Is the U.S. the “greatest democracy in the world” as is often claimed? As any conservative will correctly remind you, the founders were wary of too much democracy and established the country not as a democracy but as a constitutional republic. James Madison once stated, “Where a majority are united by a common sentiment, and have an opportunity, the rights of the minor party become insecure.” The minority Madison referred to was the capitalist class of property owners. Basically, the thinking was who knows what may transpire if the huddled and unwashed masses are given an opportunity to make decisions themselves? For these reasons, states with smaller populations are given inflated representation; politicians gifted to empty land, and more importantly, the owners of this land.
This inflated representation, far from equalizing the distance between big and small, grants small states and those who represent them almost a tyrannical control over the majority of Americans. The current president lost by nearly 3 million votes, and the majority party of one legislative body received less votes than the minority party. Vox editor Ezra Klein reported that “by 2040, 70 percent of Americans will live in the 15 largest states. That means 70 percent of America will be represented by only 30 senators, while the other 30 percent of America will be represented by 70 senators.” This fact, along with increased voter suppression and infringement of other civil liberties will only enlarge the delusion between “red & blue” in this country, all the while enlarging the real chasm between the capitalist class and the working class.
Bottom line: If these states want more representation, they need to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps and make themselves attractive to more people. Yet, at the same time, we must recognize that these anti-democratic features of our political system emanate from the Constitution itself. And, we must be willing to envision even such radical concepts as restructuring the Constitution from the ground up; not to undo the United States, but to preserve it.
Zachary Gittrich, Peoria