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Congress not abiding by one man/one vote


There’s a principle (affirmed by the Supreme Court) called “one man/one vote.” It means everyone’s vote counts equally.

Speaker John Boehner claims that Republicans have a majority of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and won the election. But 1.4 million more votes were cast for Democrat representatives than for Republicans.

Does this square with one man/one vote? No. Every voter should be furious about Republican gerrymandering that produced this insult.

Consider the House of Representatives’ operation. Speaker Boehner uses the Hastert Rule, which states that unless a majority of Republican representatives favor something, it will not be brought to the floor for consideration, even if all Democrats and many Republicans are for it.

Thus, a little more than one-quarter of the House (a majority of Republicans) can control all legislation. Voters represented by that Republican blocking majority have twice as much clout as voters represented by all other representatives, Republican or Democrat. This makes a travesty of one man/one vote.

Are things better in the Senate? The Senate has the filibuster. A filibuster used to be a single senator speaking against a bill and holding up action until he or she tired or until the other senators tired of the exercise.

Now just 40 senators can threaten a filibuster and action is effectively stopped. Therefore, voters represented by those 40 threatening filibuster have about 1.25 times the clout of voters represented by the other 60.

Furthermore, on appointment confirmations, one senator can hold a nomination, stopping its consideration. Voters represented by that one senator have about fifty times the clout of voters represented by other senators, definitely not One Man-One Vote.

In 2012 Republicans lost the presidency and by an overwhelming amount lost in votes cast for representatives. They also lost their effort to take over the Senate; they have a minority. And yet, these Republican representatives and senators are blocking legislation, blocking appointments, raising false crises such as the debt ceiling, trying to defund legislation such as the Affordable Care Act and are voting against any legislation proposed by President Obama.

Seems we have the tail wagging the dog. Every voter ought to be furious at this travesty when we consider the basic fairness of one man/one vote. Let your representative and senators know that we deserve better.

John F. Dalphin


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