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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Undemocratic Senate

If you've followed my many posts about our fundamentally "undemocratic" Congress--with very large and very small states getting the same power in the Senate (hence yesterday's votes on guns)--you will understand why this is my favorite story of the day.  It's by a colleague of Ezra Klein at the Wash Post, and Ezra in tweet says it "shocks" him-- though God knows why, it's an old issue. 

Dylan Matthews, with stats and graphs, shows exactly HOW undemocratic the Senate has become, with population trends.  The gap between the smallest and largest states was not so great when the Founders met, but now, for example, folks in Wyoming enjoy 66 times the influence in the Senate compared with their friends in California.  Yesterday the Senators who scuttled the gun measures represented 30% of U.S. population.  But Matthews writes that any measure could pass with properly aligned Senators representing just 17% of the public.

Then there's this:  to block legislation via filibuster you just need 40 Senators.  You could now get that with the Senators from the 20 smallest states--representing 11% of public.

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