The West has got lots of open country but none that you can live on. – October 1, 1933 Will Rogers
Of course when Will talked about the “West” I’m sure he was not talking about the States along the coast but instead those along the east slope of the Rocky Mountains. But it turns out that he was mostly right in that not many people live in that area of the U.S. I always remember the old saying that “50% of the people in the U.S. live within 50 miles of the coast”. But, just how many people live in Will’s “west”. Lets take a look.
As you can see the west is pretty sparse when it comes to people. When you add all the folks in Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Idaho they in total make up about 1.5% of the total population. That is about 20% less than we Hoosiers in Indiana and a full 8 times less than those in California. As a matter of fact there are 25 States with more populations than this group combined.
These five States might be small in population but they pack a political wallop. For 1.5% of the population they control 10% of the political power in the Senate and everyone knows that with the regular use of the filibuster now days that is where the true Washington power now presides. Sadly all five of these States are solidly in the GOP fold. I wonder what would happen if California suddenly had 16 senators instead of two?
Yes, I know the historical reasons for how the Senate is made up but in the end I think the power should remain with the people in a proportionate way. Maybe to level the power of our voices California should declare that they are splitting up into eight different States! I see that Scotland is on the verge of separating from Great Britain so maybe it is time for some fundamental changes in our country too. We do need some serious tweaks to fix many of the problems we have been having for the last few decades….
2 thoughts on “The Great American Desert….”
Interesting idea that California might be split—but then you have to realize the consequences. Many parts of southern CA are very conservative.California has 20/50 conservatives in Congress right now—and it changes back and forth about every four years.
I think the Constitutional fathers knew that they were doing the right thing by splitting the senate into two from each state so that larger states would not grab too much from the smaller states.
We already have so much gerrymandering for congressional lines—imagine if the same insanity happened for the Senate.
Since the California split idea was a musing one I hadn’t really considered gerrymandering. Yeah like most States several districts swing between R and D. Indiana although a very red State often has a Democratic Senator. That will likely happen again this time as a radical right tea partier is the Republican nominee.
Being a U.S. history buff and especially a Madison fan (father of the Constitution) I am very familiar with the reason for the Senate the way it is. It was actually more of a battling compromise to get the small States to agree to join the union. The confederation that was in place at that time, like the EU now, just wasn’t working. I stand by my belief in one-person-one-vote no matter where you reside. It just makes more sense to me. Why should a person in South Dakota have eight times the power in congress than I do simply because I live in an average size State.