The Senate was always intended to represent the states, not the people and, as such, its equal membership across the states makes sense. It is not that the people are represented unequally in the Senate, it is that they are not supposed to be represented in that way.
As James Madison wrote in Federalist 62, “the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty.” The Senate he helped create did both, representing the states as states, while reflecting and preserving the balance of federalism struck at the constitutional convention.
The Senate did exactly what it was designed to do until the populist progressives last altered its makeup in 1913 with the passage of the 17th Amendment. There were some problems with the old system, in which state legislatures elected U.S. senators, and increasing deadlocks around the turn of the 20th century meant that seats went unfilled more frequently. But rather than fixing that system, progressives abolished it and made the Senate a mal-apportioned version of the House by making its members elected by the people directly.
This, perhaps, is the root of the problem. Changing to popular election makes the Senate look no different from one of the state senates, where voters elect state senators from districts that, while larger than state house districts, are nonetheless equal in size. The change in electoral method has made us forget the Senate’s purpose of representing the states as political entities, not merely as oversized districts.
The results have been clear. Since 1913, power has flowed steadily away from state capitals and toward Washington, D.C. The Senate, in this respect, has worked in Democrats’ favor for 100 years as the former bulwark of federalism is now subject to the same centralizing trends as the House and the presidency. In a nation that is increasingly diverse, the trend should be the opposite, with states gaining more power from the central government so that the people need not be governed by one-size-fits-all legislation. The only change the Senate needs is returning it to its intended purpose as the representative of the states.
A Senate in which states are represented equally is not broken. If reporters and pundits have deficiencies in their civics education, that is not the fault of the Senate, and neither is it the Senate’s fault that Democrats have not held a majority since January 2015. Four years’ absence from power is not a structural defect; it is a flaw in the quality of their Senate candidates. Instead of tearing down institutions, Democrats should gain power the old-fashioned way: by nominating candidates who can win elections.
Which is their whole problem: not enough of us are either brainwashed enough, stupid enough, or cowardly enough to sit back and humbly accept the burdensome yoke of communist tyranny. Not yet, anyway. Meanwhile, half of the dimbulb Left doesn’t have the vaguest clue about the hows, whys, and wherefores of American government. And the other half is violently, unalterably opposed to it, and hate it worse than cancer.
Fundamental transformation update! Walsh cuts right to the chase:
Hillary Clinton, the most vengeful, spiteful loser in the history of American electoral politics, has abandoned the Left’s always deceptive, now evanescent call for “civility.” She insists there can be no civility between the parties until the Democrats are restored to power—and, by extension, the Republicans are vanquished.
What Hillary Clinton and her allies are really calling for is not civility, but submission. Like True Believers everywhere, theirs is a Manichean view of the world in which one side is wholly and manifestly good, the other deplorably and irredeemably evil. There can be no victory but total victory, no matter how long the struggle takes. After all, “there is only the fight.”
Short of civil war, there’s a clear solution to this two-state problem, and it’s been available from the beginning: federalism. The Left’s drive to diminish the power of the states and to consolidate power at the federal level is the reason why it hates the Senate and the Electoral College. The bulk of Hillary’s popular-vote margin came in California, where every vote for her beyond a one-vote majority in a winner-take-all state was wasted. The irony is that as long as Democrats flock together along the coasts, they’ll continue losing.
So their endgame is clear: the effective abolition of the states for all national political purposes. Talk about “fundamental change.” Because when you cut away all the boilerplate and the verbiage, the mock-piety and pretend horror, and strip the battle down to its essentials, what’s left is this: will the United States remain, as its founders intended, a federal republic, or will it become something more akin to a plebiscitary democracy, in which all important questions are decided in the heat and passion of the moment?
Actually, they aren’t any too interested in democracy either, unless it’s the sham, rigged variety wherein the dictator always takes a hundred and twenty percent of the votes and is the only one on the ballot, his prospective opponents having all been murdered or jailed. Or, say, like Philadelphia back in Comrade Barrack’s day.