We need to abolish the Senate

It’s time to rethink America’s least efficient, least effective and least American policy-maker


Richard Feng / Talon

The Senate doesn’t work, and we can no longer delude ourselves into thinking it does. As plague strikes and our economy is on the verge of collapse, stalemates and stalls are all that characterize this embarrassing group of pawns and frauds.

The role of government in any republic is simply to carry out the will of the people in the most effective manner. Popular sovereignty served as the core tenet of the Enlightenment-based revolutionary thought that this nation was built upon. To this day, we pledge to strive toward an idealized democracy, taking pride in the idea that each and every American voice can be heard and felt equally.

A rotting corpse souring the river water of the U.S. legislature, the Senate works merely to decay and diminish the voices of the people it claims to serve, spitting in the face of this popular sovereignty. The Senate disproportionately grants power, does not adequately represent the people and does not work as a functional legislative body, hence why it should be abolished.

The Senate functions under the premise that each state is given an equal voice of two representatives, to counteract the slightly less tyrannical, population-based House of Representatives. The obvious problems with this idea are that condensing the will of hundreds of millions of free-thinking citizens into 100 politicians is functionally despotic in its very nature and that state lines have been relatively arbitrary boundaries ever since the Civil War.

According to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019, the state of Wyoming contained approximately 578,759 people. At the same time, The Census Bureau estimates a population of 39,512,223 people living in the state of California. California contains almost 70 times more people than Wyoming, yet in the Senate halls, the voices of these 39 million are drowned out by the smaller group, both reduced to just 2.

Tyranny of the minority is antithetical to the populous ideal at the core of democracy. The Senate, by principle, is an illogical, backward legislative body in the context of the country it works within.

Additionally, the Senate is egregiously out of touch with greater America. The Senate was created to protect the interests of the upper class against the will of the majority. The Senate represents an overwhelming popular minority with vastly different interests than the everyday Americans that make up a large majority of the voting populace. Historically, the Senate has been made up of upper-class elites, funded by upper-class elites, passing legislation that disproportionately benefits upper-class elites. 

As if that wasn’t enough, the Senate cannot do its job as intended. The filibuster effectively cripples all partisan bills. The filibuster is a rule regulating Senate deliberation, and as it sets out, 60 votes out of 100 must be attained to even bring a bill to vote, effectively allowing a minority of senators to kill majority-supported bills.

Here, the idea of tyranny of the minority comes back into the fold. Even the most fundamentally basic and agreeable bills stall out on the Senate floor time and time again.

The filibuster has fostered a historically inefficient Congress across the board in recent years. A law cannot pass through the legislative branch without winning in each subsection of Congress, Senate and House. Thus, if a filibuster stalls the bill in the Senate, it stalls throughout Washington. Any kink in the legislative system may prove disastrous, important bills deal in lives.

Scrapping the Senate would help restore the voice of the people and ease the logjam that has hampered the democratic process in recent years. America is no stranger to radical constitutional reform, the Constitution was proposed as a living document to perfect democracy, open to constant edits. 

Nothing currently in the Constitution is sacred. Thomas Jefferson, who penned the Constitution, stated thatLaws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times.”  

Getting rid of the Senate would be the next necessary step in America’s great vision.