U.S. democracy at work | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 14, 2010

U.S. democracy at work

Posted By on Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 6:34 AM

Good observation by Gail Collins in the New York Times. It's in the context of how a Republican victory by Scott Brown in a special election in Massachusetts could give the GOP 41 votes, enough to kill health care reform. What, you thought the majority rules?

There are 100 members of the Senate. But as Brown is currently reminding us, because of the filibuster rule, it takes only 41 to stop any bill from passing.

U.S. population: 307,006,550.

Population for the 20 least-populated states: 31,434,822.

That means that in the Senate, all it takes to stop legislation is one guy plus 40 senators representing 10.2 percent of the country.

People, think about what we went through to elect a new president — a year and a half of campaigning, three dozen debates, $1.6 billion in donations. Then the voters sent a clear, unmistakable message. Which can be totally ignored because of a parliamentary rule that allows the representatives of slightly more than 10 percent of the population to call the shots.

Why isn’t 90 percent of the country marching on the Capitol with teapots and funny hats, waving signs about the filibuster?

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