During a recent roundtable a participant seemed to suggest that it was somehow wrong that far more than half of our American senators represent considerably less than half of the American electorate. A senator from Wyoming represents approximately 600 thousand people, whereas a senator from California represents almost 40 million. Twenty senators represent more constituents than the other eighty senators combined.
This offends some peoples sense of rightness. How can we let this stand? Should we throw out our present Constitution and start anew?
This situation is not new. When our first President was elected, the two senators from Delaware represented 60,000 people whereas the Virginia senators represented 750,000. This inequity was established in the Great Compromise that created our Constitution and set us out on more than two centuries of progress and prosperity. Furthermore, in the very words of that hallowed Constitution, “No state, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.” That clause is unamendable.
For myself, I would fear supreme legislative power in the hands of a legislature that was elected solely on the basis of a democratically proportioned popular vote. Our House of Representatives is that way, and it is much too volatile. Thank God for a Senate that helps to slow things down. The founders knew what they were doing.
For other perspectives, read my earlier posts entitled “Is the Constitution Constitutional” and “Democracy”.