Should states with larger populations have more senators? | The Tylt

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Should states with larger populations have more senators?
#ProportionalSenators
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#ProportionalSenators

With the dramatic movement of the nation's population, the distribution of senators will become progressively more uneven. 

#ProportionalSenators

Eric W. Orts, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, lays out a potential alternative to the two-senator system we currently have in an article for the Atlantic.

Start with the total U.S. population, then divide by 100, since that’s the size of the current, more deliberative upper chamber. Next, allocate senators to each state according to their share of the total; 2/100 equals two senators, 3/100 equals three, etc. Update the apportionment every decade according to the official census.
Using 2017 census estimates as a proxy for the official one coming in 2020, the Rule of One Hundred yields the following outcome: 26 states get only one senator (having about 1/100 of the population or less), 12 states stay at two, eight states gain one or two, and the four biggest states gain more than two: California gets 12 total, Texas gets nine, and Florida and New York get six each. This apportionment shows how out of whack the current Senate has become.
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However, as Vox points out, it is incredibly difficult to change the number of senators sent to Congress by each state. While there is nothing specifically preventing Congress from redistributing senators based on population, each state is guaranteed representation by the Constitution. 

One thing we can’t do is make the Senate more proportional. Nothing in the logic of federal representation would prevent this. In fact, other countries have upper chambers in legislatures that represent constituent states but that also represent them proportionally.
But we can’t do this, even with an amendment, because the only limit that Article V of the Constitution places on amendments is that “no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.”
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Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard University, expands in a Chicago Tribune op-ed:

[T]he fight over the undemocratic Senate was already the central issue in the constitutional convention in the long hot summer of 1787 in Philadelphia. The nonrepresentative design was a source of outrage and profound frustration to James Madison, the primary architect of the Constitution, and the other representatives of large states like New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The small states made equal Senate representation into the linchpin of their willingness to join the Constitution. They anticipated staying small. They anticipated future efforts to strip them of their Senate representation. And they made sure those would never succeed.
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The problem is becoming worse as the demographic makeup of the nation shifts and changes. Per the Atlantic:

The Republican Party has an inbuilt advantage in Senate races. Since Democratic voters tend to cluster in cities and their inner suburbs, Republicans are more spread out over large geographic areas. While rural strength in a state like New York or California counts for little in Senate races dominated by large coastal cities, the abundance of sparsely populated, geographically vast states in the West and Midwest is a big help for Republican domination in the chamber. Wyoming, for instance, reliably returns GOP senators despite having about as many people as Albuquerque.
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Jay Cost at the National Review disagrees, saying this kind of uneven representation was built into the Constitution on purpose and should not be changed.

[I]t is tempting to unfavorably compare the government as it is against some ideal that has never been — but this is a false contrast. Why should we assume that such an ideal government would be benevolent in practice? Philosophers since the ancients have appreciated the dangers of unbridled democracy. Perhaps democracy in our system has been so successful precisely because the compromises of 1787 do a reasonably good job of bridling it. Perhaps the Senate, despite being a product of political necessity, has been — on balance — a salutary check on the impetuosity of the House of Representatives.
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Should states with larger populations have more senators?
#ProportionalSenators
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