Why Don’t the Democrats Have a Super-majority in the Senate?

Photo by Spencer Watson on Unsplash

I was reading something here in Medium and the thought occurred to me that it is probably ridiculous that the Democrats do not have a super-majority in the Senate. I based that on the notion that urban populations are the Democratic Party’s stronghold and the supposition that in most states most of the population is urban.

In addition, Senate seats are not subject to gerrymandering. A simple majority of the vote for a state as a whole is what it takes to be elected to the Senate.

So this morning I did come checking. It turns out that as of the 2010 census there were only five states in which the urban population was less than 59% of a state’s population. That should be a huge advantage for the Democrats in Senate elections in the other 45 states.

Yet, those five states have, as of now, two Democratic senators and two Independents who ‘caucus with’ the Democrats, meaning they almost always vote with the Democrats. So in the the presumably less-Democrat states that Party is over-performing and in the presumably more-Democrat states it is under-performing. On the one hand one might say that weakens the premise that urban voters are strongly Democrat, but it also makes a case that rural voters are less anti-Democrat than might be supposed.

The bottom line is that if I were in the Democratic Party I would definitely be wondering why it doesn’t have even a simple majority in the Senate. I would also be encouraging the Party to make the Senate its number one priority.

A party with a super-majority in the Senate would be the ultimate power in the Federal government. It would control the composition of federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. It could block any legislation and override any presidential veto; if combined with a majority in the House it would make the president all but irrelevant in domestic national politics.

I won’t go into what having a super-majority would mean regarding impeachment. That should be utterly apolitical.



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Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice