For all the babble about democracy in the USA, it simply does not exist in the U.S. Senate. In fact, you can probably find fairer representation in any number of fascist states around the world.

This is because the vast differences in population among states in the USA are now truly staggering. California had 39.35 million people in 2020, while Wyoming had only 581,348 and North Dakota 760,094. Therefore, California, had almost 68 times as many inhabitants as Wyoming, and 52 times as many as North Dakota. But California has the same number of senators: 2. Similar discrepancies exist for Illinois, New York, and Texas, with Illinois’ population at 12.72 million, New York 19.51 million and Texas 28.64 million.

Right now, the Senate is split 50-50 along party lines with 50 senators representing 41 million fewer people than the other 50. This will probably get worse: Population predictions for 2040 show 67% of the population living in just 15 states, but electing a measly 30% of the Senate. 

It is impossible to understand why we continue to tolerate such a corrupt, thoroughly undemocratic system, and why there is not a raging clamor for some kind of reform. It is clearly not democracy when representation is so disastrously mismatched with reality.

This kind of extremely undemocratic discrepancy simply did not exist when the USA was founded. In fact, the biggest difference in population in 1780 was between Virginia, with 583,004, and Delaware, with 45,385, giving Virginia 12.8 times as many people. Eight of the other states ranged between New Jersey’s 139,627 and North Carolina’s 270,130, with only 3 that totaled a bit more than Delaware.

Aside from deporting tens of millions of people from more populous states to enjoy life in the Dakotas and Wyoming—or adding significantly more senators to the more populous state it is hard to see any solution.

The issue has finally begun to get some wider attention.  For example, Eric W. Orts, an economics professor at the Wharton School of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, proposed in the Atlantic apartial remedy for the insane differential. It would obviously yield a much fairer outcome: 26 states get only one senator (as they provide a small fraction of the population); 12 states stay at two, eight states gain one or two, and the four biggest states gain more than two: California gets 12 total, Texas gets 9, and Florida and New York get 6 each. In this new allocation, the total number of senators would be 110.

This fix is obviously not completely democratic, as California would still have only 12 senators while its differential from, say, Wyoming would still be 68. But it would certainly be an improvement. Some say that the situation is hopeless, and that the only solution is to abolish the Senate.

I surely do not know how this immense discrepancy can be resolved. But if it is not dealt with somehow, the country will continue to suffer from this undemocratic imbalance, and, worse yet, sink more deeply into the fascism that is growing in the Republican Party.