Well, the Senate is enshrined in the Constitution. Primaries are a construct of the parties and, somewhat, of the states. They can and have changed over time. In fact the primary system as you think of it today didn’t exist prior to the early 1900s.
You have misinterpreted the graphic. At the time of the screenshot, there were certain to be 41 Democrat and 51 Republican senators in the new senate. Only 35 senate seats were up for election, not 92. 23 of those 35 seats – two thirds! – were won by Democrats and left-leaning independents, according to projections at this hour.
Definitely, and in state and local elections in 2019 to restore some critical checks and balances on executive power.
No, the system is designed to treat each state equally, regardless of population.
Because Wyoming and California are each one state. The Senate is intended to represent the interests of the States, with each State in the Union having an equal vote.
If you want per-capita representation of the population (NB: NOT the voters!), that’s what the House of Representatives is for.
Hell, if you left it up to the Foundling Fathers, none of you lot would be allowed to vote on Senators AT ALL.
The Constitution left senatorial selection up to the state legislatures. No popular vote at all. It wasn’t until the the XVIIth Amendment in 1913 that senators were elected by popular vote.
(Similarly, with the Presidency. Originally, the Constitution had the state legislatures picking electors, who then vote for candidates, and their top two picks went to Electoral College ,with the final top-vote-getter being prez, and 2nd place, vice-pres.
Amendment XII in 1804 separated prez from veep in Elector voting, but otherwise leaves it to the state legislatures to decide how to pick Electors. They’re not required to use popular vote at all, even though they mostly do.)
And as others have pointed out here, you’re looking at votes for the 1 out of 3 senate seats up for election this cycle. The other 2 out of 3 weren’t even on this ballot.
At any rate, electing the legislative upper house in the bicameral legislature of a Union of sovereign States according to the long-established rules is not “cheating.”
Not everything is (or should be) done by popular vote.
This is a feature; not a bug,
(A buggy feature, perhaps – but hey, you wanna change the outcome, change the code. It’s been done before.)
That depends entirely on what state you happen to live in.
Heeeeey now… Don’t forgot all of the fascist dictatorships we have historically propped up, and are currently propping up, because it’s in the commercial interests of the power elite! And, our population supports such things, in general, for their own perceived comfort.
Karma going to bite America in the ass, methinks. Hold on to your 401Ks, people. The fall of this empire is going to be messy.
Well, even states with higher populations signed on to the rules. They’re not great rules, but they weren’t exactly hoodwinked into accepting them.
Now, the people who lived here before white folks, who were mostly killed so whites could live here? I’d say they were hoodwinked!
I don’t see many ways of fixing the overall problem except by somehow reducing the power of the Senate, essentially turning it into a body that looks out for the interests of the several states but stays out of appointments – more Advice and less Consent (which would become more the domain of the House). At least that way a minority of bigoted bumpkins won’t end up foisting SCOTUS justices like Kavanaugh or Thomas on the majority for a generation.
This less powerful Senate would also bring us closer to a Westminster bicameral model, reflecting the pseudo-parliamentary 4-party system (Dem and GOP establishment and populist wings) that’s fracturing the American duopoly without breaking it.
Another option might be to adjust Senatorial terms so that the turnover occurs for the entire body every six years, with each party running two candidates and the top two taking the slots for the term. While not being a full corrective, it might more accurately represent and make room for the urban-rural divide within each state. There probably wouldn’t be a lot of change in the large, prosperous and sane states like CA, but you’d start seeing urban areas in states like SD putting in at least one Dem Senator instead of the usual two Republicans.
I doubt any of these options are realistic, though, especially when the federal government and duopoly parties have shown no real interest in making comparatively easier fixes like Electoral College reform, rotating presidential primary state order, a nation-wide election day bank holiday, real national voting systems standards, etc.
I don’t see a realistic fix on the horizon but one compromise could be “every state is guaranteed at least one Senator, but the remaining 50 are apportioned by population.” (Add 2 more Senators to the total for each new state that joins the Union.)
I recognize this kind of change is nigh impossible since everyone currently in power got there through the current system and has little or no incentive to change it.
2020 is basically the Republicans’ version of what the Dems experienced this year. They get to defend more seats, including the marginal ones they picked up in the 2014 election.
here’s a list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate_elections,_2020
right off the bat, Maine, Colorado, Alabama, Iowa, North Carolina and Arizona will clearly be contested. Only 1 of those currently has a Dem. In a presidential year, I wouldn’t be surprised if Georgia and Texas weren’t potential contests, after this year…
True for many modern democracies.
With a parliament, you know you’re not necessarily the head of government you expect. Here, we “appear” to vote directly for POTUS and we get Trump, outvoted by ~3m votes. The winner lost, the loser won, and we all lost.
Is there any other democracy that uses this kind of electoral college system that kinda-but-not-really puts the question directly to the people but in practice gives more power to voters in rural areas?
It seems to me that even Americans recognize that an electoral college doesn’t really make sense, otherwise we’d use it in other kinds of elections. Why aren’t gubernatorial elections decided this way, for example?
Your argument seems to be that in England (say), a voter understands how the system works, and therefore knows she’s not voting for the Prime Minister, whereas in the US a voter doesn’t know how the system works and therefore thinks she is voting for the President.
This might or might not be true – I was living in the UK during the 1987 general election, and my MP’s ads were very much “a vote for me is a vote for Maggie” – but the fact remains that “no direct election of a national leader” is a structural aspect of many modern democracies, not just the US.
Did you follow the Brexit vote?
Just to be clear, I’m not defending the Electoral College, but as always I think criticism should be based on content, not on optics. I sometimes get flak for that.
with the Wyoming vs California example, isn’t that equity at work though. You can complain the “little guy” has too strong a voice or you can appreciate that the little guy is not overpowered.
Oz is, in some ways, a blend of British and American systems. We’ve got an indirectly elected executive via Parliament, but we also have a system designed to amplify the voices of the less-populous regions.
The “rural gerrymander” gets expressed in two ways in Australia:
Electorates in low-density areas have lower populations than those in high-density areas, despite being geographically larger. A rural person’s vote counts for more than a city person.
Our Senate is partially based on population, but with a couple of extra Senators for each state just because they’re states. As a result, a Tasmanian person’s vote counts for more in the Senate than someone from NSW.
These are fairly small effects, however. In practice, Australian politics are still dominated by the cities and the most populous states.
Wyoming isn’t a “little guy.” It’s 586,000 little guys who each have far more political power than the 39.5 Million little guys in California.
Bugger it, that’s too good for just a link.
Hey thanks for this.
I was too chicken to quote it in full or in part.
I do realize Zinn’s writing is not for everyone. I think he’s the bee’s knees.
I appreciate Zinn’s direct, lucid analysis. Bracing!
As a very young friend once said to me in a mournful tone, “seems like the older I get, the more chores I have” and one day I know I’ll have to break it to him that being a grownup is indeed chock full of chores requiring energy, boldness and that bugaboo “concerted action.”
As I get older and more tired, I realize that if the Blue Wave is to succeed over the long term, it’s gotta be way more fun for us, with better food and better music and cooler people and show it thus that the other, failed, cynical politics of The Greed Community. The Blue Wave etc. must be irresistibly more desirable than what The Other Side offers.
Here’s another infographic I’ve been chewing on, here in ATX:
More work to be done. We go on.
ETA: clicked a stray key and oops it posted before I got done