Interestingly enough, the idea that the Senate composition (2 senators from every state regardless of size) over represents most of the smaller, less populous states is an idea on which D-bro D, the gun-totting, Democrat-hating side of the family tree, and I can agree. As Smith opines,
The routine use of the filibuster as a matter of everyday politics has transformed the Senate’s legislative process from majority rule into minority tyranny. Leaving party affiliation aside, it is now possible for the senators representing the 34 million people who live in the 21 least populous states — a little more than 11 percent of the nation’s population — to nullify the wishes of the representatives of the remaining 88 percent of Americans.I couldn't have said it better myself, but let's do look at those numbers a little closer. We are talking about the representatives of 34 million people subverting the will of the remaining 270 million Americans. Hardly fair. Hardly prudent. Shouldn't be legal. The most amazing thing to me is that they are able to do it through the manipulation of 41 men.
The Senate adopted Rule 22 to permit cloture to be imposed (limiting debate) if two-thirds of the Senate agreed. ...But invoking cloture proved difficult....In 1975, Rule 22 was amended to allow 60 senators, three-fifths of the Senate, to close off debate. The results have been better, but not markedly so. In the 108th Congress (2003-2004), cloture was attempted 49 times and was successful only12. What is more disheartening is the growing frequency with which the filibuster has been resorted to.
Nevertheless, the use of the filibuster as an everyday tool of legislation stands the idea of democratic government on its head. Instead of majority rule in the Senate, the tyranny of the minority prevails.
In the great legislative reapportionment cases of the 1960s, the Supreme Court defined democratic government as majority rule based on the principle of one person, one vote. It is time to apply that standard to the Senate.
It is a sad day when a simple majority isn't required to forward the will of the people, but when the minority group must be silenced for the real work of America to move forward. What the Senate has created are conditions in which no dissenting opinion can be tolerated lest nothing get done. D-fav J is a fan of greater representation for minority opinions, and on this issue I think I can see his point. If minority opinion were diluted, we could count on less of a unified minority voting block to undermine important, well-supported legislation. At least on a day-to-day basis. I could envision times (stimulus, budget, etc.) when it might serve the interests of the minority leaders to vote as a block so that their interests were taken into consideration, but the vast majority of legislation wouldn't be at a standstill by a minority voting in lockstep with one another.
It is time our elected officials actually represented the people who elected them. And while the people who elected them DO want their individual interests represented in government, they do not want it (I tend to think) to stop government from functioning. It seems to me Congress hasn't gotten the message. They are in "my way or the highway" mode and can't get out. Any thoughts?