At the root of nearly every discussion concerning the flaws in our government lies the elephant in the room: Our Constitution.
While our Constitution is an amazing document that ultimately led to the creation of one of the most powerful societies in all of human history, the truth is, we’re still talking about a document that’s well over 200-years-old, written during a time when the world (and society) was a much different place.
Obviously, with only 13 states, our government was much smaller than it is today. The very 1st United States Congress had less than 100 members, making it smaller than just today’s Senate.
Imagine how much more efficient Congress would be today if we could reduce it by four-fifths.
Today, we have 50 states and 535 members of Congress.
People have often asked me why it seems like Republicans nearly always have the advantage when it comes to control of our government. There are several answers such as:
- Liberals tend to be more apathetic voters.
- Republicans tend to be older and white, the demographic that votes the most consistently.
- Gerrymandering of congressional districts.
- The GOP is much more “cult-like” in that they all buy into the same ideologies where liberals tend to be much more diverse.
- Voter ID laws tend to suppress voters who tend to vote for Democrats.
- Liberals tend to be more whiny when they don’t get their way (sorry, it’s true).
- Republicans are better at “marketing” and driving a message consistently.
- Republicans are great at exploiting people’s basic ignorance of how our government works.
The list goes on and on.
But there’s also another huge advantage Republicans have that makes it much easier for them to have more power in our government: Geography.
Liberals tend to be concentrated in more populated areas in fewer states and counties.
If you look at a county-by-county breakdown of a presidential election, it’s a ridiculous “sea of red.” Here’s that breakdown of the 2008 election when President Obama easily defeated Sen. John McCain:
If I were to take someone who knew absolutely nothing about how our elections work, or the 2008 election, and ask them who they think won, the candidate represented by red or blue, odds are they’d quickly say the “red one.”
You can literally start at nearly the most southern tip of Florida, and snake your way to basically the most northwestern edge of Washington, without having to go through a single blue county.
That’s a huge geographical advantage for Republicans. There’s a reason why the only two men since 1888 to become president without winning the popular vote were both Republicans.
As of writing this (votes are still being counted), Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump by well over two million votes – a lead that only seems to be growing as more votes get counted.
We’re seriously looking at a situation where an elected president might lose the overall popular vote by 3-4 million overall votes — which is not how democracy is supposed to work.
But the problem is, because the structure of our government and the electoral college favor geography more than actual votes, Republicans have the edge because they control the “rural” aspect of the United States where liberals are mostly concentrated in major cities or larger population centers.
This geographical advantage is seen even more in the Senate where each and every state, regardless of population, has two senators.
Very red states with fairly small populations such as Alaska, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho and West Virginia practically hand Republicans a guaranteed 20 spots in the Senate, which is a huge advantage when it comes to winning majority control.
Because liberals are much more concentrated as far as where they live, our entire structure of government benefits Republicans who tend to dominate most of the areas between our major cities and most populated areas.
While the Founding Fathers clearly didn’t mean for this to happen, nevertheless, it has become an unintended consequence based upon a nation they never knew would grow to the size that it is. In today’s society, we’ve given a fairly sizable advantage to “rural America” (aka conservatives, aka Republicans) when it comes to the overall control of our government because we’re living in a system that, while it’s not intended to, does favor geography over population when it comes to who has the majority in Congress.
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