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Quick Thought: Replace Senate with State's votes.

Chacham (981) writes | more than 10 years ago

User Journal 21

Trash the Senate, replace with one vote per state, voted on by the state's legislature.

Just a thought.

Trash the Senate, replace with one vote per state, voted on by the state's legislature.

Just a thought.

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21 comments

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I think that would work (1)

On Lawn (1073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9792935)

I like it. Have the house be the one to write up all the bills and do all the haggling over wording. Then state legislatures act as a kind of veto before the President gets it. I think it would make congress move smoother while protectings its keen ability to do nothing at all.

Re:I think that would work (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9792972)

while protectings its keen ability to do nothing at all.

That is certainly part of it. It would also protects state's interests, and keep the Senate from dealing with anything that was simply not a national issue, as the states themselves would want to keep it for themselves.

Re:I think that would work (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793484)

I like it. Have the house be the one to write up all the bills and do all the haggling over wording. Then state legislatures act as a kind of veto before the President gets it. I think it would make congress move smoother while protectings its keen ability to do nothing at all.

That sounds good. I suspect it's just about the result originally intended, except when the Constitution was written just notifying each legislature and awaiting their vote would have added days of delay, making negotiations very awkward. These days, of course, draft bills and votes could be faxed or e-mailled back and forwards in seconds.

As Chacham says below, this should also push the federal government back out of local matters to some extent - particularly if you "raise the bar" a little. Perhaps, like amendments, a Bill should require the consent of a supermajority (75%?) before becoming law? Alternatively, require all Bills to be ratified (or not) in each state - although that would be tricky with taxes, since you could get a state opting out... (Revoke all federal taxes, and divide the annual expenditure between states based on population?)

Re:I think that would work (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9793799)

I suspect it's just about the result originally intended, except when the Constitution was written just notifying each legislature and awaiting their vote would have added days of delay,

Ever read a comment, be happy, and realize that it was you who wrote it? Well, that's what *should* have happened, but i forgot to write it. :)

Basically, that is *exactly* what i meant to say. Thanx. Now i like you. :-P

particularly if you "raise the bar" a little. Perhaps, like amendments,

If the state's were the Senate, that wouldn't be needed. They wouldn't be looking to vote, and they wouldn't be looking to give up power. So, they'd probably not vote, or vote down anything that should be local. When intrastate affairs come up, they realize that they *must* negotiate, and that would be when the Senate would have a use. And you can bet the local state's legislatures would be argument vehemently over the votes.

Re:I think that would work (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794069)

If the state's were the Senate, that wouldn't be needed. They wouldn't be looking to vote, and they wouldn't be looking to give up power. So, they'd probably not vote, or vote down anything that should be local. When intrastate affairs come up, they realize that they *must* negotiate, and that would be when the Senate would have a use. And you can bet the local state's legislatures would be argument vehemently over the votes.

Certainly: my concern is the risk for some states to force through a measure against the interests of others. Particularly with only a straight majority needed, I think there's a risk of, say, Iowa and co voting in an Act funding the federal government largely from a tax on shipping - disastrous to TX, CA and others with big shipping industries, but great for all the inland states since they'd get out of paying the bills! (The revenue requirement I mentioned would avoid that particular example, but there are others: restrictions on logging, oil extraction...)

Re:I think that would work (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794297)

Interesting. But how often would that happen? Not only wqould a majority of states need to benefit from it, the majority of state's own legislature must also vote it. No "i scratch your back you scratch mine" deals, since were are dealsing with many-to-many.

I figure that would even it out.

Then again, these are politiians, so you may have a point.

Hey... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794057)

What about when the country needs to decide something quickly? Wouldn't it make sense to have the states send a representative to cast their vote, via proxy?

And we don't really want each state's legislative vote down to one man--that'd make the man as powerful as a governor. Better make it two per state...

Hey, wait a mintue! This is exactly how the original US Constitution had Senators!

Really, IMO direct election of 6-year senators is hardly the worst part of our system. If we were going to amend the constitution ANYWAY--why not just get rid of Term Limits for the President (the only federal office to have them)?

Re:Hey... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794336)

What about when the country needs to decide something quickly?

If required, and that is hardly ever, Executive Order.

Wouldn't it make sense to have the states send a representative to cast their vote

If absolutely required, perhaps, in rare cases. Probably the governor.

via proxy?

No. Proxy == evil;

And we don't really want each state's legislative vote down to one man--that'd make the man as powerful as a governor. Better make it two per state.

Faulty logic. :)

Your idea of the proxy is only to for emergency matters. And for that, one is better than two (unless three and majority vote). For regular matters, the legilature votes, and then there is no difference between one or two each. It could be a billion votes each, and won't matter, as long as they are all the same.

Hey, wait a mintue! This is exactly how the original US Constitution had Senators!

Yeah, definitely they were onto something. Got to love those Rationals (NT). :)

Really, IMO direct election of 6-year senators is hardly the worst part of our system.

It was just a thought. If down to action, we'd takre other things on too or first.

If we were going to amend the constitution ANYWAY--why not just get rid of Term Limits for the President (the only federal office to have them)?

History has proven that the masses are led too easily, and so when presidents went for two terms they excused themselves (similar to current practice on the IAB). After FDR abused his office and figured it was better for the people that he stay, the comon practice was put into law.

I am always for power to the people. But if we're not removing all requirements from president (age, residency, citizenship) i would not remove this traditional requirement either.

Everyone seems to like it anyway. Reagan would have just died in office, or perhaps Clinton would be impeached for the second time by now. The presidency must be somewhat weak, and limiting to no more than two terms is a help in that direction.

Re:Hey... (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794997)

  • After FDR abused his office
...

  • or perhaps Clinton would be impeached for the second time by now.


Matters of opinion, mine are: FDR rocked, and Clinton was the Second Best President right next to FDR. :-D

Though honestly, I think that Term limits help to remove some of the responsability from the shoulders of the President, after two terms they can honestly say "Well, I have to step down now." With a man like Clinton who worked so hard as President (all jokes aside), you can just look at how though eight years aged him, he looked horrible when he left office, I can barely imagine what another four years would have done to him.

Re:Hey... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796035)

Trivia question: What position have Clinton, Regan, and every other two-term president since FDR all held?

Answer: "I want to run again."

We should stop limiting our own choices by forcing Presidents who are willing to go for another four years to not run again. How many lackluster presidents have we gotten because everyone of quality couldn't run?

Re:Hey... (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 10 years ago | (#9813923)

Err, wait now.

I will trade skipping a third Clinton term for having skipped a third Regan term, given another term even Cliton wouldn't have been able to get us outa the mess this country would've been in!

Re:Hey... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796021)

If required, and that is hardly ever, Executive Order.

XOs shouldn't be used to:

* Ratify treaties
* Declare War
* Set the budget

And ALL of those pass the Senate. Tust me--you don't want the Federal government bogged down by the crap that is State Government. The world is a far better place with the FEDERALIST system we have.

History has proven that the masses are led too easily, and so when presidents went for two terms they excused themselves (similar to current practice on the IAB). After FDR abused his office and figured it was better for the people that he stay, the comon practice was put into law.

Abuse? Bah. He ran, the people elected him, end of story. Term limits for the executive are a P.O.S.

If Regan hadn't had to step down, he might have seen the Cold War over--and when he was diagnosed, he could have stepped down for medical reasons anyway.

If Clinton hadn't had to step down, 9-11 might not have happened, and we certainly wouldn't be in the huge deficit we are now.

Or, hell, Bush might have actually beaten Clinton by beaing Clinton, not by beating Clinton's stand in, Al Gore.

Re:Hey... (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796396)

You just ignored the "people are led easily" part. Just because a president is "elected" by people does not mean newspapers and TV and charismatic aspects of the candidate did not persuade the people to vote for him. How many presidents since the term limiting started had horrible charisma? How many other candidates, such as Nader, who don't come off well in front of the camera might actually have good qualities? How many people still just get most of their news from papers and TV allowing them to be swayed easily by only a few companies? Face it, the people are stupid or at best uniformed or sheep. We shouldn't even have democracy at all except that all the other systems aren't better. As Churchill I think said, "Democracy is the worse form of government, except for the others." Term limits help a little in preventing tyranny of the uninformed people. So do you want a president are you hate with dozens of terms or presidents you hate only 8 or 16 years alternating with ones you don't hate?

Re:Hey... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9798509)

Term limits help a little in preventing tyranny of the uninformed people. So do you want a president are you hate with dozens of terms or presidents you hate only 8 or 16 years alternating with ones you don't hate?

You don't do your cause very good by getting the length of a President's term wrong. (Hint: Bush was elected in 2000, and he's running again now, in 2004.)

Democracy is the best form of government because it formally gives the people the authority to recognize the government--making their active consent necessary for anyone to gain power.

Other forms of government are democratic, they just don't realize it.

And as for your point--that the media sways voting--this is not a new occruance. All the way back to Greek democracies, popular media swayed the people. It's part of how the mass human semi-conciousness works, and there's nothing that can be done about it.

Re:Hey... (1)

slothman32 (629113) | more than 10 years ago | (#9799308)

Actually that should be 8 of 16. I mistyped. And saying there is nothing that can be done about it isn't an option. It still ruins the elections. Until it is fixed democracy won't work. If it can never be fixed democracy can never work.

Re:Hey... (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9800309)

And saying there is nothing that can be done about it isn't an option. It still ruins the elections. Until it is fixed democracy won't work. If it can never be fixed democracy can never work.

It never can be fixed--or if it can, it hasn't ever since small towns starting having direct democracy. (They may have done so in pre-colonial Europe!)

Despite all that, however, Democracy does work.

Obviously, there is something wrong with your hypothesis.

Re:Hey... (1)

Cyberdyne (104305) | more than 10 years ago | (#9794601)

What about when the country needs to decide something quickly? Wouldn't it make sense to have the states send a representative to cast their vote, via proxy?

I could be wrong, but I've heard rumors about the existence of some sort of instantaneous communications system, using cables or radio waves: they wouldn't need to send anyone anywhere.

Besides: how often does it actually happen that a law must be passed in an emergency? If it does, what do you do when you discover Congress is in recess, so everyone's off on vacation or in their home states anyway? If the country's attacked, the President's allowed to respond to the attack without getting Congressional approval: there's plenty of contingency legislation to allow for just that possibility.

And we don't really want each state's legislative vote down to one man--that'd make the man as powerful as a governor. Better make it two per state...

For a true emergency, if such a thing ever happened, just have the governor cast an emergency vote on behalf of that state, with a time limit to allow a proper vote: say, seven days. The emergency gets dealt with, and there's less risk of bad legislation being rushed through than there is now.

Really, IMO direct election of 6-year senators is hardly the worst part of our system. If we were going to amend the constitution ANYWAY--why not just get rid of Term Limits for the President (the only federal office to have them)?

There are good reasons for term limits, to avoid career politicians infesting the system - although ironically they apply less to the Presidency than to members of Congress. If anything, I'd want to extend the idea to other posts - or, better still, the opposite: no incumbent is permitted to run for any office, so all politicians need to spend at least half their terms out of office as regular citizens.

Re:Hey... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9801478)

Thanx for the post.

I agree.

State Legislatures (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#9795136)

Are a pit of political patronage that makes Washington look squeaky-clean by comparison.

You might as well give ADM, GE, Cargill and others veto powers outright.

Unmanageable... (1)

LordBodak (561365) | more than 10 years ago | (#9796186)

State legislatures are kept pretty busy on state issues, plus their schedules are often different.

I think the answer is to go back to the old method-- state legislature appoints Senators. The whole point to a two-house legislature was to balance the desires of the people (the House) with the desires of the states (the Senate). Since we threw that out, we have become even more of a nanny-state because the people are becoming too stupid to do anything for themselves-- therefore all they do is ask the government for more handouts. Without the old Senate as a check, it keeps growing.

Re:Unmanageable... (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 10 years ago | (#9797193)

tate legislatures are kept pretty busy on state issues

Exactly! :)

This way, they'd only do the Senate business begrudgingly, and with less playing around, so the rules are clear cut.
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