Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2021/02/18/what-about-eliminating-senate-altogether
Yes the Senate should be abolished! Many in these comment threads have been advocating this for a long time. Thanks for outlining some specific reasons, like treaties, that i have not seen come up here before.
No way, keep the Senate, screw globalization. and stop engineering consent. Have we learned nothing?
Stop expanding the powers of the president with fiat capabilities before we get to dictatorship.
Abolishing, necessitating a Constitutional amendment, is highly unlikely. But the Senate could adopt a rule that would preserve one-member one-vote, but allocate the value of those votes by population of the respective state. Certainly there would be challenges to such a move (re. interpretation of the Constitutional establishment rules of the Senate) but the courts are likely to defer to the Senate to interpret its own rules. Proportional voting would solve 90% of the issues raised, and preserve the somewhat valuable at-large representation that the state-wide elections of Senators provides (valuable for Blue states, anyway.)
What About Eliminating the Senate Altogether?
Gee, why on Earth would anyone want to do away with a group of 100 entitled elites that think themselves above reproach?
Only if this group of politicians were open to the introduction of at least 2 or 3 “new” political parties not beholding to the Corporations, should they be allowed to continue to exist.
That goes the same with the House.
Much more representation of the masses must be initiated.
Restructuring representation of the people is the first step towards a more democratic system. Of course there is no need, at all, for a senate and a house. But that would not be enough. Put term limits too, and have a better ratio of people to elected representative, etc. etc. And do away with electoral college, etc. etc. And allow 3rd, 4th parties, etc. etc.
So, while this title asks a catchy question, its answer (yes eliminate it) is just a small part of a bigger issue - which is concentration of power in very very few hands. It also bothers me that this author takes all his examples from one wing of the duopoly - which is in total unison agreement when passing the likes of military and surveillance budgets.
“Plenty of these unicameral systems are democratic including Costa Rica, Denmark, Greece, South Korea, New Zealand, and Norway.”
All unitary states. Abolish the States and the main reason for having a ‘Senate’ is gone.
At least rationalizing the number of states might be a beginning. A reduction to ten states with populations of around 30 million and 10 senators each (elected by proportional representation) could inject a bit more ‘democracy’ into one of the world’s more retarded attempts at it.
We the people must be the Senate.
Get rid of the Senate? Well, why not? It´s quite a redundancy after all and serves the nation not, as this writing shows. So thank you, John Feffer.
One little matter: with respect, Colerige´s poem is entitled “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
Change the formulation of the Senate to be based on population by a Constitutional amendment…LOL
Make no mistake, the destruction of the planet due to global warming is due to the Republicans in the Senate and no one else.
I have been one of those in the past, debating to keep the Senate, to maintain fairness to the smaller states voters and not allow the majority to run roughshod over the minority. I now believe I was wrong. As the author pointed out, we now have the minority (smaller states) running roughshod over the majority. The Senate has created disfunction, and stopped the ability of our government to serve the people in any way, and does need to be abolished. Though I will admit, these are dangerous times to attempt a rewrite of the Constitution.
Good idea, not going to happen. In the meantime DC and Puerto Rico should become states. Give the Repubs a taste of their own medicine. How about the US Virgin Islands too. Six Senators for not so white states.
When branches of government are intentionally being “weaponized” to create hateful and destructive inaction, we are well on our way to dangerous times.
We must create solutions, not more obstacles.
The senate screws up. But you can as easily say the same for the House, it’s hard to not say it about the presidency, and there’s not much nice to say about the majority of the Supreme Court.
If we talk about eliminating parts of government, we had better talk about structural elements and what we are eliminating. There are values to Constitutionally imposed checks and balances that do not derive from the idea that our representatives are honest do-gooders, but from the often-tried observation that they are not.
No. Keep the filibuster. Keep the checks and balances, and let’s look at adding new ones. Fire the senators.
And let’s kill some treaties. How much bad has NATO done over the last 70-odd years? Why can’t we bury NAFTA? And let’s be sure that the TPP does not come snaking its scaly hand out of some graveyard or another, in this guise or that.
Maybe we need a second senate, and even a spare House.
6% of the U.S. adults could control the Senate and overrule the 94% using the Filibuster – means that 41 Senators from 21 states could control the Senate, not 51. The least populous 21 states, with 36 million or 11% of the population, could in theory control Congress. The least populous 21 states contain 11% of the population, 36 million people, therefore a bare minority of 6% of the population (who perhaps believe in installing a dictator who overturns the popular vote in a presidential election) could control everything. And even without the filibuster, it is not democratic. And money buys elections. So where would the smart money go in order to control everything? It’s not quite that simple or easy, but it is the basic status quo of reality for today. Abolishing the Senate is needed. Only the richest minority would object. Then we could pass a wealth tax. And we should.
My comment wasn’t meant to be an obstacle, just an observation, with the country split with almost half siding with fascism, a Constitution rewrite could easily go in a really bad direction right now.
I didn’t say that your comment was an obstacle ReconFire.
I said our Senate is there to create solutions, not obstacles.
I’m sorry I didn’t make that clearer.
The original US Constitution rigged the Senate from the word GO. Each state gets two ??? Until 1913 Senators were selected behind closed doors in smoke filled rooms by each State’s party hacks…
The United States Senate looks at basically nothing but itself. It has nothing to with representative democracy. Memories of what it was back in the 1960’s when it stalled on civil rights were enough for a lot of us to figure out what it was. Eliminating it is the wish of millions of Americans like myself who truly despise what it is are not going to go away.