Tuesday, 28 November 2017

The Rural versus Urban Senator Topic

The Wall Street Journal wrote up a piece yesterday to stir 'the pot' over representation and fairness within the Senate....which got two public comments tossed out:

"By 2040, about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states. They will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them."

-- Kyle Griffin


"This is the core threat to our democracy. The rural minority -- the people @JYSexton just wrote a long thread about -- have and will continue to have disproportionate power over the urban majority."

-- Joy Reid

In this case, Griffin and Reid have spent almost no time looking at history and how the Constitution pieced together the US government.

If you go back to the original thirteen states and review the 26 Senators in place....there's an unfairness built into the system on day one.

The 1790 Census shows the general population of the US, which includes free-men and slaves:

Virginia: 747,000
Maryland: 319,000
North Carolina: 393,000
Vermont: 85,000
New Hampshire: 141,000
New York: 340,000
Georgia: 82,000
Maine: 96,000
Rhode Island: 69,000
Massachusetts: 378,000
Connecticut: 237,000
Delaware: 59,000
Kentucky: 73,000
New Jersey: 184,000
Pennsylvania: 434,000

That adds up to 4,893,000 total.  You can subtract approximately 694,000 as slaves, if you desire.

So talk fairness.  In 1790, there are five states with 300,000 or more, and there are ten others with a population of 200,000 or less.  In fact, Delaware has barely 59,000.

One might go to both Reid and Griffin....to ask what exactly do you want to do?  Redesign the states to be a particular size each?  Do you want to force large segments of the population to move into Utah and Montana....to even things out?  Do you want to give an extra Senator to highly urbanized states?

For that matter, what is a highly urbanized state?  Once you get beyond the New York City limits....it's a fairly rural state.  Once you drive past the city limits of Chicago....Illinois is a fairly rural and non-metropolitan state.  Once you exit Detroit.....well, there's just not much of an urban nature to talk about. Go discuss Atlanta and draw the 30-mile circle....what you find outside of the circle is a very rural state. 

Then you have this funny factor.....large urban cities to some degree are dying or getting less popular.  A lot of people work now in urban areas, but drive an hour to live in lesser urbanized areas.

The original thought by the Constitution guys...was that Senators were going to be wise older men, and advise the President.  Where did they get the idea?  Oh my...that would require pulling out Roman history and discovering that virtually everyone had a grasp of Rome, the Empire and how things worked there.  Go ask high school kids how much Roman history they get today.  Ask Reid and Griffin what they know about Rome. It'll likely be two 3x5 cards of information. 

I can see this label coming in the future....rural-Senator or urban-Senator.

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