Sunday, January 20, 2008

A Problem for American Democracy

Source: CHEYENNE WELLS, "Depopulation: The Great Plains drain," The Economist, January 17th 2008. Lead: "How the interior is learning to live with a shrinking population."

The United States Constitution was a compromise among people and states with different interests. A part of the compromise between large and small states was that each state would have two senators, while House of Representatives seats would be allocated by population. Even there, very small states still get a Representative in the House who may have fewer constituents than those of larger states. The presidential vote as a result gives people in small states more influential votes than people in large states.

The map above shows that people are leaving rural areas all across America (and moving to California and other populous states. We know that the Republican party is strong in the states with shrinking populations. The result is, I suppose, that the average Republican is having more influence on Senate and Presidential composition, and the average Democrat less.

It is time to go to a direct election of Presidents!

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