based on population. The same could happen for Senators. We have a hundred senators, give 1 to each state, 50 overall, and distribute the other 50 to the rest of the states based on their size. Except instead of states with multiple representatives splitting them into districts, they’d be at large members.

This is not radical. This is in fact, what almost all State Senate’s do, to some degree or another.

We’d maintain the distinctive differences between the two bodies, but we would not have the whole state of California being equal to (or less once you factor seniority concerns) than the representation for the state of Kansas.


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