I would do anything to reduce gun violence, but I won't do that (an open letter to Joe Manchin)

End the Filibuster, Joe

Dear Senator Manchin,

You are not my Senator, however despite the 'all men are created equal' concept your vote is more than 20 times more powerful than the Senators who do represent me. I therefore feel compelled to write and ask you to reconsider your position against ending the filibuster.

In The Hill this week you are quoted as saying:

"You all know where I stand; I’ll do anything I can."

But then, unfortunately:

"The filibuster is the only thing that prevents us from total insanity. Total insanity."

I believe that you hold this position out of principle. I also know that you have previously worked (and failed) to strengthen background checks. We can't make any progress solving this problem without you. Please take an evidence based approach to the actual danger involved in allowing the Senate to legislate with a simple majority. Consider as a starting point the rest of the G-7.

Canada only requires a supermajority to pass a constitutional amendment. Those trucker protests got a little out of hand, but Canada is not insane.

France does not require a supermajority. It is not insane.

Germany does not require a supermajority. It is not insane.

Italy uses a supermajority for early rounds of presidential voting but otherwise not. Also not insane.

Japan needs a supermajority to amend their constitution. Again, not insane.

I'm not in love with the House of Lords, but the United Kingdom manages to pass laws without a supermajority and is not insane.

Our inability to control gun violence and our inability to allow the duly elected government to legislate are the same problem. Insanity is doing the same thing (in this case nothing) over and over again and expecting different results.

Thank you for your consideration.

(Related: Legislative Service; Intelligence Squared Two-Party Debate; Episode Four)

(You might also like: Executive Clubbing; WiX Tricks for Screen Savers; Stumpoceros)

(All Politics Posts)

2020 Results

46

There is going to be a grown-up in charge. Maybe a little too grown up, and maybe not in charge of the legislature but what a relief.

This is a historic election for me. It's the first time the party I voted for (either in the UK or the US) has ended up in power. After a lot of shopping I rather fear I finally bought something.

It's more than a little shocking to me that more than 70 million Americans looked at this choice and voted for Trump. It's also shocking that out of a couple of hundred million possibilities that this is the choice we ended up needing to make. Biden was pretty far down my list in January but I held my nose and voted for him. I have to be charitable and assume that the same is true for many Trump voters. But still. FFS. He's literally killing you.

A decade ago I compared US politics to daisyworld and it's still true. We have guaranteed two party rule and neither party is particularly attractive. This forces people to pick a team and it's why we got the tribalistic result that we did. You're going to keep rooting for your side even if you don't particularly like the team this year. We need more like twenty parties and some genuine choice and some power sharing that results in compromise rather than deadlock.

On the subject of deadlock in practically every other democracy when the government can no longer govern then it falls. I do not understand why we go years with an imponent leader. I know that there are many people who think that this is a feature rather than a bug. That having Biden in the White House but Mitch McConnell saying no in the Senate is the kind of checks and balances that gave the hallowed Founders wet dreams. But I'm sick and tired of minority rule or near rule. Obama at least got two years to legislate, Biden might be facing zero and that's a crazy outcome for a majority of four million and counting. We need a National Popular Vote and we need to do something to fix the Senate.

$14 billion was spent on the 2020 election which is eye-watering. We're on track to spend $6.6 trillion this year though so we can afford to word on getting the money out of politics. It's crazy that Congresspeople face election every two years and are basically just fundraising the whole time. Let's have longer terms and Federally funded campaigns and term limits. Let's have independent redistricting that allows voters to choose their candidates and not candidates to choose their voters.

I'm not holding my breath.

(Related: Thinking about the UK referendum on AV; I'm with Her; Intelligence Squared Two-Party Debate)

(You might also like: TLOTW #6; Coronavirus Visualization Update; Subscribe via Messenger)

(All Politics Posts)

What if the Senate Voted Proportionally to Population

Relative influence of each state on the Electoral College

This is massively less likely than sorting out the Electoral College, but imagine for a minute that 100 Senators woke up tomorrow and decided to do the right thing.

Dianne Feinstein, the senior Senator from California would wield 6.04 votes. Mike Enzi, the senior Senator from Wyoming would have to make do with 0.09 votes.

Overall a party line vote would see 55.85 Democratic votes to 44.15 Republican, assuming normal independent caucusing habits. Not quite a supermajority, but enough to not send Kavanaugh to The Supreme Court for instance.

This is based on 2010 census figures from Wikipedia.

Not going to happen, but find my estimate of your State's fair voting power by Senator below.

StateVotes per Senator
California6.04
Texas4.08
Florida3.05
New York3.14
Pennsylvania2.06
Illinois2.08
Ohio1.87
Georgia1.57
North Carolina1.55
Michigan1.6
New Jersey1.43
Virginia1.3
Washington1.09
Arizona1.04
Massachusetts1.06
Tennessee1.03
Indiana1.05
Missouri0.97
Maryland0.94
Wisconsin0.92
Colorado0.82
Minnesota0.86
South Carolina0.75
Alabama0.78
Louisiana0.74
Kentucky0.7
Oregon0.62
Oklahoma0.61
Connecticut0.58
Iowa0.49
Utah0.45
Arkansas0.47
Nevada0.44
Mississippi0.48
Kansas0.46
New Mexico0.33
Nebraska0.3
West Virginia0.3
Idaho0.25
Hawaii0.22
New Hampshire0.21
Maine0.22
Rhode Island0.17
Montana0.16
Delaware0.15
South Dakota0.13
North Dakota0.11
Alaska0.12
Vermont0.1
Wyoming0.09

(Related: Legislative Service; Liquid Democracy and united.vote; 2020 Results)

(You might also like: Both sides of the Golden Gate, a Time Lapse; Fight Facebook with Email; Mt. Livermore on Angel Island)

(All Politics Posts)