Civil War 2.0


You can’t just shut out the majority of the population from the country’s decision making, as much as you want to. Those folks will rebel. They aren’t going to let vast tracks of empty land dictate things to them.

I agree abolishing the Senate is likely not a reasonable solution, but if those demographic shifts are to happen the status quo is going to become increasingly unstable.


If you think it’s terrible that Wyoming has 2 senators, it should also be terrible that Rhode Island has 2 senators as well.

You could carve the Dallas-Forth Worth Metroplex, by both area and population, into seven Rhode Islands.

I’m extremely sympathetic to understanding the problems with representation and the senate, but you don’t get to keep the Northeast’s spec-like historic oddity states while working to abolish the representation of those underpopulated Western states.


Yet conversely those small states with their out sized influence can dictate to the vastly more populated areas on the coasts? For example, Republicans have won the popular vote for President once since 1988, yet we will have a reactionary, far right judicial branch for the next generation or two - because people living in Boston and LA and NY don’t matter as much as people living in Oklahoma and Wyoming.


But they can’t, because representation in the House is based on population.


Supreme Court says Hi.


Supreme Court doesn’t make laws.


It sure is crazy to point out the inherent issues in the US constitution. I mean, it’s not like not like that document’s flaws have ever gotten this country into trouble before! No, we should just accept things as they are and assume everything will turn out all right because our form of government is clearly perfect. Besides, everything is going so smoothly right now.

… And the moral (as opposed to historical) argument in favor of granting a minority a disproportionate, perpetual, and ever-growing amount of power over the majority is what, exactly?


I think you’ve made this argument before, but I confess I can’t make any sense of it. If people in rural areas get to vote, they’re not shut out from decision making, they’re involved in decision making.

It’s true that they might be outvoted because they’re in a minority, but people get outvoted because they’re in a minority in California, and New York, and Massachusetts, and Florida. That’s what happens if you’re in the minority, you get outvoted. Does that mean that every voter in the minority has been disenfranchised? Every election actually disenfranchises the people who cast their vote for the loser? Why should we jump through hoops to empower the minority in Wyoming, but not the minority in upstate New York?

It’s perilously close to the repeated red state nonsense about how many counties voted Republican, or how many square miles did. Voters are people, not geography. Why should empty geography get to negate the will of the majority?

Of course you can argue that the Constitution is framed that way, and that we’re stuck with it, and I’ll agree with you on that. But defending it as somehow more democratic is absurd.


No but they allow legislators to do things like draw maps like North Carolina, where a 50/50 split winds up with 75-25% representation. And it’s not like there is an equal number of reps per population, those low population states have more reps per capital as well.


Add this to the pile of reasons why one of the main reforms we need is to ditch single seat first past the post districting.

This wouldn’t be so existential if, for example, getting 1 more vote than your opponent didn’t yield you 100% of the power.

Scenario A. Three districts. Majority purple, minority green, across them.
District 1 46p 54g
District 2 46p 54g
District 3 90p 10g

Reasonably these are all fairly safe seats. Even the close races are 8 points (aka greater than even the ‘wave’ margin of last election). Yet, clearly, this does not represent the will of the people.

Scenario 2. Multi seat districting for 3 seats.
182p 118g
Purple gets two reps to greens 1. And everyone in that district has someone representing them. There is no green voter in the overwhelmingly purple district who never has a representative for them, and there is no narrow minority who is constantly overruled in two districts. Everyone has a vote that matters.

That, plus ranked choice transferable votes, like Maine implemented, are vital changes we need.
Think how much less acrimonious things are when people don’t feel they have a voice suddenly do. It does cut both ways, conservatives living in Chicago could see representation as well as liberals in Louisiana. And it would tend to see more moderates I think. A GOP rep from Chicago couldn’t play the Tea Party line like one in Kansas. And we’ve seen how candidates in West Virginia or Missouri wouldn’t be the kind of Dems that win in California.

But our system of representation is untenable in the long term. Letting the politicians chose their voters in our system leads to the polarization and resentment over lack of representation we see.


I don’t spend much time or energy on changes that would require Constitutional amendments. To get those amendments, we need majorities of reasonable voters in 38 states, along with 67 senators. So let’s figure out how to get those, which seems a big enough problem.

For example: With about 100k more Dem votes, Wyoming is a blue state. How do we convince 100k sane people to move there?


Free cowboy hats?


I agree with you, and so do our founders!


It’s a PRACTICAL argument. Those people will rebel. You can’t just ignore a giant geographical region of our country. You won’t be able to keep order.

Hell, you already see this to some extent, with the government largely unable to impose laws on folks out there.


This is a totally separate issue, and hell, I’m the dude who started the gerrymandering thread. Gerrymandering is bad.

But the fix to Gerrymandering isn’t to get rid of the US Senate.

Folks aren’t saying that the vote in states like NC is unfair because the districts are gerrymandered to prevent a representative legislature… they’re saying that they want certain states to have less representation at the federal level. But that amounts to throwing out one of the most fundamental elements of our constitutional government. It’s not realistic, or practical. It’s a nonsense pipe dream, at best, even if you ignore the fact that there are legitimate reasons for the current system existing.


It (and the whole Judicial Branch) does veto some laws, though, and the House gets no say in its composition.

No one is suggestion that we should keep small Democratic states and eliminate small Republican ones. Dingell is suggesting that all states should get representation proportional to population alone, because there is no good reason to give extra weight to people for having fewer neighbors.

No one is suggesting that we have the whole country vote on every issue. Why can’t a representative government have only representatives who represent the same number of people?

The Senate is not at all a reason why we have states.

I still don’t understand what those reasons are, aside from arbitrary borders many of which were drawn to try to keep slavery on life support.


Based on my extremely light skimming of Chernow’s Hamilton it was mostly about cajoling small states into agreeing to sign onto the Constitution in the first place.

The Senate may be more magisterial than the 3/5 compromise, but like it, it’s partly an artifact of the specific 18th century circumstances around the adoption. I sometimes feel the Constitution may be too hard to reform/amend, but I’m not sure practically how we get from here to there without scotching the whole thing, and also I always fear the ‘establishment clause’ of the First Amendment would get the boot if stuff were really up for grabs again…

I think this sort of talk potentially opens up same the can-of-worms arguments you get around court-packing and stuff like that. You’ll kick off an arms race with an indeterminate conclusion. But, when the other side is not playing in good faith, being the ‘rule following guys’ can seem like being suckers. Tough one to parse out.


Easy, good access to internet, sewage and schools, with affordable housing and like minded people.

Or, just have one of the big 5 tech companies put an office there.


This is exactly it. There are good reasons for some minorities to have preference. It’s hard to make an argument that neighbor-challenged folks deserve one.


The reverse, actually.