March 05, 2005

Another Nuclear Option!

Jon Chait is correct: Democrats are way too attached to interests in their own states to commit in any unified way to broader, national liberal goals. Hence we see Joe Biden, an otherwise decent guy, supporting that miserable bankruptcy bill solely because it included perks for Delaware. And so on.

But, then again, of course Chait's right! "Local interests" trump the national interest time and time again because... warning, here it comes... we have a system of government obsessed with local interests. Really, now. House districts. State Senators. The electoral college. It's sick. The answer isn't to pretend we can find better Democrats who somehow—magically—stop caring about their home states. (These people do need to get elected, please remember.) No, the answer is to make more national politicians that don't have to worry about local constituencies at all. To that end, I say blow up the Senate, and blow it up good. Get rid of half of the state-based senators and replace them with 50 new "at-large" senators who are elected on a national ballot, via either proportional representation or the Hare method. I prefer Hare. Others might not.

But when the dust settles, we still have 50 state-based senators, as per constitutional requirements, who can niggle away to their heart's content over very important issues like ethanol subsidies and white-tailed prairie dogs. It'll be fun watching them tussle. Meanwhile the 50 "at-large" blokes can get together and try to make actual, sensible economic policy that's good for the entire nation.
-- Brad Plumer 5:41 AM || ||