Progressives, Leave the Senate Alone

Source: Independent Institute
by William F Shughart II

“It can be shown, as James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock do in The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, that a bicameral legislature whose members vote by simple majority rule is equivalent to requiring a supermajority (two-thirds or three-quarters) for passing bills in a unicameral legislature, but only if the seats in the House and Senate are apportioned on different representational bases. In other words, it is harder for special-interest groups (Madison’s “factions”) to get legislation enacted when they must ‘buy’ majorities in two chambers of unequal size elected from distinctive constituencies than if representatives and senators are beholden essentially to the same electorates, which would be true when seats in both chambers are apportioned based on population.” (09/20/22)