May 12, 2018

California should have 12 senators

California's population last year increased to 39,810,000. This represents 12% of the population of the United States. While there is constant and well deserved discussion of gerrymandering in America there is virtually no talk about the fact that if the Senate were a fairly distributed body, California would have 12 of its members.

As we have noted before, half the United States currently is represented by only 19 senators. The former members of the southern confederacy, in contrast, have 22.


Anonymous said...


The House members are allocated by Population (minimum of at least 1/state)

The Senate is limited to a couple per State.

Is your point to change the rules and let the Senate also have hundreds of members, with each State being allowed various numbers based upon population...

Then, the most populous States would have a distinct advantage on both the House and Senate, with less populous States showing a propensity to 'dry-up and blow-away'.

I thought there was a reason that the House and Senate were divided in different manners.

Anonymous said...

There was (and is) a reason: the framers were replicating the British government. Until recently, the House of Lords was the main source of owner-class political power: they made sure that nothing too outrageous, like economic leveling, could be voted in. That's still the case with the US Senate.

The current US Constitution, as the late Prof. Dahl noted, is very undemocratic.

One way to increase democracy would be to make Congress unicameral, as is the case in some states.

Another way would be to make the "states" irrelevant to populating Congress: ignore state boundaries when forming multi-seat districts.

A third way would be to use technology to make government fully democratic: everyone represent themselves.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that the most populous states would have an advantage is perfectly democratic. "One man, one vote" is true democracy. The fact that our current President of the United States was elected by a minority of the votes cast, is a clear example of how undemocratic is our ELECTORAL COLLEGE system. This undemocratic mechanism for electing presidents in this country must be abolished.