And the Shoes Will be on Other Feet

by John W Rodat on April 6, 2017

The US Senate changed their rules today, requiring only a simple majority to end debate over Supreme Court nominations. This so-called “nuclear option” reduced the votes required from 60 percent plus one to 50 percent plus one. The change was accompanied by much drama. 

It’s probably fair to assume that a similar change will come regarding legislation. (That’s already the case for Budget Reconciliation.)

Though, there’s much hue and cry, in the long run, this will make the Senate less undemocratic. As Senate seats are allocated two for each state, people in states with smaller population have proportionately more representation in the Senate that people in other states.

With the 60 percent rule, Senators (from the smallest states) representing about 11 percent of the country’s total population could block action in the Senate. With a simple majority (plus one), that number increases to about 17 percent. It’s still undemocratic, but less so.

Public Signals States Able to Block Senate Action

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