Charlemagne the God just pointed out the greatest problem in our political system. Yet almost nobody in the media noticed.
On 17 December 2021, the hip-hop DJ turned interviewer asked US Vice President Kamala Harris (D-California): “Who is the real president of this country, Joe Biden or Joe Manchin?” Predictably, the progressive media became angry at Charlemagne for humiliating their leader. Meanwhile, conservatives mocked Harris’s lack of an intelligent response.
Frighteningly, both sides miss the important question Charlemagne asked. The question is: who runs the US government, the president the American people elected, or one US Senator from a small state? The God asked because Manchin (D-West Virginia) and his partner US Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) have blocked most of Biden’s agenda.
Of What Value is the Average American’s Vote?
Charlemagne’s question leads to another frightening question. That question is of what value is the average American’s vote. In 2020, tens of millions of Americans went out of their way to elect Biden. Many of them risked exposure to COVID-19 to stand in line to vote.
Yet, now those people’s sacrifice is meaningless. All of Biden’s agenda; including voting rights, efforts to fight Climate Change, and modest welfare state expansion, is dead in the water.
To add insult to injury, political insiders such as Harris cannot see the truth. Our leaders mindlessly defend a system that nullifies the votes of most Americans.
The Math Shows Charlemagne is Right
Simple math shows Charlemagne’s criticism of our government is correct. To explain, Joe Manchin can dictate Biden’s legislative agenda. Yet, Manchin represents just 1.792 million people in West Virginia. Biden won 81.269 million votes in 2020.
Charlemagne is exposing the central lie of American politics. The lie is that America is a democracy.
America is not a democracy because of the United States Senate. For example, Daily Kos estimates the 49 Republicans in the current US Senate represent 43.4% of America’s voters. Frighteningly, this situation is better than the last Senate when a Republican “majority” represented 42.8% of voters.
Furthermore, the Senate magnifies the power of minorities. For instance, the 43 US Senators who voted against President Trump’s second impeachment in January 2021 represent 125 million Americans, Vox estimates. The 57 US Senators who voted for impeachment represent 202 million Americans.
The Senate Does Not Represent America
Ominously, Vox estimates the 49 Republicans in the US Senate represent just 16% of the US population. To explain, 25 states contain 85% of the US population. Yet, each of the 50 states gets two US Senators. Hence, 16% of the population elects half the US Senate.
If Vox’s claims are true. Senate Republicans represent 53.41 million Americans in a country of 333.816 million people. In that system, one man elected by 1.792 million people can override the will of most of the country’s population.
Nor is geography the only way in which the Senate is unrepresentative. In January 2021, the average age of a US Senator was 64.3 years, The Washington Post estimates. The average age of the US population in 2019 was 38.1 years. Based on those numbers, I calculate the average Senator is 26.2 years older than the average American.
Charlemagne is Right
Hence, Charlemagne is right. Joe Manchin (age 74) has more power than the President of the United States.
America needs to reform the Senate. Unfortunately, such reform will be tough because we the only way to reform the Senate is through Constitutional Amendments. The only ways to amend the Constitution is through a vote of three-fourths of state legislators or a Second Constitutional Convention.
I think convincing a majority of state legislatures to amend the Constitution will be difficult. I don’t know how to achieve that miracle. Maybe Charlemagne does. After all, he is a God.
Still we will have to find some way to make the Senate representative of the majority of Americans if we want to restore America’s democracy.