Our states are blocks of land created by artificial boundaries almost solely by political decision. Only two, Alaska and Hawaii, wholly represent true geographic boundaries. Initially, the 13 colonies that became states had comparable populations, primarily revolving around urban centers. In the six months following the enactment of the U.S. Constitution in 1788, eleven states were ratified and by the turn of the century the number had increased to sixteen. As our citizens migrated westward, new states were ratified. Most of these states had paltry populations in comparison that of the original thirteen.
Initially, two males of each state were chosen by each state legislature as senators. It wasn’t until 1912 that the 17th Amendment transferred the election of senators to the people by popular vote. But, the limitation of two per state remained.
In light of the unequal changes in populations in our fifty states and the U.S. Senate constitutionally having the final authority in matters regarding the most critical of our Nation’s business, we remain established in a “democratic” process regarding this body that lacks the democratic principles of equal representation. The Senate can wage war, control federal legislation, appoint judges (and deny appointments through blocking voting), and, as now, excuse impeachable acts by a President. Yet (as noted recently) it may not necessarily represent the sentiment of the majority of the US citizenry.
Current representation of the Senate per individual state gives the Republicans a 53% majority yet their members represent only 47% of the US population. Even more sinister statistically, given current state population numbers, the lowest populated 26 states represent about 18% of the population and yet could control the Senate. Such numbers should give one concern that maybe our “democratic” system is a bit out-of-whack. And I didn’t even start on the Electoral College!
In essence, I believe the vote in Trump’s impeachment trial bears out Isaac Asimov’s assertion:
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.