On Wednesday, NPR reported that experts are warning about the growing entrenchment of minority rule in Congress, with both the House and the Senate experiencing democratic backsliding.
"Right now, the Senate is split evenly in half, but the 50 Democratic senators represent 41.5 million more people than the 50 Republican senators," reported Mara Liasson. "By 2040, if population trends continue, 70% of Americans will be represented by just 30 senators, and 30% of Americans by 70 senators. That has lots of implications, like for the Senate filibuster, where a party that represents a shrinking minority of voters can block almost all major legislation."
"But it also has implications for the Supreme Court, says Jesse Wegman, author of Let the People Pick the President," continued the report. Wegman said: "You have this sort of turbocharged minority rule. You have a counter-majoritarian institution chosen by people who picked by a minority of the citizens. That's not a sustainable model for a representative democracy." The upshot is that serious progress on issues that Republicans don't want serious progress on, like gun violence, is impossible.
Meanwhile, much of the House and state legislatures are still rigged by gerrymandering, said the report.
"Michael Li of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University says partisan gerrymandering hasn't just created safe seats for Democrats and Republicans," said the report. "In many cases, he says, it allows one party to draw district lines that secure its grip on the state legislature — like Wisconsin. "'The map there was drawn by Republicans so that under any reasonable election scenario, they win a majority of the seats,' Li said. 'So even if they win, say, 47 or 48% percent of the vote statewide, they are likely to get about 60% of the seats. And that's something that's deeply undemocratic.'"
Senate Democrats have been warning that the system is "out of whack" for a while, the report noted. "The way this is starting to work is that elected representatives who collectively have gathered 10 million, maybe 12 million, maybe by the year 2030 30 million fewer votes are going to stack the judiciary and entrench minority rule," said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) at judicial hearings last year to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. "And so something has to give."
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