Tag: senate

Minority Rule

‘Having more Reps than any other state’ does not mean “the population is equitably represented”. The number of people represented by those Representatives (or electoral college delegates, for that matter)? Each House member represents ~702k Californians. Each electoral delegate represents ~677k Californians.
Congressional apportionment isn’t fractional, so there’s over- and under- representation — the distribution just advantages different states. Rhode Island had just over a million people in the 2010 census but have two reps — each of those individuals represent some 500k Rhode Islanders. There are states that fair worse in the HoR — Montana had just under a million and have one rep.
Taking the American government as a whole — low-population density states are over-represented in the Senate and Electoral College — which also means they are over-represented in SCOTUS. Asserting “the majority have a chance to win one half of the Legislature … a chance to create an impasse where nothing gets done” isn’t the most functional form of government imaginable. I understand and appreciate the “minority rights” idea behind over-representation. And, obviously, those in the minority will view the situation differently. But there’s a difference between the minority having enough power to force compromises toward their position and minority rule with … well, seemingly “fuck you”. Or minority rule with a majority who are able to prevent legislative changes (leading to the prevalence of Executive Orders).

 

Number of people represented by each rep in the Senate:

This is where I’d know small populations are over-represented. Two senators regardless of population — a state with a hundred residents would have two senators. Obviously we don’t have a state with a hundred residents — but the least populous states are the ‘best deal for residents’ list — lowest number of people represented by each Senator

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Senators # Represented per Senator
52  Wyoming 563,626 2                                     281,813.0
50  Vermont 625,741 2                                     312,870.5
49  North Dakota 672,591 2                                     336,295.5
48  Alaska 710,231 2                                     355,115.5
47  South Dakota 814,180 2                                     407,090.0
46  Delaware 897,934 2                                     448,967.0
45  Montana 989,415 2                                     494,707.5
44  Rhode Island 1,052,567 2                                     526,283.5
43  New Hampshire 1,316,470 2                                     658,235.0
42  Maine 1,328,361 2                                     664,180.5

And the most populous sates are the ‘worst deal for residents’ list — highest number of people represented by  each Senator

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Senators # Represented per Senator
1  California 37,253,956 2                               18,626,978.0
2  Texas 25,145,561 2                               12,572,780.5
3  New York 19,378,102 2                                  9,689,051.0
4  Florida 18,801,310 2                                  9,400,655.0
5  Illinois 12,830,632 2                                  6,415,316.0
6  Pennsylvania 12,702,379 2                                  6,351,189.5
7  Ohio 11,536,504 2                                  5,768,252.0
8  Michigan 9,883,640 2                                  4,941,820.0
9  Georgia 9,687,653 2                                  4,843,826.5
10  North Carolina 9,535,483 2                                  4,767,741.5

 

Number of people represented by each rep in the House of Representatives:

But the apportionment in the House of Representatives isn’t as equitable as one might assume. It’s a different list of states under- and over- represented … but one rep from Rhode Island represents half a million people. One rep from Montana represents just short of a million people!

Best deal for residents — small number of people represented by each rep

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Reps # Represented per Rep
44  Rhode Island 1,052,567 2                             526,283.5
52  Wyoming 563,626 1                             563,626.0
39  Nebraska 1,826,341 3                             608,780.3
38  West Virginia 1,852,994 3                             617,664.7
50  Vermont 625,741 1                             625,741.0
43  New Hampshire 1,316,470 2                             658,235.0
24  South Carolina 4,625,364 7                             660,766.3
21  Minnesota 5,303,925 8                             662,990.6
42  Maine 1,328,361 2                             664,180.5
13  Washington 6,724,540 10                             672,454.0

Worst deal for residents — high number of people represented by each rep:

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Reps # Represented per Rep
45  Montana 989,415 1                           989,415.00
46  Delaware 897,934 1                           897,934.00
47  South Dakota 814,180 1                           814,180.00
40  Idaho 1,567,582 2                           783,791.00
27  Oregon 3,831,074 5                           766,214.80
31  Iowa 3,046,355 4                           761,588.75
25  Louisiana 4,533,372 6                           755,562.00
28  Oklahoma 3,751,351 5                           750,270.20
18  Missouri 5,988,927 8                           748,615.88
32  Mississippi 2,967,297 4                           741,824.25

 

Electoral College:

The combination of which yields the over and under representation in the Electoral College (and the reason I think the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is such a good idea).

Best deal:

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Electoral Delegates # Represented per Delegate
52  Wyoming 563,626 3 187,875
51  District of Columbia 601,723 3 200,574
50  Vermont 625,741 3 208,580
49  North Dakota 672,591 3 224,197
48  Alaska 710,231 3 236,744
44  Rhode Island 1,052,567 4 263,142
47  South Dakota 814,180 3 271,393
46  Delaware 897,934 3 299,311
43  New Hampshire 1,316,470 4 329,118
45  Montana 989,415 3 329,805

And the worst deal

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Electoral Delegates # Represented per Delegate
1  California 37,253,956 55 677,345
3  New York 19,378,102 29 668,210
2  Texas 25,145,561 38 661,725
4  Florida 18,801,310 29 648,321
5  Illinois 12,830,632 20 641,532
7  Ohio 11,536,504 18 640,917
10  North Carolina 9,535,483 15 635,699
6  Pennsylvania 12,702,379 20 635,119
11  New Jersey 8,791,894 14 627,992
8  Michigan 9,883,640 16 617,728

Divide by Zero Error

None of which speak to the almost five million people who are unrepresented in the Legislature. Or the just short of one million people who aren’t even represented in the Electoral College.

Size Rank State 2010 Population per Census Reps # Represented per Rep Senators # Represented per Senator Electoral Delegates # Represented per Delegate
29  Puerto Rico 3,725,789 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0!
51  District of Columbia 601,723 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 3 200,574
53  Guam 159,358 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0!
54  U.S. Virgin Islands 106,405 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0!
56  Northern Mariana Islands 53,883 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0!
55  American Samoa 55,519 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0! 0 #DIV/0!

 

And the spreadsheet, in case it’s useful to someone else.