America’s anti-democratic Senate, by the numbers

“In the incoming Senate, Democratic senators will represent at least 20,314,962 more people than their Republican counterparts — and that’s if we assume that Republicans win both runoff elections in Georgia. If the two Georgia seats go to the Democrats, the Senate will be split 50-50, but the Democratic half will represent 41,549,808 more people than the Republican half.

I derived these numbers using 2019 population estimates by the United States Census Bureau. In states where both senators caucus with the same party, I allocated the state’s entire population to that party. In states where the Senate delegation is split, I allocated half of the state’s population to each party. Although Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) identify as independent, both Sanders and King caucus with Democrats. So I coded them as Democratic senators.”

“Republicans, in other words, would not be in the majority now — and they certainly would not be in the majority next year — if not for malapportionment.

The implications of this malapportionment are breathtaking. Among other things, Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett were all nominated by a president who lost the popular vote and confirmed by a bloc of senators who represent less than half of the country. If the United States chose its leaders in free and fair elections, none of these individuals would serve on the Supreme Court — and it is likely that Democratic appointees would have a majority on the Court.

Similarly, if Republicans control the Senate in 2021, the GOP will have the power to prevent Joe Biden from confirming a Cabinet, to block everyone Biden nominates to the federal bench, to prevent Biden from signing any legislation, and even to shut down the government.

This is not what the American people voted for in November. But it is what a deeply broken Constitution, which effectively gives extra Senate seats to white conservatives in small states, has given us.”

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