Abolish the Senate?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by LiveUninhibited, Mar 4, 2009.

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Should America get rid of the Senate?

  1. Yes (Please explain).

    2 vote(s)
    22.2%
  2. No (Please explain).

    7 vote(s)
    77.8%
  3. Unsure/Other (Please explain).

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. LiveUninhibited
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    LiveUninhibited Caffeine Junkie

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    For better or worse, I have a propensity to question everything. Little about the basic structure of our government has changed since the Framers of the American Constitution pioneered a government that was the first of its kind, i.e. a large, constitutional, representative republic.

    While the Framers had palpable fear of the masses, even when suffrage was limited to White, male landowners, they also knew that anything like a monarchy would be rejected by the well-armed populace. There was also the issue that they had to compromise with small states and slave states in order to have them on board at all. All of this led to a Constitution that wasn't exactly a shining beacon of democracy and freedom, but many of its dysfunctions were later fixed by amendments.

    Aside from the electoral college, one thing I find odd that remains is the Senate. Why do we need two houses, particularly one as undemocratic as the Senate? Here's an illustration of what I mean by Robert Dahl in How Democratic is the American Constitution, pages 48-49:

    Such unequal counting of votes for representation seems pretty hypocritical for a nation that so idealizes and maybe even crusades for democracy. The Senate could be phased out by making the next election for only 4 years, and the last election for only 2 years, so that the last 100 Senators' terms end at the same time.

    One reason the Senate remains is obvious. Small states would not ratify an amendment that reduces their power (need 3/4 for ratification), nor would 2/3 of the Senate vote to get rid of itself. :lol:

    A closer look at the Constitution reveals that the number of States needed to ratify it might actually be 100%, given Article V states that no state can be denied equal suffrage in the senate without its consent. My guess is this means abolishing the Senate would take at least two distinct amendments. One to strike that part of Article V, and another to actually dissolve the Senate.

    So should we try to get rid of the Senate? Why or why not?
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  2. michiganFats
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    I voted no, but upon further reflection, I should have voted other. The Senate as it exists now is pointless. Originally the Senate was the house of the states. It gave state governments a say in what happened in Washington, and I think that was a damn good idea. Now it is nothing more than a glorified house of representatives. As things stand now, I would be in favor of abolishing the Senate, however my preference is to restore the Senate to it's original form, a body of professional politicians representing their respective states who do not face popular election.
     
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  3. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    No, abolishing the Senate would not be a good idea. The 17th amendment to the Constitution should be repealed instead, so that the Senate can go back to it's original function of serving their states interests.
     
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  4. LiveUninhibited
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    Why are the state's interests important? Why not just the people?
     
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  5. michiganFats
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    The people do have a say. It's called the House of Representatives. The states have a say because they are members of the Union.
     
  6. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Kevin_Kennedy Defend Liberty

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    What michiganFats said is correct, but just to add to it, the federal government was created as an agent for the states and the Senate was supposed to be their mouthpiece. Legislation would have to be in both the interests of the people (House of Representatives) and the states (the Senate), before it went to the President.
     
  7. LiveUninhibited
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    Yes that's a statement of how it currently works, but not really why. A state is just a division of the government. If democracy is valued, the will of the people is the source of all government power. Sure it was established as a federal system due to mistrust of centralized power, but centralized power is checked by the limitations spelled out in the Constitution. Not that people always follow it anyway.
     
  8. Kevin_Kennedy
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    Centralized power is not checked by the Constitution in anything but theory. The federal government does what it wants when it wants. But that's a different discussion. The states were meant to have a say in the federal government because it was the states that created the federal government to act on their behalf. That is how our system of federalism is supposed to work.
     
  9. michiganFats
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    A state is not a division of the federal government. If that belief is commonly held, that would help explain why we have the problems we have right now. Democracy? We have a Constitutional Republic(at least we are supposed to have one). "Sure it was established as a federal system due to mistrust of centralized power"....WTF?. As for centralized power being checked by the Constitution, that remains to be seen.
     
  10. LiveUninhibited
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    I'm not sure why we care why it was made that way at the time. At the time it was made they had no template to figure out how to make such a government but they did well for what they knew. That doesn't mean it can't be improved upon.

    Now suppose that Southern Oregon and Northern California became Jefferson State, as some have proposed over the years. Almost happened just prior to Pearl Harbor.
    State of Jefferson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Suddenly the votes of the rest of the nation are devalued, and votes in Northern California are actually worth more like those of Alaska. Or suppose America takes on another state via one of its territories or however. Is the interests of States, real or prospective, really equal to the interests of the people? Who is being protected by small states having more power per person?
     

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