Free and Equal: Rawls' Theory of Justice and Political Reform

By Joseph Grcic | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7. ABOLISH THE SENATE

“What do you call a lawyer who has gone bad?”
“Senator.”

—Anonymous

About two thirds of the current senators are millionaires, which may explain why the US Senate is also called the “Millionaires’ Club.” On average, a run for the Senate costs about $10 million but former Senator Corzine (D-NJ) spent more than $62 million in his Senate campaign and won, spending $48 million more than his competitor — which confirms the general rule that the candidate who spends more usually wins. The current structure of the Senate allows that the largest state in the US, California, with about 37 million population and Wyoming, the smallest population with about half a million, to have equal votes in the Senate. This means that the voter in Wyoming is about 74 times as powerful as the voter in California when they vote for senator; is this equality? Because of these facts, it is possible given the current constitution and rules that the 21 least populous states, representing only 11.2% of the national population, can block all legislation in the Senate; is this democracy?244 Let us look at this matter more closely.

According to the US Constitution the legislative power of the federal government is constituted by the bicameral Congress made

244. Sabato, Larry, A More Perfect Constitution, New York: Walker & Co., 2007, p. 25.

-105-

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