Editorial Article

Is It a Flaw in the Constitution? Fifty Senators Represent Less Than 17% of Total U.S. Population

By Tarek Lucien Radjef.

The smallest state, Wyoming has 600,000 people. Kentucky is the 25th smallest with 4.5 million Kentuckians. The total population from 1-25 is 53 million. These states are listed at the bottom of the article. The total U.S. population, including territories is about 330 million.

Senators have equal power in their Chamber. This means that when Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California vote,representing 40 million peopleit can be nullified by Mike Enzi and Jim Barrasso of Wyoming who have a constituency of 600,000.

A look at the current Senate representation of the 25 small states yields 29 Republicans, 19 Democrats and two Independents. 

We can easily argue that fair representation in the U.S. Senate does not exist for the 277 million Americans who live in the 25 most populated states.

Amazingly enough, Texas has an extremely fair Senate districts allocation. There are 31 Senate Districts. The boundaries have been determined by grouping populations of approximately 811,000 (806K based on 2010 Census) per constituency, thus insuring that each Texan is equally represented by a State Senator.

The Constitution is unlikely to be changed in this century. I believe the DNC should develop a strategy specially targeted at small states to elect Democratic Senators. The numbers of votes needed to switch are much smaller than in bigger states like Texas.

Note: The 25 (smallest first with senators affiliation): WY(2R),VT(1D 1I), AK(2R), ND(2R), SD(2R), DE(2D), RI(2D), MT(1D 1R), ME(1R 1I), NH(2D), HI(2D), ID(2R), WV(1D 1R), NE(2R), NM(2D), KS(2R), MS(2R), AR(2R), NV(2D), IA(2R), UT(2R), CT(2D), OK(2R), OR(2D), KY(2R)

Comments 1

  1. Equal suffrage of states in the Senate is not a defect in the Constitution, it is a deliberate feature, and it is the only part of the Constitution that effectively cannot be amended (see the last clause of Article V). In Baker v. Carr, the Supreme Court ruled that localities do not have the same degree of sovereignty relative to the state that states have relative to the nation. That is why the Texas State Senate is proportional. Baker v. Carr forced the Texas Senate to become so.

    However, there are flaws in statutory law that are worth noting and which, in my opinion, violate Amendment XIV, Section 2 [clause 1]. Statutory law limits the U.S. House of Representatives, to 435 members. Wyoming, the least populous state, has 600,000 inhabitants. California, the most populous, has 40,000,000 inhabitants, 66 times as many as Wyoming. Yet California has only 52 representatives. The 435 limit and the statutory process by which the Census Bureau apportions representatives create this imbalance and injustice to the more populous states. Combined with gerrymandering, this gives Republicans an unjust advantage in the House. If these statutes were changed, the House would have 550 members, and would be more truly representative.

    If these changes were made, the electoral college would also be more representative. It they were combined with proportional assignment of electors, conflicts between electoral counts and popular counts in presidential elections would become far less likely. The 13 smallest states can block any attempt at constitutional excision of the electoral college. Legislative reform of the electoral college and congressional representation, is far more doable than constitutional surgery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *