We Need to Improve

I continue to believe that the United States of America is the greatest country that has ever existed. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have problems. Today I want to talk about three of them. Yeah, I know. I’ve used this blog to complain about these problems before. And probably will again. But harping on our failings might help resolve them.

My first two peeves are with out political system, both of which threaten democracy. The first is the requirement we elect two senators from each state, no matter the population. That means that the vote of each resident of the state with the smallest population, Wyoming (576,851 in the 2020 census), is almost seventy times more powerful than the vote of each citizen of California (with a population of almost forty million). We can change that by a constitutional amendment that links the number of senators to the population.

The second peeve is the Electoral College. It is not the popular vote but the Electoral College vote that decides who will be president. Because most states give all their Electoral College votes to the candidate with the majority of popular votes—no matter how close the contest—it is possible for a candidate to win the presidency without winning the popular vote. Twice in the last few years, the presidential election was determined by the Electoral College, not the popular vote: in 2000 when George W. Bush won and in 2016 when Donald Trump won. The latter was the most spectacular: Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 2.9 million but lost the electoral college count to Trump.

And finally, our national inequity. The richest 0.01 percent of American households, a group that represents about 31,500 people, has an average household income of $43 million—1,807 times more income than the bottom 20 percent. And 68 percent of the total wealth in the U. S. is owned by the top 10 percent of earners. In comparison, the lowest 50 percent of earners only owned 3.3 percent of the total wealth. That top 10 percent make more income than the next 90 percent combined.

In short, we Americans have some real problems to solve. We won’t be able to make progress in resolving them as along as the Republicans retain enough power to maintain the status quo which very much benefits them. My sense is that Trump has so damaged the GOP that it will fade over time. Watch what happens in the 2024 election. If the Democrats score a great victory, as I expect, we can move forward on solving our problems.

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