Look where we are on the immigration debate now. It’s a mess, and a large part of the problem is the way our governing system is set up. In the Senate, every state has equal power. Kirsten Gillibrand — who has 20 million constituents in New York — has no more or less power than Senator Tom Cotton, who presides over 3 million people in Arkansas. There are more moderates and liberals in the United States than there are conservatives, but there are more Red States than Blue States. Immigrants make up 25 percent of the population of New York, and 5 percent of the population in Arkansas, which means there are 5 million immigrants in New York state and 150,000 in Arkansas, and still: Tom Cotton and Kirsten Gillibrand wield equal power over a debate that affects them in a wildly disproportionate manner.
This is only going to get worse. By 2040, two-thirds of the population will be represented by only 30 percent of the Senate. I mean, the idea of the Senate probably sounded awesome to the framers of the Constitution, but I’m guessing they never envisioned a future America that was not only as politically divided as it is now but also so hostile to immigration in parts.
So, effectively, Tom Cotton and David Perdue in Georgia — who don’t agree with 78 percent of the population that wants to keep DREAMers in America — control the immigration debate, though they only represent 22 percent of the population on that issue. All of which is to say, by its very nature, the United States Senate is racist. It is designed to give more power per person to white people in rural America than diverse people in New York City.
We can’t function like this.
We can’t function like this because Chuck Schumer has to design policy that appeals to both Ron Wyden in Oregon and Joe Manchin in West Virginia, and if Schumer stands up to Donald Trump and refuses to give him The Wall, Ron Wyden is going to win by an even wider margin in Oregon, but Joe Manchin will lose his seat in West Virginia to a Republican. The demographics may favor Democrats in an un-gerrymandered House of Representatives and in Presidential elections, but there’s always going to be a Mitch McConnell, and my guess is, the Mitch McConnell of future generations is going to be even more powerful while representing even fewer people.
What the hell are we going to do about this? I mean, we’re not going to change the Constitution. We’d never get the votes, anyway, because why would a guy in North Dakota vote to give up his unequal power to a Senator in California? I hope that State’s Rights is the future. Decentralization is the only way the country survives, because we can’t have our entire country’s policy held hostage by men like Tom Cotton. The rate of progress in America cannot always be held back by a Senator in Mississippi.
In the short term, it means that Chuck Schumer will eventually give Donald Trump the funding for that Wall, because it’s the only way to save the DREAMers. When he does, liberals in New York and Massachusetts are going to hate him for it, but what other choice does he have? It’s noble to stand up for what is right, but thanks to the unequal distribution of power in the United States Senate, what is right doesn’t have the votes. In fact, by standing up for what’s right, Democrats would lose even more power, more votes. So the only way to move forward is to do what’s wrong in exchange for a little bit of what is right. The only compromise is one that is acceptable to Joe Manchin and Tom Cotton.
Does anyone have a better solution?