United States Senate Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)
The US Senate requires reform; it does not represent the people of the US. I would prefer to reform the Senate by increasing the number of Senators so that half of them represent their states’ populations, but that would require a Constitutional amendment. We may be required to use the nuclear option, which is the elimination of the filibuster. However, there is another method of reform which retains the filibuster and does not require a Constitutional amendment, changing state boundaries.
The western interior of the US is overrepresented in the Senate, at least in the number of Senators representing very small populations. If we merged five pairs of two small states into one larger state, that would reduce the number of Senators from 100 to 90 and reduce votes needed for cloture from 60 to 54. Merging 10 states into 5 would have a small effect on the House of Representatives, but a much greater impact on the Senate. The same effect approximately could be achieved by splitting California into 5 or more states. Either option or a combination of both is possible under the Constitution as written, no amendment required.
This is my list of states to be merged with a possible name for the combined state:
Arizona and New Mexico into Alto Mexico or Upper Mexico
Nevada and Utah into Utada or Greater Deseret
Idaho and Montana into Idana or Blue Skies
Wyoming and Colorado into Coloradoming or Mountain
North Dakota and South Dakota into Dakota
Southern Utah Thunderbirds athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The number one reason people visit Saint George here in warm and sunny Southern Utah is softball. With that thought in mind, I decided to create a fictitious league of teams from the surrounding area. Initially there were four teams, but I have decided to expand it to eight. These teams do not exist, but they should. My favorite is the Mesquite, Nevada team.
Saint George Dragons
Cedar City Waxwings
Colorado City Slickers
Santa Clara Rivers
Birth certificate (Photo credit: maxim off)
In order to renew a driver’s license here in Utah, one must present three documents: an original Social Security card, a utility bill or bank statement as proof of address, and a state issued birth certificate. My original hospital-issued birth certificate from 1941 was not good enough. I had to go online and pay $25.00 for a state issued certificate. A birth certificate from Cook County, Illinois was not good enough either. The license renewal for 5 years cost $13.00 while the unnecessary birth certificate, to my mind, was nearly twice that. Additionally, I must return to the DMV office which is halfway to Hurricane so that my license will finally be issued. A real waste of time and money.
Here in Utah, the only election that really matters are the GOP caucuses. I participated in one in 2012 and no ID was required. In fact, one of the hosts didn’t know how to respond when I tried to prove my identity. When I voted in person, we showed ID. Now that I vote by mail, no ID is required. If it possible to register to vote when getting a driver’s license, and it is, it should work the other way too. A registered voter should not be put to the expense of furnishing a state issued birth certificate when the applicant can show proof of birth and already has a Utah driver’s license.
Official portrait of United States Senator Mike Lee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mike Lee is the junior senator from Utah, elected in 2010 and a TEA Party favorite. He was interviewed on the tube yesterday about the Senate rejection of the UN treaty on the disabled. One reason for the rejection that he put forward is that some lawyers interpret part of the treaty to allow abortions. That is reasoning that only a lawyer could love.
English: Electoral college map for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 United States presidential elections, using apportionment data released by the US Census Bureau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Elections have consequences and the election of 2010 had more consequences than many elections because it was a census year. After a census, the House Congressional districts usually must be redrawn and the GOP legislatures in several states used the opportunity to Gerrymander districts in their favor. Essentially that is how the GOP managed to retain control of the House in the US Congress.
However, it gets worse. There is a move afoot in several states to award electoral votes to presidential candidates, not on the present winner take all basis, but on who carries each Congressional district. That would mean that Gerrymandering Congressional districts would affect the results of presidential elections. If that system were in effect in 2012, Mitt would have won.
We must pushback on the GOP effort to stack the deck in their favor. If we fail to do that, I would favor the elimination of the Electoral College. I live in a severely conservative state, Utah, and I feel that my vote in presidential elections does not matter. I would like to eliminate the concentration of campaign efforts in swing states so that everyone’s vote counts equally. One man/woman, one vote.
Please see Gerrymander