He might be the only one at NPR who does, and while I’m guessing (but don’t know) that S.V. DÃTE isn’t happy with the outcome of the Senate vote yesterday over a gun control bill, he at least has the sense to try to explain it to the low-information voter:
If it seems perplexing why an idea that has broad support nationally could fail to pass the U.S. Senate, here’s an important reminder: The Senate is not a democratic institution.
It never has been, and it was never designed to be. Rather, it was structured to give small or sparsely populated states the ability to stop the majority’s will. And on Wednesday, that’s how it worked out, as the Senate failed to reach a 60-vote threshold to support new background checks on gun purchases.
More at the link.
The brilliance of our political system is that in the House, members have two-year terms and act accordingly, usually in volatile ways. And, they are apportioned in direct proportion to a state population.
The Senate is supposed to be where the long-term (well, six-year) deliberators think through important legislation. Of course, that hasn’t been the norm since Obama took office. As an example, you had that witch, Nancy Pelosi saying that — regarding Obamacare — that “we have to pass the bill to see what’s in it.” And, that is what is now happening with the immigration bill.
What a lot of our uninformed populace seems to forget is that even senators are voted in by their constituents and represent them and their state. A senator from Montana or Alaska has absolutely no obligation to ignore his/her constituents and vote the wishes of a NY mayor. In fact, he/she would be betraying his state voters’ wishes by doing so.
Should the two senators from each state have such power? Yes. It prevents heavily populated states from pushing their agendas on lightly populated states. The counter-balance of that is what the House (the congress critters) are for. Two deliberative bodies that balance — or keep in check — each other.
Fortunately, Republicans currently control the House. Let us hope that stays so. We didn’t need that cushion this time — because of yesterday’s Senate vote, but, like a fire extinguisher, it’s nice to have it around. That could change should you readers not bother to vote in 2014. If more of us come out in the next election, we might even regain control of the Senate.
Remember, yesterday’s good vote there was only possible because a few Democrats from a few states remembered the reason they were there, and voted according to the wishes of the people who put them there.
Keep your powder dry!
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