Market Mad House

In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche


Stimulus Check Failure proves it is Time to Reform the U.S Senate

The failure of President Donald J. Trump’s (R-Florida) stimulus check plan shows it is for Americans to consider the once unthinkable notions of reforming or abolishing or the United States Senate.

Incredibly, the US House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing Trump’s $2,000 stimulus checks by a two-thirds vote, Reuters reports. On 28 December 2020, the House voted 275 to 134 to approve $2,000 checks.

However, most observers believe ordinary people will never receive the $2,000 checks. Instead, a small cadre of millionaire politicians led by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) will probably kill the checks.

The U.S. Senate is Insane

McConnell blocked a vote on the checks on 29 December 2020, The Hill reports. Instead, Rising’s Rachel Bovard thinks McConnell will kill the checks with parliamentary procedures. Notably, Bovard brands McConnell’s cynical actions “failure theater.”

Thus, a handful of politicians can kill a popular measure supported by two-thirds of U.S. representatives, the President, and 57% of Americans. To elaborate, Data for Progress estimates 57% of Americans strongly support $2,000 stimulus checks.

In a sane system, such a popular policy would become a reality with little opposition or debate. However, in the United States Senate, a tiny group of political extremists can block any measure.

Similarly, one man U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) can disrupt the entire process. To elaborate, Hawley says he will object to the U.S. Congress’s certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote, The Washington Post reports.

Hawley’s grandstanding behavior could force a disruptive floor vote that could create a battle between Senate Republicans. However, Hawley’s actions will not stop the elevation of Joe Biden (D-Delaware) to the presidency.

Thus, under America’s sick Congressional system, one man has the power to challenge and potentially nullify the votes of 161 million people. To explain, Town & Country estimates 161 million Americans cast presidential votes in 2020.

Therefore, the U.S. Senate is an undemocratic institution that blocks popular actions, ignores the wishes of the American people, and what many people call progress. Consequently, it is time for Americans to consider reforming or abolishing the Senate.

The Senate Does Not Represent America

We need to consider abolishing or reforming the US Senate because the upper house does not represent America. Here are some numbers that show how undemocratic the US Senate truly is.

  • Thomas Geoghegan estimates that 51 US Senators represent 16% of the US population.
  • US Senators representing 9% of the national population can block can block any measure the House passes, Geoghegan claims.
  • US Senators representing 16% of the nation’s population can pass a law, Geoghegan claims. 
  •  US Senators representing 16% of the American population can appoint US Supreme Court Justices, Geoghegan claims. Note: this means Senators representing 16% of the population could pack the Supreme Court with additional judges.
  • African Americans comprise 3% of the U.S. Senate and 13.4% of the US population. This number could fall in January 2021 when U.S. Senator California Kamala Harris (D-California) becomes vice president.
  • Non-Hispanic people of color account for 5% of the US Senate and around 24% of the U.S. population.
  • Hispanic people comprise 18.5% of the US US population and 4% of US Senators.
  • A U.S. Senator from America’s least populous state (Wyoming) represented 578,759 people; or 0.17% of the US population. in 2019. Thus, 0.17% of the US population has two votes in the United States Senate.
  • A U.S. Senator from America’s most populous state (California) represented 39.78 million people in 2019.
  • There were only 25 women in the U.S. Senate in 2020. This number could fall to 24 if U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) loses her 2 January 2021 reelection bid.
  • Wyoming’s two Senators represent 0.17% of the US population. In contrast, California’s two US Senators represent 11.91% of the US population.
  • Consequently, I estimate 48 United States Senators represent 24 million people in a nation of 331 million people.
  •  6.137 million. The population of Missouri and the number of people US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) the man who feels free to challenge the votes of 161 million American represents.

Thus, the U.S. Senate has again become a Millionaire’s Club. The Millionaire’s Club is the derisive nickname journalists gave the corrupt U.S. Senate in the early 1900s. Popular anger at the Millionaire’s Club led to the radical reform of electing Senates enacted through the 17th Amendment.

Today’s Senate is a Millionaire’s Club because at least 10 US Senators are worth over $10 million, Medium writer Francesco Rizzuto Author estimates. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), for example, was worth $34 million in 2020.

Abolish or Reform the U.S. Senate?

I think the failure of Trump’s stimulus checks and Hawley’s antics show the U.S. Senate is the greatest problem in Washington, D.C. Thus we need to reform or abolish the Senate in order to get anything done.

Abolishing the U.S. Senate will make the U.S. House of Representatives, which sort of reflects the nation’s population America’s national legislature. For all its faults, the House can pass legislation and make bold reforms. Remember, the House passed the $2,000 check measure by a two-thirds vote.

However, the Senate; which we elect by state, does not reflect America’s population. Consequently, the U.S. Senate makes white, rural, Protestant Wyoming equal to gigantic, urban, multiracial, nonwhite, California.

On the other hand, abolishing the Senate will create problems because it could lead to a situation in which entire states or large swaths of the nation get no Congressional representation. For instance, Wyoming has one Representative while California has 53.

How to Reform the Senate

A better solution could be to give states with more population more Senators. My suggestion is to give a state an additional U.S. Senator for each five million people.

Thus, California will get nine U.S. Senators and my home state of Colorado will get three Senators. Colorado had a population of 5.759 million people in 2019.

An advantage to electing Senators by population is that we could add many members to Congress without making it too big and unwieldy to operate. Do we want a 1,000 member Congress? One advantage to a two-house legislature is that two smaller houses could operate more efficiently.  

An advantage to electing Senators by population is that we could add many members to Congress without making it too big and unwieldy to operate. Do we want a 1,000 member Congress? One advantage to a two-house legislature is that two smaller houses could operate more efficiently.  

In addition, adding Senators will make Congress closer to the size and levels of representation provided by foreign legislatures such as the British House of Commons; which has around 650 members to represent 67.886 million people. In contrast, the US Congress has 535 members; 435 U.S. Representatives and 100 U.S. Senators, to represent 331 million people.

The U.S. Senate is corrupt, archaic, and dysfunctional

Furthermore, I suggest we elect U.S. Senators through a proportional system.

In a proportional system, the top two or three candidates on the ballot receive an office. For instance, if the Republicans win 45% of the vote and Democrats 49%, both a Republican and a Democrat go to the Senate.

I also propose that we use a party-list system in which citizens vote for parties rather than individual candidates to elect Senators. The advantage to party list voting is that it kills the celebrity aspects of electoral politics.

Reforming or abolishing the Senate can be tough, but the 17th Amendment proves such reform or abolition is possible. Hopefully, the Senate’s failure to respond to America’s wishes will lead to a positive change in that corrupt, archaic, and dysfunctional institution.