Manchin Channels Chamberlain: Will We Have Peace in Our Time in the Senate?
"[O]ne of the challenges sometimes in understanding and parsing exactly what he’s saying is that he is often not looking at sort of the holistic picture. … [H]e often says things that seem very contradictory because he’s answering one question or another and not necessarily answering the broader thing of, he wants bipartisanship."
"Instead of trying to make sense of Manchin’s impulsive answers and contradictory statements, the White House should enlist him in this project: Find 10 Republican senators who will support a bill that all 50 Democrats will still support. Manchin obviously has a completely different conception of the GOP than most of the political world. So let him have a crack at it."
It’s no accident that a state as small as West Virginia has the same number of senators as California or Texas. It goes to the heart of what representative government is all about. The Founding Fathers understood that the challenges facing a rural or small state would always be very different from a more populous state. Designating each state with the same number of senators — regardless of the population — ensured that rural and small states and the Americans who live in them would always have a seat at the table."
Yes, it truly is "no accident" that small states have the same number of senators as large ones. That is not because of a principled argument in favor of democratic distortion, however, but merely a historic compromise forced on the nascent country in order to achieve unanimity. No one was going to deny the smaller states a seat at the table. They simply demanded bigger seats than they deserved, based on the arbitrary lines that had been drawn by the empire against which they had recently rebelled.
Over-representation of small states in the Senate does not "go to the heart of what representative government is all about." If it did, we would make accommodations every time that a minority of people face "challenges" that are different from the majority's challenges. Police forces target racial minorities? Give disproportionate representation on city councils to minority neighborhoods. Confederacy dead-enders in southern states perpetuate Jim Crow laws? Give minorities and white liberals extra votes.