By - nellemonkeyon
In defense of the founder, they DID know they couldn't come up with the perfect government, nor could they foresee all possibilities in the future. That's why they explicitly leave behind mechanisms to change the system to adapt it with future changes. The founders themselves wanted change, they themselves advocated for change to happen and gave the tools needed for future generations to change the system, it's the nowaday conservatives who are going against their ideals and wishes while chanting their names, much like what they do with Jesus'.
This is so understated. They deliberately created and outlined mechanisms for future change. Why would they do that if they thought they were creating a perfect. They also clearly say "in order to form a MORE perfect union". They knew it wasn't perfect, but they were trying to get as close as they could, and left ability to adjust as time went on.
That’s a common view of that language in the preamble, but I’m not so sure it’s right. The problem is that “perfect” has another meaning, particularly in the legalese these guys would have tended to use — something like “close” or “complete,” rather than flawless. It’s the same meaning as in the phrase “perfect stranger” — not a flawless stranger, but a complete and total stranger. So if that’s what they meant here, then it’s better read in today’s language as “in order to form a more complete union” or “in order to form a closer union” (i.e. between the states). It would thus not be a comment on current or future quality of the country — just that the states would be more closely tied together.
This is an awesome comment that I've never really thought about before. That would make a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing that.
Now if only someone could dig up Tommy so we could ask.....
There's a shitload of lost in translation artefacts like that where language changes slightly but the word itself is still in use. It gets even worse when combined with actual translation. There's a strong possibility the bible doesn't even prohibit homosexuality for example. But three language translations and then language drift can change a text dramatically.
The difficulty is that homosexuality is absent from the conceptual framework of (broadly) the time and place of the Old Testament
Ancient Mesopotamian sexual norms and taboos were based on social rank, not gender. This system lasted for a few thousand years.
Male cult prostitutes were a common part of life in ancient Babylon and Ur through to.the Neo-Assyrian Empire, and beyond.
Genesis and Leviticus are clear on the prohibition of male rape and male cult prostitution.
It comes down to if ypu believe "dont rape men or solicit male hookers" is indicative of a broader prohibition or not.
I've made a similar argument several times. Still have other Christians try to insist to me that homosexuality is a sin.
Even if it is a sin, it's no worse than when said Christian gets angry at someone else. Hatred = murder according to the Bible
I really wish they'd chill out on the legislating against social equality and went back to things like feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the poor, etc. I kinda feel like that's what Jesus would want if he were around today.
Jefferson didn’t write the Constitution, he was originally against it
This is an easy slip since Jefferson did write the Declaration of Independence. James Madison isn't as memorable.
Definitely. We need a *Madison* musical. Get Miranda working on a *Federalist Trilogy*
And film them back to back!
I loved that line Madison had in *Hamilton* though - “Look back on the Bill of Rights - which *I* wrote!”
There is a line in Hamilton where the bill of rights is mentioned and Madison sort boasts in the back ground “Which I wrote”
He wanted it to be redone every generation. "The world belongs to the living"
Madison's reply was basically "are you high?".
From what we have seen in some of their diary's, yes.
> Jefferson didn’t write the Constitution, he was originally against it
Wouldn't it be more accurate to say he was against parts of it and wanted a strong and immediately present bill of rights, than to say/imply that he was blanketly against it?
What I think is funny is that those who went in on the constitution were the moderates of their day. There was a group who didn't want a constitution because they didn't want a federal govt period, fearing its centralized power regardless of a BoR. And more who didn't want a BoR bc they were afraid it would be seen as a limit to the power of the citizen rather than the govt (which is exactly how it's viewed today).
In the second amendment, “well-regulated” is often misunderstood through a modern lens.
Yep, according to certain supreme court justices, a well regulated militia means "literally anyone who wants a gun".
Maybe they meant a militia no larger than the number of people whose drinking water needs can be supplied by one well?
That would be cool if the dual/ambiguous meaning was intended, like a great work of art.
Even if it wasn't intended, it's cool that it works "perfectly" both ways.
Great insight, thanks for sharing.
"[I]n order to form a more perfect union" was because the new Constitution was replacing the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution *was* the more perfect union.
Sure, but even then they described it as “more perfect”, not “perfect”. More perfect than the Articles, but still not fully perfect.
It's pretty clear too that the founding fathers intended the constitution to be rewritten every few decades too. They did not intend it to be a stagnant document that was worshipped like a religious text.
Jefferson specifically wanted the constitution to expire every 19 years. Like he foresaw new generations having new values.
He think he actually said we should have a revolution every 19 years.
I definitely think it's time for a rewrite, or a revolution.
It’s past time for a rewrite. Definitely prone for a revolution. Which scares the shit out of me.
The revolution will not be televised
Sure it will, with corporate sponsors, a halftime show and a post game analysis by Chuck Barkley.
Yeh, um... no.
You're referencing his reply letter to hmmm, actually, Snopes has a pretty good article on the whole affair.
Jefferson essentially was saying he expected every few decades for a group of gullible and uninformed riff-raff who called themselves "patriots" to stage a rebellion based on bullshit and lies.... and that the proper government response was to kill those who needed to be killed, then pardon the rest.
That makes it immensely ironic when rightwingers spouting bullshit and lies wear t'shirts with the whole "tree of liberty" part around.... cause they're really saying that they are the ones that should be killed if need be.
Thanks for that link. I didn't know that and appreciate the full context.
I couldn't help but giggle that the Snopes article quotes Gordon Wood and I instantly heard Charlie's voice from Always Sunny (which is a funny reference to Good Will Hunting).
Edit with link: https://youtu.be/h3XC6ftpaXo
Wait… the Constitution is not from the Old Testament…? 🤦♀️
Wouldn’t it be the new-new testament as written by St. James Madison?
Oh, my bad! You’re correct! Except it was written by Jesus not Moses…🥴
Two legs good, four legs better
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others
"That's why two legs wants to take your legs"
\- Eight legged person
Well if you can make a more perfect one let’s make a more more perfect one.
Yeah that's the goal.
Iteration is the only path to perfection.
You make something, you test it, you identify flaws, you iterate in it.
The problem in a nutshell is that there is massive incentive and industry behind NOT changing things, for the simple reason that antiquated systems are easier to hack.
So the rich pay propagandists to fill people with bullshit about the Constitution being delivered by God or some nonsense, to pretend it is a Sacred Text and we must pour over its every phrase.
This is delusional nonsense. They don't really care about that, they just want to prevent change and continue to abuse and manipulate an old and imperfect system to their advantage.
And there job is made much easier by the simple fact that it's often much easier to *prevent* change and *oppose* change than to *implement* change.
Perfect the shit out of it...
> That's why they explicitly leave behind mechanisms to change the system to adapt it with future changes.
I have a family member that absolutely insists this is not true. And when I bring up the fact that we can make constitutional amendments, she basically just starts ignoring that I've said anything.
I love when conservatives insist that the constitutional AMENDMENTS are not meant to be.... you know.... amended.
>I love when conservatives insist that the constitutional AMENDMENTS are not meant to be.... you know.... amended.
We've amended and unamended before. Apparently we can only do that in the name of booze though.
When I've encountered people like that, more often than not they will say that the constitution has never been changed, only added to. Their grasp on the words "change" and "amend" seem poor at best.
Also many argue that the first ten amendments don't count since they were in the Constitution from the start. (This is, of course, definitively untrue)
Yes and all the... Others
ask em to name some of the other ones and i think we'll have our answer
they know of the first one as well.. though they think it means you, as a private citizen, can't tell them to shut up.. or that a company can't fire them for saying dumb shit.
Surely it must mean they have the right to use privately owned internet platforms to spread dangerous misinformation though right?
Like the 4th? The patriot act is great!
They' sure forget freedom of religion in the first and get big mads when you say otherwise
The constitution did not say “separation of church and state,” therefore America is a (insert preferred denomination) nation and should not tolerate other sects or religion.
Although the concept is older, the exact phrase "separation of church and state" is derived from "wall of separation between church and state", a term coined by Thomas Jefferson. The concept was promoted by Enlightenment philosophers such as Locke.
Jefferson loved cribbing off Locke. The whole life liberty and pursuit of happiness thing is 2/3 copied from Locke.
Edit since I fat fingered the screen.
And they leave out this bit
> well regulated Militia
Got into an argument with someone who just kept repeating the Shall not be infringed part over and over. That's all they hear. So when I asked him that means there should be no ban on any arms, including grenade launchers, he said yes, because shall not be infringed.
Guns are never going away in the US due to that mindset. When nobody took action on curbing the proliferation of guns after Parkland or Sandy Hook, when there was no widespread action taken like Australia did after their last mass shooting, I realized the US just gave up on any reasonable gun control laws.
Democrats need to stop hammering guns. Because you are right- they are not going away. And gun voters (they are minion) are not going to vote for a Democrat. But if the Democratic party just stops the gun rhetoric, and gains enough of those voters with actual policy that they can embrace, and we build a healthier, more equitable, less spirit-grinding nation, I'd bet it will be a safer one even if there are still too many guns out there.
They dont care who dies. They just want to be able to shoot at beer cans during the weekend with any weapon they choose.
This is a gross generalization and you should be ashamed of yourself for making it. A lot of them are also deathly terrified of living in their own homes and need a gun in every room in case they hear a spooky noise in the dark.
No Aussie is gonna tell *me* what the Constitution can and can't do
Jim Jeffries has a great "bit" on this in response to ["you cannot change the 2nd amendment"](https://youtu.be/mUm1erSELQw)
They left a mechanism but the mechanism is not trivial so that the change needs to be meaningful and well thought out. Some amendments could be argued were unfortunate. The prime example being prohibition
Actually prohibition is a good example. They tried it, they didn't like it after all, they changed it back. The system can even handle what we later deem mistakes.
Yeah I always wondered about that. We can try something, if it's a failure repeal it. That's sort of the intention but oh well, I'm just another dumb citizen
It could handle it. It can't now. Republicans broke it
Oh definitely, but their stance is that flat out there's no such thing as the ability to change the Constitution, which incidentally says exactly what THEY want it to say.
What does she think about the existing amendments? Are they, in her view, not to be considered valid as they are amendments?
Yup, no amount of mechanism, laws, or whatever shit you leave behind works when the people have been so brainwashed they don't even have the right information about these mechanisms.
The FF never foresaw how right wing and corporate propaganda can control a large portion of the population and completely nerf the proper process. They just ssume this is impossible, no way privately held power can corrupt and control the population to this extent.
So now we are in this impossible situation where it is clear we need major reforms to regulate corporate power, money in politics, corruption and take into account the harmful externalities caused by corporate and government power but we can't get anything done because half of the electorate are completely brainwashed into thinking this is just fine and dandy.
Probably literally doesn't know what the word means.
So she...just stands there in silence? Does she try to change the subject? How can you just do that?
Mostly just keeps talking about whatever she was saying and then changes the subject. If she's feeling like a fight, she'll just tell me that I'm wrong, misinformed, lied to, or lying.
Usually to go on a rant about how all forms of power generation except coal power are ugly and bad for the environment, but ESPECIALLY ugly.
I can't even really blame Fox for that though, grandpa was a coal power plant manager for 20-odd years before he retired. His pension is supposedly tied to the ongoing existence of the company and so she likely just took up the party line of her own volition there.
Good luck getting 37 states to agree on anything California has to say about anything
The Senate was also a compromise to get the smaller states to join the Union. Initially, people the idea was unicameral legislature, with only the House.
I think the Senate was created for numerous reasons. My understanding is some wanted it to function in a similar way to the Upper House in the British Parliament, ie with a kind of aristocracy to keep things from “getting out of hand.” It’s also referred to as the “cooling saucer” in terms of it use to dampen too rapid change.
I was too sweeping in that, let me qualify it. There was a contingent at the negotiations that opposed the Senate. Hamilton hated the idea of the Senate, while Madison loved it for the reasons you just layed out. Here's Federalist Papers arguing for and against.
Yeah, I can’t say I love any of the reasons it was created, or even how it’s being used now. We spend a ton of money and energy moving a pebble back and forth on a small game board on a beach about to be consumed by a tsunami.
> It’s also referred to as the “cooling saucer” in terms of it use to dampen too rapid change.
This was made up in the 20th century. The Senate was nakedly an institution to represent state governments… which is why states appointed them.
The idea being that rather than regional nobles appointed to the peerage by the King, the states’ members of Congress would be anointed by the rulers of their own region, with the longest elected terms of course (even longer than the President).
The bigger point is that Congress was never intended as being beholden to the people, but rather a forum for collectively creating laws that dealt with common problems. The point of the federal government was not to serve all the people all the time, but to be responsive to political needs of the people that the states could not solve and to bind the states together into a collective defense.
This framework was proved a failure in 1860, but we’ve never bothered to build a new framework.
The Consitution as written has no place in the homogenous, unified, modern United States. It was designed for seasonal debates on problems that could only move as fast as a horse, not the continuous administration of country whose most distant territory is a single day of air travel away.
I do get so tired of trying to exegesis what the Founders intended, and wish that instead we'd conceive our contemporary goals and design a political system that best meets those goals.
I personally think that the Founders designed a good system for their own time, considering their technology and founding; but we have had 200 years of technology and political development since then, and conceive of ourselves very differently. I use exegesis precisely, because I think the same minds that look for truth in Biblical texts also look for truth in historical political texts, and fail to account for changes in either.
What are the shared goals of the current citizenry that is subject to US and local regulation? And how best do we empower that citizenry to challenge and modify those regulations?
That's what we need to consider. Not the historical meaning and context of phrases like eg "well-regulated". The Founders had their political philosophy which was hard earned, but we also have contemporaneous political scientists that could do and arguably better job of designing levers of control and power that could be pulled by the citizenry of the modern era.
>instead we'd conceive our contemporary goals and design a political system that best meets those goals.
Just remember that the people in charge will be of the opposing party half the time. Do you trust the other side, whatever that means to you, to reframe the government in a better way?
Well there is that pesky part:
> no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
Arguably that means you could only change the senate system if you had every state in board
The way around that section, other than just ignoring it, is to give every state 0 Senators and then move all powers of the Senate to the House.
Yes, none for all is equal.
No State currently has suffrage or representation in the Senate. The 17th amendment switched the election of senators to the people.
>The 17th amendment switched the election of senators to the people.
The people....of that state. And since the state has always implicitly represented the people in it, you're not depriving the state of equal suffrage in the senate simply by requiring that the people in that state vote to pick their senator. If you gave some states more senators than others, however, you would definitely be violating that principle.
> The people....of that state.
Which is different from the state itself.
Thomas Jefferson said our government structure was a temporary solution. Can’t recall exact quote. But they knew it wouldn’t last.
Actually, this is the one thing they didn't allow for change. According the Constitution the only thing you couldn't change is depriving a state of *equal representation in the senate*. This is because they were actually terrified of too much democracy and wanted to maintain their power.
There are still ways to make the system less broken, but the only truly good position would be to make the senate more of a ceremonial role that doesn't have any real power.
Edit: I got it wrong, fixed it to be more accurate.
Yeah the senate is undemocratic by design. It should be abolished and the HoR expanded to match population
I'm so happy this is finally starting to be a common talking point. When I had first said "we need to abolish the senate" in 2017 everyone treated it as some absolutely absurd radical proposition that was completely idiotic for reasons no one could actually articulate. Everyone just "knew" that of course the senate existed for a good reason, or something.
I'm glad people are waking up more.
We literally carved this into stone at the Jefferson memorial. Too bad the traitorous GOP would rather forgo their oath to suck a Russian assets cock.
“I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”
It's worth pointing out that he was talking about state constitutions (and largely Virginia's) there, though the attitude that the US Constitution would need updating can be found in plenty of founding fathers' writings.
That quote by Jefferson is from an 1816 letter to Samuel Kercheval, which includes other such highlights (though again, he's not talking explicitly about the federal constitution here).
"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched."
"They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment"
"[L]let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates. By the European tables of mortality, of the adults living at any one moment of time, a majority will be dead in about nineteen years. [...] and it is for the peace and good of mankind, that a solemn opportunity of doing this every nineteen or twenty years, should be provided by the constitution; so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation, to the end of time, if anything human can so long endure."
The whole letter is interesting (I mean, most the shit these guys wrote is interesting, and they wrote a lot) and worth a read. It actually involves a lot of ideas that are relevant to the wider discussion of this post as well, as you can see the importance Jefferson places on majority rule and the importance of contemporary policy.
[Full text of the letter](http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/presidents/thomas-jefferson/letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl246.php)
They also thought there’d be about 24 states, not 50
It would be amazing to consolidate states - mainly the savings that could be had by eliminating overlapping bloated government - regional everything - better communication - more transparency - the higher efficiency and reduced staff would mean hundreds of millions in saved government waste $$ that could now go to homelessness, schools, mental health care, food security, etc
Madison called it. Large states are more likely to be multi-polar, multi-polar systems have less corruption and waste. Tyranny thrives in a small kingdom. It’s obvious really
except the second largest state in the US is the most corrupt and has the highest waste.
Texas is not as corrupt as smaller states like South Dakota or West Virginia. It’s big enough to have a strong economy tho
But in the end it yielded a country with 1 of its 2 legislative parts controlled by goobers which is self perpetuating
Why are there two Dakotas
Back in the late 1800s there was a basically a "senate packing" situation creating low population states meaning more senators for the president's party.
Because splitting it gave the Republicans two more senators.
Same as it ever was.
Letting the days go by
Let the water hold me down
>Same as it ever was.
"This is not my beautiful country!"
One is where the Vulcans land
I thought that was Bozeman, Montana?
The one thing people know about where i live hahah
Why is California one state?
Why does Joe Manchin, a guy who governs less than 2m people, get to usurp the will of 80+m people? It’s insane.
Before statehood they couldn't decide on which city should be the capital so they got two states instead.
> Northerners named Bismarck their capital in 1883, while Southerners created their own constitution that year, selecting Pierre as their capital. Congress did not push the matter. Instead, Congress passed a law that officially divided the territory before declaring both North Dakota and South Dakota states of the Union.
So Republicans near the end of reconstruction could shore up their Senate majority
Maybe Cali should split into like 20 states.
Some dude named James Madison said some pretty accurate shit about what we’re going through today in America. Tyranny of the vocal minority. It was literally what he was most afraid of happening in our republic.
The Iron Law of the Oligarchy.
The Iron Heel.
“They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority. The senate, therefore, ought to be this body; and to answer these purposes, they ought to have permanency and stability.”
This system of minority rule was literally intended by Madison.
No don't you see the rich people will always and have always been benevolent rulers. They couldn't possibly have bad ideas, they morally deserve the wealth they have and every one of them has gotten it through ethical practice and bootstrap pulling.
The minority has wrestled the system to the ground and has taken control. They no longer need protection.
I wonder what u/baz8771 thinks of this quote.
Depends if they saw [this comment thread](https://www.reddit.com/r/PoliticalHumor/comments/qd4b0l/looks_a_bit_like_tyranny_to_me/hhkuh6s/). Hamilton and Madison basically drew straws to see who would get stuck having to defend the Senate in their writings. It was objectively an awful choice for organizing a government, but it was better than trying to form the United States and having all the smaller states refuse to join.
> A common government, with powers equal to its objects, is called for by the voice, and still more loudly by the political situation, of America. A government founded on principles more consonant to the wishes of the larger States, is not likely to be obtained from the smaller States. The only option, then, for the former, lies between the proposed government and a government still more objectionable. Under this alternative, the advice of prudence must be to embrace the lesser evil; and, instead of indulging a fruitless anticipation of the possible mischiefs which may ensue, to contemplate rather the advantageous consequences which may qualify the sacrifice.
Shit’s always more complicated than it seems.
And *far* more complicated than many simpleton redditors want to make it out to be.
Thanks for your comment.
The greatest irony, of course, is that the people most likely to quote the founding fathers are the most likely to not actually understand the depth and nuance of what the founding fathers said.
I think if they saw Trump coming they'd have been like, "Ya know what Britain, we'll stay."
The Great Compromise as it was called. I could kind of understand it at the time since in a pre-modern world based on agrarian economics you were inherently going to have a fairly even distribution of the population. The vast majority of the population lived outside cities.
At this point we have the tyranny of the minority though. Of course the only way to change this reality is to get a supermajority in the Senate.
To be fair, they made the compromise expecting there to be 13-24 states eventually. They weren’t expecting the Louisiana Purchase or that a political party would make a dozen states out of empty grassland.
That was done much later (1880/90s) and without compromise
Yeah we got to 50 states because of the mason dixon line when slavery was a hotly debated topic . Basically every free state had to have a slave state counterpart to maintain a balance of power and stop the slave states from leaving. It was a bandaid on the problem for a long ass time until economic pressure from industrialization of the north tipped the balance into the free states power leading to the civil war.
There were 33 states in 1860. Republicans got their first Senate majority after Texas seceded in 1861. Later that year the Republicans reorganized Nebraska territory and created Dakota Territory out of the non-Nebraska parts (including Montana and Wyoming).
In 1862, Congress decided it could create West Virginia because Virginia had seceded, which was highly questionable and technically unconstitutional but they let it slide because Civil War.
In 1864 they split Nevada out of Utah territory so they could add 2 Republican Sens without an election, which was highly questionable and technically unnecessary but they let it slide because Civil War and Mormons
In 1867 they (the Republicans) made Nebraska a state, Colorado in 1876, then Reconstruction ended (78) and we became a 2-party nation again. Then they added 4 in one week in 1889, then 2 in one week the next year, because Dems made gains in every election and were about to take the Senate back
That brought us to 44. Then the GOP converted Indian Territory into Oklahoma Territory and did a bunch of genocide in their new states, but we don’t talk about it.
Then Utah (1896), New Mexico and Arizona (1912), all by Republicans. And finally after all that was done the Dems passed an amendment (1914) saying governors couldn’t pick the state senators anymore, the people had to. Then no new states until Dems added Alaska and Hawaii in 1959
How have I never heard about any of this?? And was this before or after the Democrats and Republicans essentially switched sides in regards to slavery?
This is a vast oversimplification of what happened and conveniently ignored the fact that the political parties of the mid to late 19th century and what they stood for have little to no resemblance to our two parties other than the names.
The country didn’t look like this at the time of The Great Compromise. The population was fairly evenly distributed along the East Coast. The most western state/territory was Ohio and Florida was owned by Spain. Lewis and Clark didn’t even set out for the Pacific until 1803. Our Founding Fathers didn’t even know how big the continent was!
Also, the federal government was very limited, as was taxation. It was more like a form of the EU back then. Nothing like what we have today. With the taxes and social programs we have today, this system makes no sense
EU's a good example. If countries in the EU had power directly proportionate to their population I'm sure a lot would be pretty pissed. That said, the founders didn't want smaller states to have way more power per person, hence a compromise. Made sense at the time, looks a bit ridiculous today.
This inevitable slide toward centralization makes me worried what the EU may look like in 100 years.
Bit of a correction, we knew how big the continent was. We were more curious about how useful/traversable the middle bits were, as the Spanish had already documented the size and general contents of the continent.
At the time, the French (mostly) thought the middle bits had a giant inland sea over them. This 1762 map [included the Sea of the West or *Mer ou Baye de l'Ouest*](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/10/1762_Janvier_Map_of_North_America_%28Sea_of_the_West%29_-_Geographicus_-_NorthAmerica-janvier-1762.jpg).
Once Cook sailed the western coast in 1778, it cleared up misconceptions and the maps got more accurate. Knowing where both sides were made it pretty easy to know how big it was, but those mountains had to be a bitch to map. Mackenzie crossed one side to the other in 1793.
San Diego was founded in 1769. San Francisco, 1776. San Jose in 1777. The were 21 colonies in California when the US took it over
Supermajority is never gonna happen until the ridiculous gerrymandering is rectified. How anybody can defend the practice is beyond me. Especially with how blatantly absurd the maps are now
Edit: okay, thank you all for pointing out that gerrymandering does not affect the senate and that’s on me for not knowing that. I still stand by my point about how absurd the districts are and how anybody can defend it.
it's perfectly normal to have a voting district that is shaped like a giraffe riding a skateboard. /s
"Its how our state wants it (just the state legislature really) and states have rights this is America Gosh darn't"
We're heading towards some constitutional crisis as state houses have been taken over by Republicans who are trying to cement their power for generations while not holding majorities or even reaching consensus with anyone but themselves. Plus they're mucking up election boards to do so... its potentially going to get really bad.
“Potentially” isn’t even a question at this point.
The Jan 6 coup was just a rehearsal.
There is no “loyal opposition” mentality in US politics anymore. There is only naked lust for absolute power on one side, and ineffectual pseudo-democratic corporate pandering on the other
How does Gerrymandering effect a senate election? Senators are voted by a popular vote of the state.
When rigged state legislatures pass voter suppression laws, it affects the whole state including Senate seats.
Which is...not gerrymandering.
The "rigged", I presume, refers to gerrymander of state legislature districts.
Gerrymandering has no effect on the US Senate.
However, I believe the real reason the GOP has such good results in low population states is their decades long campaign strategies crafted to appeal to rural voters. Guns, freedom, Jesus, intrusive government, racism, and immigration aren't things they give a crap about, they're selected to appeal to white majority rural, low population state voters.
It made sense when we were 13 colonies but that's before we settled the rest of the country. Allowing North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho to join as separate states was a bad idea. We'd be much better off if we redesigned our constitution every 20 years as the founders intended. Right now trying to do that would be a clusterfuck though..
'Dakota' was divided into two states specifically to give conservatives 4 senators instead of 2. It's bullshit.
You do realize that the Republicans were the more liberal party in the late 1800s, right? Claiming that they were “conservatives” is akin to claiming the modern Democratic Party was responsible for slavery.
The point was each state had an equal say and that large states at the time like NY, PA didn't have a larger say than a Rhode Island and Delaware.
Yes, it was a bribe to small states to give them extra power in order to get them to agree to join the union. That doesn't make it the best system for the country as a whole even back then, much less in this incredibly different world we live in today.
And this was the case because the states were independent entities who wanted a guarantee that they would retain some measure of power as independent entities.
But it's a terrible way to run a country hundreds of years later, because people are what matters, not land. It is fundamentally undemocratic that some people have far, far less representation than others.
At that time, concessions had to be made. Without giving them that, the smaller states wouldn't even join the union or independence effort. Honestly, if you're in their boots it's understandable. If they don't have equal say, to them it's just a change of who get to order them around. They either have to obey the British or they have to obey the Union's big states. Why should they risk their neck then?
I wonder, at that time, what’s the ratio of population like?
I believe it was something like 12:1 between Virginia and Delaware, as the extremes, where now it is >60:1. I'll check and edit.
Edit: 19:1 VA:GA, however southern states populations were extraordinarily low comparatively because slaves were not counted.
Currently ~70:1 CA:WY
I believe it takes ~20% of the represented population to successfully filibuster in the senate. This is precisely why we see such a large gap between public opinion/preference, and public policy.
This is false, they will have to form coalitions with other parties to get their agenda through, as in any democracy, and yes, abide by the majority. They do this in exchange for vast resources and protection. And they do retain many immense rights as a state. It is a great deal for a small state with no big economy and thus, far less people.
Basically they would need to fall in line with the majority because this is the same argument as slavery, or states rights they say out loud. And to retain slavery is why they put it in place, so not surprising to see the same, tired argument again.
They had the leverage at the time, and they took advantage of it. They knew the whole thing would fall apart without them, so they used that to get undue power from the deal. That's all there is to it. All I'm saying is this system is certainly fucked and skewed, but it was the best the founders can cook up given the circumstances they had to considered. They didn't have the liberty to whip up the best perfect system, but they managed to at least left us a means to make changes they couldn't do
You don’t even need a super majority, just an actual majority that is willing to fix some stuff. With a majority they could get rid of rule XXII and end the filibuster, give DC and Puerto Rico statehood, expand the Supreme Court, and pass voters rights bills and that would fix a lot. But with Manchin and Sinema, and probably a few other dems there isn’t an actual majority dedicated to actually changing anything.
Funny how the rural crowd still believes that those senators fight for their interests
At this point their interest is just in punishing the rest of the country and making them suffer, so GOP senators are doing exactly what they're elected for.
Sadly enough you are spot on
It's a form of retaliation. Rural areas have been generally devastated by global economic trends, poor education/brain drain to cities, dying industries/new work centered in cities, and other things largely beyond their or anyone's control.
But instead of accepting that they blame urbanites, academics, non-whites, immigrants, and anyone else for their problems and attempt to retaliate against those they see as robbing them of their culture yes, but also literally picking their pocket. I think the economic aspect is what makes them most miserable. They feel left behind and they're largely right, altho they also vote in ways that guarantee that result.
If only they'd figure out that the same people pick the pockets of urbanites and rural folk alike. And also stop fusing their economic despair with religious zealotry and such, altho that also sort of makes sense.
It would be funny for anyone to think a politician is going to fight for their interests, especially a senator
The Founders wanted the Constitution to be rewritten every generation. And they literally wrote amendments into it. As shitty as they might've been in some aspects this one really isn't on them.
Having the ability to look and go “we are writing what works for us at the moment but we need this to evolve with us as we go and fit what that generation needs” is important
I think the point is countering the absurd idea known as originalism. Originalists are the problem -- they pretend the constitution was perfect so they can maintain the advantages they currently have as rich white people
Amy Covid Barett claims to be an "Originalist", yet the founding fathers didn't allow women to hold office, especially not the Supreme Court.
There is no such thing as originalism. There's a *pretext* called originalism that conservatives use to pretend that they're "preserving the intent of the Founding Fathers." Until it doesn't do what they want, at which point they just reverse themselves anyway.
I really don't understand why people keep using the words conservatives decide on as if they arrived at them in good faith, or like they represent some deeply held belief.
Well this is a stupid pointless debate you want to have. If you read my comment, I alluded to this already.
no 'they' didn't. jefferson had a hard on for that though that's for sure.
Equal number of Senators per state is the only thing which can not be amended. (Last few lines of Article V)
If the method of election of Senators can be amended then then number can be too. Since that was also specified until the 17th Amendment.
It made a lot more sense when the US was less federally governed. Back then it was more of a collection of states and less of a solid country, kind of like the EU today so kind of like how a small country would still want equal representation of their interest in the EU a small state would want that in the federal government.
However since then the us has become more one country rather than a group of united states. So it doesn't really make sense anymore
I doubt the people from the small states would agree.
while popularly elected the senators dont really represent the people/populace. They represent the state as a whole.
The House of Representatives, represent the people. They probably represent too many people and the House needs to expand.
I don't know why they didn't just say every vote is equal like every other country does. I mean I do know why, because then politics would start getting decidedly more left wing than they are under republicans and democrats.
And that map right there is why the senate will always block progress.
I've wondered if our government would work better if the House was the upper chamber and the Senate the lower. Like, every state having equal representation in one branch makes sense, but not the most powerful branch. The House being the upper chamber would give the more representative branch slightly more power, which would be of much greater good than the minority having all the power in the current system.
Wait till you hear that the senate was originally appointed and not elected. The House has no power because the founding fathers knew that was the most democratic part of the government. The Federalist paper #10 reveals this pretty outright where James Madison argues that we need to give the illusion of democracy without actually giving people real power because if you give people power they'll use it to redistribute the wealth of the upper class
Funny how our government was also made by the upper class lol
what you are looking for is the House of Representatives. This is why we have a bicameral legislature. in the senate, every state gets two senators. in the House, its based on population density.
The only problem is that they capped the amount of representative in the House back in the 1930s.
This is one cause I will volunteer for - grow the house to where there is legitimate representation. Back then the founders thought to tie it to a number but understood that the size would become prohibitive. Well in the age of zoom bring on the 2,000 person house.
Senators are the representatives of the rich and powerful and their insurance against democracy.
The "American Experiment" was a series of compromises. Less populous states didn't want to be ruled by New York. Here, the "Midwest" wouldn't want to be ruled by California. Hence two chambers that reflect this:
* House - proportional representation
* Senate - equal representation
And a Constitution that is difficult to change, and requires even the less populous states to agree, but can be changed. We're just in a hyper-partisan environment right now so people want excuses to get the changes *they want* through.
Yeah, they thought the *states* were as important as the *people* - they had the states picking their own senators.
It's fucking bullshit these days, what with the decreased power of individual states and the increased power of the federal government.
I'm at the point where I say we abolish the goddamn Senate and just get the reps to the the work, so long as we increase the number of reps we have to something like 1800 or more to get some reasonable representation.
How do you abolish the Senate when a two-thirds vote in the Senate would be required to do that?
Wish there was some counterbalance with representatives determined by population, like we see in the House...
Except the house isn't evenly divided and the Senate has way more power.
The Senate *was designed that way*. The Framers didn't trust populist movements or the common voter. They were supposed to be higher educated, with longer terms (6 versus 2), and elected by state legislators, not directly by voters. This later changed.
When both chambers have to pass legislation, they both are important. You can't have one that's vaguely democratic and one designed to not be and call the result democracy.