Abolish the senate: Yea or nay?

Here’s an interesting factoid:

The senators of Wyoming, serving a population 533,668, can effectively nullify the votes of Californian senators who serve 36,756,666 people. Nearly 69 times as many people.

Do we really need the senate? What’s wrong with having true, equal representation? What kind of economic effects do you think would this have?

The Senate still serves the purpose it was intended to, namely a) protecting the individual states by ensuring their equal representation and b) creating a legislative body that because of their six year terms can afford to think long-term as opposed to the two year election cycle of the House.

I don’t see any reason to change that.

I would’ve answered “What the fuck are you talking about” in the poll, but that wasn’t an option.

The only way to “abolish the senate” is a Constitutional Amdendment…that would require 39 states to agree with such a stupid idea, which won’t happen. Might as well postulate on what might happen if you grew wings and could fly to the moon.

Really bad idea. The way the US is represented is pretty good overall, though I think we need to change the way we do voting.

…which means that many of the states which are over-represented would have to vote to have their own power reduced. Not going to happen. Similar situation in Australia; in order to change our constitution, we need to carry a referendum (plebiscite) in the overall population and a majority of the states. So everyone in NSW and Victoria and Queensland might favour something, but the other three states can still scupper it. Changing this system, naturally, requires a referendum…

I thought this was going to be about the Imperial Senate.

Needs citation.

That’s pretty easy to project, people would demand more services and lower taxes.

We would burn our economy within 20 years and be sacked just like Rome or in the throes of dictatorship.

You’re retarded. The senate (2 seats for each state) is balanced by the house of reps (seats based on population, updated at each census).

Or, to put it another way, L2PassHighSchoolCivics.

I think it would have the effect of taking a state that’s in excellent financial condition like Wyoming and turning it into a debt ridden basket case like California.

You should be thankful that the reasonable citizens of other smaller, more responsible states are here to bail you guys out.

Start a poll on this. I’m down.

Whether or not it’s a good idea (mixed feelings) this is so far down the list of constitutional amendments we need, there’s hardly any point to bothering with it. Just in terms of political structure amendments, more significant and valuable by far would be abolishing the electoral college, for example.

The Senate was never intended to be representative in that manner. Federalist #62 explains the reasoning pretty succinctly. Apart from the matter of giving small states a reason to join the Union by ensuring their equal representation in at least one part of government, the Senate was meant to be a check on the direct representation in the House. Federalist #39 explains some of the founder’s concerns with the concept of direct democracy, which was a form of government that they believed to be fatally flawed, especially in its tendency to allow the passions of the people to run roughshod over reasoned deliberation. The founders looked to Greek democracies for examples of the shortcomings of that form of government, but if you want a modern test case, look at California. So the Senate was designed specifically to be the more deliberative branch of the legislature, with longer terms for its members (to insulate them from the need to constantly appeal to the people to maintain their seats), and with a smaller, fixed number of members, which better facilitates direct debate.

By contrast, today’s House is a terrible place for debate and deliberation, simply by virtue of its immense size.

The House has nothing on the Italian parliament.

I like the Senate. The US was built as a union of almost co-equal states making allowances for the varying populations. I prefer that over rule by regional majorities. The system has its draw backs but some of them are also assets. The slow pace of legislation helps to reduce the number of radical, and in retrospect regrettable, acts.

Okay, how about this: instead of abolishing the Senate, we abolished statehood. One big Union. That would certainly throw a monkeywrench into the Federalist engine.

/sarcasm off

How 'bout we just let California run everything?

They’re doing a bang up job on their home turf…


The dysfunctional California government is more of a state-level than federal thing. At the federal level, I’d guess that California is a net contributor of federal spending and Wyoming is a net receiver:

Anyway, for the topic at hand, getting rid of the Senate seems like a bad idea, if the alternative is the nutty gerrymandered House.