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October 01, 2015

Comments

Among those things they want, keeping as many actual and potential Democrats as possible from voting in 2020 seems key.

Unfortunately, from my point of view, Republican control of state legislatures is pretty firmly entrenched. The same geographic demographics (Democratic voters more concentrated in cities) that contributes to Republican over representation (by vote share) in Congress has an even greater effect in the state legislatures. Nationwide the numbers for state reps favor Republicans 55% to 43%, you can see the state by state breakdowns here:

http://ballotpedia.org/Gubernatorial_and_legislative_party_control_of_state_government

Add to that many states don't have some or all of their state seats up for grabs in presidential election years, but in off- or even odd-year elections, and the obstacles to Democrats picking up more than a few state legislatures are pretty high. Absent some major unforeseen events, muddling through seems like the best that can realistically be hoped for, even after 2020.

"And 2020 is a Presidential election year –- with the state legislators elected that year doing the drawing which will be in effect for the next decade."

Except when the control switches in the following midterm election, and some legislatures decide that they want to do an "extra" redistricting.

That we have somehow managed to stick with equal representation in the senate this long astonishes me. It is undemocratic and verges on a violation of basic human rights, ISTM. California has nearly 66 times the population of Wyoming. But the same representation in the Senate and a 53-1 advantage in the House. All by historical accident, it seems.

Also on Presidential elections - the GOP has won the popular vote once in the past 6 elections (although managed to "win" the Presidency twice). At what point do we abandon the Electoral College? Gore got half a million more votes than Bush in 2000. If, say, Hillary gets 3 million more votes than Trump in 2016, but Trump wins the electoral college, is that problematic? What if it's 5 million? 10?

You can say that if the rules were different then perhaps the vote totals would be closer as the candidates would employ different strategies (e.g., advertising strongly in California might make sense for the GOP), but at some point that's not going to hold, if we haven't reached that point already.

You can say that if the rules were different then perhaps the vote totals would be closer as the candidates would employ different strategies

Yes. But you might also see candidates taking different positions. Romney got about 5 million votes in CA to Obama's 8 million. Increasing that by 5%, to 5,250,000 gets him more votes than were cast in total in Wyoming.

Good point byomtov.

Maybe Democrats need to start colonies in thinly populated red states to increase the power of their votes. Those places tend to have nice scenery, too, so it's a win-win.

That we have somehow managed to stick with equal representation in the senate this long astonishes me. . . . All by historical accident, it seems.

Actually, no. A deliberate decision for each state to have equal representation. The senate was intended to represent the states, not the population of the states. And without a house with equal representation to protect their interests, the smaller states would have refused to ratify the Constitution.

If you want to argue for "historical accident" it would have to be that the 17th Amendment (popular election of Senators) didn't include having the number Senate seats per state determined by population.

wj - yes of course. I guess by historical accident I meant it is too hard to change and I don't think the drafters of the Constitution recognized that. In fact, it will never change unless the biggest states get together and threaten the small ones with being kicked out of the Union if they do not agree. Which also will never happen.

Changing the representation of states in the Senate, without their consent, is the one thing that is explicitly forbidden in the Constitution to be changed even by Constitutional amendment. So that immutability seems to be a feature rather than a bug.

Matt, so what you are saying is that an Amendment to change the representation of states in the Senate would have to also change the provision which forbids changing that?

As for electoral/popular vote splits, I think we might see some action the moment the Electoral College bites a Republican candidate with a popular majority rather than a Democrat.

Which could happen; in fact, the statistical modeling I've seen for the past few elections suggests that a Republican popular/Democratic electoral split is very slightly more likely than the reverse.

It's close to a wash, because the Republicans have the small-state advantage of the electoral votes they get from their Senators and the minimum of one House member, but the Democrats have the large-state advantage of winner-take-all elector allocation in nearly all states. (If a Republican state government ever succeeds in flipping a large Democratic-leaning state to proportional or district allocation, it could give them a powerful advantage in presidential elections for quite some time.)

@wj: Yes! And it's not clear that that's even possible, since if a phrase that says "you can't change that other bit even with an amendment" can itself be amended away, it would seem that it's completely meaningless. (Maybe it is, though.)

If that's not possible, then it basically means that a wholesale change to Senate representation has a threshold of ratification by all the states rather than just three-fourths.

in fact, the statistical modeling I've seen for the past few elections suggests that a Republican popular/Democratic electoral split is very slightly more likely than the reverse.

...In fact, it very nearly happened in 2004 (if Ohio had gone for Kerry, which it nearly did, he could have won without a popular plurality).

And, even in 2000, people were talking about this as a real possibility, and the Republicans were gearing up to contest President Gore's legitimacy in popular opinion if it happened that way around.

Maybe the solution is to create a third House. State representation would be proportional to population but members would be elected at large. Many of the Senate's powers could be transferred to this new body, and legislation approved by the House of Representatives and our new House could be sent to the President and become law without the Senate getting involved.

Actually, I'd settle for members of the H of R being elected at large from their states, without the gerrymandering and other nonsense that districts involve.

if Ohio had gone for Kerry, which it nearly did

Which just goes to show you: there's no accounting for bad taste.

But: it's Ohio, so maybe there is.

By the time redistricting rolls around in 2021, more states will have adopted non-partisan commissions to do the job. That's especially likely to be true for the West, where ballot initiatives are much more common. I expect the big push to come in 2018.

Combine that with likely switch in Arizona and California by then of universal vote by mail, and elections in the West are going to start looking quite different than in the rest of the country.

Michael, are there any states where you can see the state legislature voluntarily adopting non-partisan redistricting commissions? That is, without being forced into it by some kind of ballot initiative.

And I seem to recall that there are a lot of states which don't even allow ballot initiatives. Not really sure exactly how the states that do have them managed it. Or how the people of some state might manage to force it thru today.

It might even be worse than that insofar as many states have modeled their legislative branch after that found in the Constitution, i.e., two chambers. Thus you see an over allocation of seats to rural interests in the "upper" chamber.

if you think of the US as a collection of states, then both the Senate and the electoral college are sensible.

if you think of the US as a people, they area not.

we keep trying to be both. it's been a problem for us for about 240 years.

bobbyp, look up Reynolds v. Sims, SCOTUS 1964. Held that all state legislative bodies must have equal-population districts. Special deals for state senates ended right there. Of course, it's possible to gerrymander things to give the rural areas a slight advantage, at least in some states, but there are limits to how effective that can be.

wj, there was a huge Progressive wave across the western US around the turn of the last century where the voters rose up because they believed Eastern moneyed interests were buying off the western legislatures. With a considerable amount of justification for that belief, it should be said. A legislature will accept desperate measures when it is clear that all of the members will be voted out if they don't.

"Open thread," you say?

Most times, "open" threads stay more on-topic than the normal ones, so I might as well mention the "compact" whose aim, forlorn or not, is to use good federalist principles to render toothless the never-to-be-abolished Electoral College.

Having done my civic duty, blog-comment-wise, I will now start in with some Kinsley-type gaffes.

Kevin McCarthy is too stupid to be let out in public, never mind be Speaker of the House.

Papa Francesco got rolled by his American "nuncio" shilling for a twice-divorced public non-servant.

If Carly went "from secretary to CEO" then I can say with equal justice that I have gone from paperboy to owner of an engineering firm. A firm, moreover, which has never laid anybody off or lost even a single billion dollars.

Speaking of which, anybody who uses the phrase "baby body parts" un-ironically deserves Carly for POTUS.

Last mass shooting, or maybe the mass shooting before that, I declared that my contempt for "responsible" gun owners was likely to grow. It has.

"Now is not the time to talk about guns," is a convenient line, isn't it? Given the frequency and regularity with which "not the time" rolls around.

Some idiot called in to "On Point" (a locally-produced NPR talk show) this morning to say that America's problem is permissiveness, loose morals, and declining religiosity -- not guns. Heh.

Federal or Confederate, no government of The People, by The People, and for The People can ever be better than the average of The People. It can only be worse.

--TP

Russell,

Why should anyone think of the United States primarily as a collection of states? I know it started out that way, but history has made that sort of an anachronism.

Few of the states have any significant history as cohesive, independent, sovereign entities. Most are arbitrary geographic areas. They are creations of the federal government, not the other way around.

Yes, we're stuck with some notions that are held over from colonial days, when what became the first states had some degree of individual identities. But to pretend that treating the country as essentially a collection of states is a sensible way to organize things is foolish, IMO.

Michael Cain,

Yes, I overstepped. Thanks for the correction. In weak rebuttal I offer this.

Kevin McCarthy is too stupid to be let out in public, never mind be Speaker of the House.

amen.

"Why should anyone think of the United States primarily as a collection of states? I know it started out that way, but history has made that sort of an anachronism."

that's my point of view also.

my point wasn't really to advocate the whole "federation of states" thing, but just to note that it's there, and is often in conflict with the idea of the US as a polity comprising people, rather than subordinate states.

a lot of the structure of the US government was created as a compromise, to satisfy the particular interests of one group or another, and to get buy-in for the constitution itself.

some of that stuff we've gotten rid of. senators appointed by state legislatures, for example.

other stuff, we havent, and probably wont.

we don't really operate under a single, consistent understanding of the basic nature of what the polity is.

it creates problems.

Bush: "stuff happens".
http://www.politico.com/video/2015/10/jeb-bush-on-mass-shootings-stuff-happens-027599

Is he just displaying the characteristic family verbal incompetence, or is he a rather unpleasant human being ?

"Why should anyone think of the United States primarily as a collection of states?"

Mostly, because they're pissed off that black people theoretically have civil rights.

Why should anyone think of the United States primarily as a collection of states? I know it started out that way, but history has made that sort of an anachronism.

One topic where state/local politicians still think of it that way is in the western states with large federal land holdings. Based on my experience as a legislative staffer, I can guarantee you that in every one of those states, during each legislative session, the legislature will want to do something that is trivial for other states, but that becomes difficult-to-impossible because of those large land holdings. In most of those legislatures, BLM has been a nasty term for decades; all of them have to pause and think, "Oh, you mean Black Lives Matter" when they hear it these days. About every 30 years there's a big upturn in pro-federalism opinion in the western legislator population. The last one was the Sagebrush Rebellion, and we're seeing the beginnings of another wave now. Arizona and Utah have both recently passed nullification laws regarding federal land use.

Arizona and Utah have both recently passed nullification laws regarding federal land use.

How is that supposed to work, exactly?

It's not supposed to "work." It's more of a cry of protest.

Michael,

Could you give an example of, "something that is trivial for other states, but that becomes difficult-to-impossible because of those large land holdings."

I'm honestly curious.

Las Vegas has the problem of being landlocked because it's almost completely surrounded by federal holdings.

More about the reappearance in the press of the moderate Syrian rebels--

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/syria-the-times-and-myste_b_8236164.html

"Las Vegas has the problem of being landlocked because it's almost completely surrounded by federal holdings."

This is why the western states will lead the way into space.

Funny, I don't understand quite hoe time has turned one of the foundational premises of of country into an "anachronism". Because you want it to be different? This is a recurring theme here, I suppose it comes up other places too. Why is it that thr states should cede their rights to the feds? Why is it "different" now?

Slavery was another of those Foundational Premises. Anachronistic, or not?

Why is it that thr states should cede their rights to the feds?

They wouldn't be ceding their rights to the Feds. They would be ceding them to the other states. Or, to be precise, to the citizens of the other states. Who, be it noted, are also citizens of the same nation -- and, given how people move around in this country, quite possibly previously residents of those states.

Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists go right back to the start, Marty. This "foundational premise" wasn't any such thing, it was a compromise deemed necessary to reach 9/13ths consensus.

"Las Vegas has the problem of being landlocked because it's almost completely surrounded by federal holdings."

that's an odd choice for an example. Las Vegas would not exist in anything like it's present form without the help of the feds, because absent the hoover dam and lake mead it would be a moonscape.

so, two sides to that story.

"This is a recurring theme here,"

it's a recurring theme in the history of the country, beginning before it even was one country.

As an example, I give you Daniel Webster on the topic of nullification.

When the Constitution was written, the House was considered to be the people's representative in government, and the Senate the state's. See the Connecticut Compromise. That concept was reflected in how Senators were originally chosen for office - they were selected by state legislatures, not by direct election by the people themselves.

That was changed by the 17th Amendment.

Webster's argument in the piece I cite above is that the feds and the states have their separate spheres of authority, but the constituents of *both* are the people. Webster's claim is that the states, per se, ought to have no direct say or control over the federal government, because that government is constituted by *the people*, not the states.

I agree with Webster, and therefore agree with the changes made by the 17th Amendment, and other changes.

There are a number of things that the states are currently responsible for that I would very much like to see located with the feds.

Defining the qualifications for voting in any federal election, for example, as well as defining the procedures for carrying out the election, and in fact the actual implementation of those procedures. That stuff should not belong to the states.

Likewise, defining Congressional districts. The states should have nothing to do with that, as I see it.

I would very much like to see the Electoral College go away. Or, at least, that we have proportional allocation of electors, the way that Maine and (IIRC) Nebraska do it.

States shouldn't vote for federal officers. People should.

It's not supposed to "work." It's more of a cry of protest.

I can understand that.

But, it's one thing to argue that the feds hold too much land in your state, that it creates intolerable problems for your state, and that the feds should cede some back to you.

It's another to simply refuse to recognize federal authority because it creates problems for you.

One is legitimate, one is not.

Also, thanks to Michael Cain for his insightful comments, glad to see you here.

byomtov: Severance or property taxes -- the feds make, entirely at their discretion and at levels they set, "payments in lieu of taxes". Placement of roads or high-voltage transmission lines -- the feds can designate (and have) a new wilderness area and screw up long-standing plans for such construction. In parts of the West, alternate routes may have to go a hundred miles out of the way. Water use planning, in a region that's mostly semi-arid -- the SCOTUS has held that the feds may make whatever diversions they need to meet their purposes whenever they want without regard to what it does to other public or private land owners.

A historical note -- the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which said that the western states would never get control of those public lands, was passed without a single aye vote by any member of Congress from the western states that would actually be affected by it. I don't recall another instance of regional solidarity like that since the run-up to the Civil War.

I'm not taking a position here, but can honestly say that the political class in the West has a surprising amount of animosity towards the federal government as a result of this kind of thing.

russell: Thanks! I used to drop in regularly and somehow drifted away.

Marty,

We do not live in a country of small farmers. We live in a highly industrialized country, whose economy is driven by large companies, many of which operate in all or most states and many foreign countries. To regulate that on a state-by-state basis is absurd.

We operate on the basis of a national currency, not gold coins or privately issued bank notes. That requires a central bank.

The federal budget is large enough to influence economic activity.

Our armed forces are not an assembly of state militias but a large professional force relying on advanced technology. They require unified command and organization.

We live in a mobile society, where people move from state to state often and freely. Some uniformity of rules is highly desirable.

The states themselves are, for the most part, arbitrary geographic areas subdivided by the federal government. Few have any significant individual histories as separate entities prior to becoming states.

The issues that Congress deals with are national in scope. The states qua states don't have much to say about them. The people do. It is absurd to think that states as states should have a voice in say, matters of war and peace. An individual citizen of Wyoming ought to have the same voice, no more or less, than an individual citizen of California. This is true of all national issues, of which the number and complexity have grown dramatically in the past 225 years or so.

Lost States: A blog about the states that never made it... and other geographic curiosities.

Michael Cain, I'd be curious to know your thoughts on what a productive way to address some of the issues you raise might be.

One thing I will say is that water use is, very simply, a problem in much of the west, full stop. Whether the feds are driving the bus or not, it strikes me that there is, straight up, more demand for water than there is water.

And most of the significant watersheds cross state lines.

So, for instance, the Colorado River Compact involves seven states. If some state upstream decides they need more, and don't want to release more downstream, who sorts that out, absent the feds?

For the record, how to manage and distribute natural resources that could reasonably be considered a commons is not a problem unique to the west. In my area, it shows up in the form of fish.

We do not live in a country of small farmers.

Whereas, the farmers did. Many of them were.

We no longer live in an economy where private individuals function at anything remotely like a self-sufficient basis.

Hippies and preppers, maybe. Other than them, not.

Jefferson's yeoman farmer no longer exists, in anything like sufficient numbers.

For some perspective on the relationship of the western states to the federal government, see Patty Nelson Limerick's The Legacy of Conquest. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

The book is about much more than this, but the point I'm remembering in the context of the current discussion is that the western states have always insisted on demanding their ever so precious rugged independence from the federal government, except when it's time for the handouts, which they have, as it happens, always relied on for their economic viability.

For that matter, their's also a lot about the continuity of the history of the borderlands that would be relevant to another recent discussion.

Readable, fascinating book, in any case.

Or this book (a bit dated):

http://www.amazon.com/Cadillac-Desert-American-Disappearing-Revised/dp/0140178244

JanieM: The economic relationship between the West (my West, the 11 contiguous Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast states) and the older states is... complicated. It's a subject about which reasonable people can disagree. I acknowledge that I have a western bias.

There is a viable argument that absent California gold, the Union would have been unable to finance its victory in the Civil War. Granted that the western states would not have been able to borrow the cost of the big dams that were built during the Depression -- but have, by the terms of the enabling statutes, paid all of that off through local user fees. By any sane contemporary measure, the West as a region is a net tax donor relative to the rest of the country. So's the Northeast; the big sink as a region is the Southeast. How much would it cost the federal government to buy off an eastern state, close to all of those eastern nuclear reactors, to put in a spent fuel repository? A hundred billion? Two hundred? Versus simply announcing that Nevada gets screwed. "We screwed Nevada" is a direct quote from the Congressional committee chair who did that deed. Note that a big eastern repository and a small western one was the original DOE plan, as it was the plan that made engineering sense.

"The states themselves are, for the most part, arbitrary geographic areas subdivided by the federal government. Few have any significant individual histories as separate entities prior to becoming states. "

I'm not sure that "for the most part" is accurate, and it carries a lot of the weight In your view. The laundry list of things the federal government deals with is pretty accurate, I think they should do gun control too. None of that should lessen the importance of the agreement that the various States, many with significant histories, joined a Union of States, in most cases by a vote of the people in the state.

Trying to redefine that agreement or change it IS changing the fundamental structure that the people in those states agreed to, whether the argument is 225 years old or 10. And the purpose of the redefinition is to impose a majority view on a minority. Which is, the explicit argument for the current structure, all 225 years.

Texans don't want to live like people in Massachusetts. Never did. Shouldn't have to.

None of that should lessen the importance of the agreement that the various States, many with significant histories, joined a Union of States, in most cases by a vote of the people in the state.

Trying to redefine that agreement or change it IS changing the fundamental structure that the people in those states agreed to

What agreement do you think people are trying to change?

Here's Article IV of the US Constitution.

Here's the Tenth Amendment.

Is there more to it than that?

Who is trying to make Texans live like folks in MA?

Didn't Rick Perry travel to Massachusetts some time back to try and convince Massachusettanians, or whatever they call themselves, to not only become more like Texans, but to set right down on the horse and live like Texans?

Does a barbecue sauce bib come with the welcoming swag bag?

I guess the Bush family is hedging their bets by keeping the place in Kennebunkport.

I hear tell George W. Bush drops the fake drawl when he's in Maine and says things like "Nor'easter due soon up heah. Someone pass me that last lobsta roll. You know, in Texas, where ah say ah come from, some of them install "decorative" wrought-iron bahs on the windows of their homes and businesses. Must be the Spanish influence, heh, heh, heh. In Maine, we don't lock our doors and we let the sea air in at night through open windows."

Some Coloradans, not me, whine about Texans and Californians buying up real estate and land in Colorado.

I kid.

None of that should lessen the importance of the agreement that the various States, many with significant histories, joined a Union of States, in most cases by a vote of the people in the state.

Yes. They joined a union of states. But I see that as a little less significant than you do. It's not like they had the choice of joining a country with a stronger, or weaker, central government. They took what was on offer.

Texans don't want to live like people in Massachusetts. Never did. Shouldn't have to.

Well, that depends I think on what it means to "live like people in Massachusetts."

Also, I don't see some huge change or redefinition. The Constitution has a lot of language that can be interpreted in varying ways. So we have the freedom to act in ways that are suitable to modern exigencies, and that accord with the current state of our understanding of the world.

This has always been one of my complaints with those who say, "The framers never intended...." "No one ever thought..." We don't know, can't know, what intentions were for situations that they likely never thought about in any meaningful, informed way.

Yes. They joined a union of states

What does this "union of states" mean, exactly?

Is the United States a government formed of states, or of people?

This is not an idle question, because it is the basis of issues like the legitimacy of nullification, the prerogative to secede at will, etc.

The feds have a sphere of responsibility. What doesn't belong to them, belongs to the states, or to the people.

The feds' sphere is quite broad, and includes virtually all responsibilities that belong to sovereign states in any international context, as well as most or all things internal to the nation that cross state boundaries. In addition, states are required to respect the public acts, records, and proceedings of other states.

I'm trying to understand what "fundamental structure" was agreed to that you think is under threat by any of the comments in this thread.

One of the reasons the South seceded was because the federal government was allowing northern states to get away with nullification.

Trying to redefine that agreement or change it IS changing the fundamental structure that the people in those states agreed to, whether the argument is 225 years old or 10.

Current understandings of what those states agreed to is by no means the same as what was understood when some - but not other - states made said agreements. See e.g. incorporation, to pick a fairly drastic example. The understanding is not what it once was, and the various states agreed to various understandings. Should each state be allowed to argue in perpetuity for the understanding that was contemporary at the time of their individual ascension?

Some liberals in Austin, Texas don't want to live like the rest of Texas does, but gerrymandering shut that down pretty tight.

russell: Who is trying to make Texans live like folks in MA?

Amazon? Apple? Google? Microsoft? Asked the other way around, certain media outlets and most GOP hopefuls.

Marty: ...whether the argument is 225 years old or 10 ...

"The people" of the states who voted to join the Union are all dead, with the possible exception of a few Alaskans and Hawaiians. To say that the people of present-day Texas voted to join the Union is akin to saying that the New York Yankees are the team of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Yogi Berra.

--TP

One of the reasons the South seceded was because the federal government was allowing northern states to get away with nullification.

What, no link?

i'm not sure the northern states' opposition to the Fugitive Slave Acts is going to be seen as a negative by many people.

What, no link?

[...]
Moreover, northerners’ use of defiance and nullification helped embolden the South to secede from the Union a decade later. Americans recognized that they were the ultimate defenders of their own liberty, and as such many believed that the next logical step after defiance and nullification was secession. The Fugitive Slave Act hastened that secession and helped bring on the most terrible war in American history.

Nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act

What about Mickey Mantle?

Arizona types constantly complain they don't want to live like anyone else.

Then get to it and give me my goddamned f*cking Rocky Mountain water back.

Kansas and Oklahoma moan about Denver's air pollution and ozone levels and Colorado's coal-fired power plants sending plumes of guck into their precious lungs.

Hey, face East and breath and then shut yer gobs.

Jeb Bush said the Keystone Pipeline approval is a no-brainer (he's definitely qualified) and would happen his first day in office.

Tell that to the armed conservative Republican landowners in the states the thing passes through who don't want it crossing their lands for Houston's and Canada's benefit.

We can do this all day.

I just returned from Utah (Dinosaur National Park; I recommend). Crossed the state border twice, coming and going; in fact, got out of the car and looked down on the ground and tried to see it, to no avail.

I hopped from one side to the other a couple of times like Walter Huston in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" doing his little celebratory jig after the gold was blown away to the four winds, and couldn't tell the difference

Except for the lack of alcohol I was forced, I say, FORCED to live under in Utah.

Now THAT is a mockery of a travesty.

A wall, I say, a WALL!

"i'm not sure the northern states' opposition to the Fugitive Slave Acts is going to be seen as a negative by many people."

Give it time. Still months to go in the Republican primary.

By the time it's done, and us too, Ben Carson will shackle his feet and hands together and turn himself (as stolen property) into the Governor of southern state to be sold to the highest bidder to a plantation owner, and when someone expresses outrage, probably a former Siamese twin, he'll accuse them of the awful political correctness that has been ruining the country since Lincoln was elected.

When given a choice of being lynched or enrolled in Obamacare, he'll choose the former.

I will answer the key question "who is asking Texans to live like etc."

It is asking everyone in the US to live the way the Northeastern states, plus the Peoples Republic, live every time the proposal is to change the makeup of the Senate to representation by population.

Despite the objections here, the agreement between the incoming states and the Federal government, and the other states, was often a negotiation and compromise to protect, where necessary, the states rights and way of life. The Senate was the sales tool for that. You, as a state, will be equal to all of the other states.

I can't get rid of my land in Colorado.

"Arizona types constantly complain they don't want to live like anyone else."

Especially those retired and living on the public dole, who spent their lives in Massachusetts, until they picked up stakes and moved last Spring.

They'd have chosen fun in the sun in Florida, but for the alligators and the Cubans.

Who wants to live like that?

"I can't get rid of my land in Colorado."

Beachfront property, is it?

Texas wanted to enter the union as a slave state. But slave states weren't allowed to have any territory north of the 36°30′ parallel. Texas gave up a slice which, in due time, became the panhandle of Oklahoma.

I will answer the key question "who is asking Texans to live like etc."

It is asking everyone in the US to live the way the Northeastern states, plus the Peoples Republic, live every time the proposal is to change the makeup of the Senate to representation by population.

I somehow missed how having some variable number of senators affected my lifestyle. When one of the senators dies in office, does that change my accent? The food available at the supermarket?

Or is it just the proposals that would make me live like someone somewhere else? Does it matter if the proposals are just ignored, seeing has they have slightly less chance of passage than a USA/Iceland political union?

Methinks thou dost complain too much.

I can't get rid of my land in Colorado.

Is it near one of these places?

It is asking everyone in the US to live the way the Northeastern states, plus the Peoples Republic, live every time the proposal is to change the makeup of the Senate to representation by population.

and living the gun-stroking Texas lifestyle is getting us a mass shooting every two weeks, a school shooting every 6 weeks. and we have to live this way because we're currently interpreting another bullshit Constitutional compromise in an absurdly a-textual way. but it's what "conservatives" demand. so here we are.

...the agreement between the incoming states and the Federal government, and the other states, was often a negotiation and compromise to protect, where necessary, the states rights and way of life.

cite?

One of the reasons the South seceded was because the federal government was allowing northern states to get away with nullification.

STATES RIGHTS!!!!!!

hahahahahahahahahahahahah.......

"Texas wanted to enter the union as a slave state. But slave states weren't allowed to have any territory north of the 36°30′ parallel. Texas gave up a slice which, in due time, became the panhandle of Oklahoma."

No doubt the would-be slaves objected to living like Texans did.

Actually, the reason the panhandle became part of Oklahoma, eventually, is because Massachusetts didn't think it was fair that Texas might end up with TWO panhandles.

For a time, that piece of land was called "No-Man's Land", which I wish was the name of at least one state still.

And settled only by women to this day.

How does the gentlewoman from No Man's Land vote on the legislation?

That's for me to know and you to find out.

It's amazing the lengths some Arizonaronimoes will go to to NOT live like Massachusettonians:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/american-airlines-pilot-dies

How does the gentlewoman from No Man's Land vote on the legislation?

That's for me to know and you to find out.

I needed that laugh today. Keep the land.

It is asking everyone in the US to live the way the Northeastern states, plus the Peoples Republic, live every time the proposal is to change the makeup of the Senate to representation by population.

First of all, "the Northeastern states" don't all live the same way.

NY ain't Maine. Never mind Maine, NY ain't even just one thing. Go to NYC, then go almost anywhere north of Albany, or west of the Catskills. Never mind Albany, anywhere north of Nyack. Or, maybe, Yonkers.

Secondly, Texas, all by itself, has twice the population of, not just the good old People's Republic, but all of New England combined.

So, whatever.

California is the big dog, population-wise, but California is also not even remotely one kind of place.

Despite the objections here, the agreement between the incoming states and the Federal government, and the other states, was often a negotiation and compromise to protect, where necessary, the states rights and way of life.

The rights that are guaranteed to the states, and protected by the Constitution, are the ones that are discussed *in* the Constitution.

The process of any given state joining the US quite often did involve negotiation and compromises of various kinds. Especially during the slavery era, but also after.

And, once they were in, they were in. They were thereafter entitled to exactly the same collection of obligations, rights, and privileges as any other state.

A given state's "way of life", like any other place's way of life, is subject to conditions that are far beyond the capacity of any national government to control.

Seriously, I'm at a loss as to what you're on about.

You appear to believe that The Northeast, however that is defined, is imposing its lifestyle on poor beleaguered Texas.

What the heck are you talking about?

My guess: Guns.

Moreover, northerners’ use of defiance and nullification helped embolden the South to secede from the Union a decade later.

LOL.

I belong to a church that was first assembled in 1629.

During the pre-Civil War days, when the Fugitive Slave Act was in force, bounty-hunters would come north to "return property to its proper owner".

Oftentimes, they would grab a few free blacks while they were at it, just to sweeten the pot.

Our minister at the time kept a revolver in the pulpit. Harass anyone in the congregation, or probably even within his line of sight, and he'd shoot your @ss.

So, yes, defiance and nullification.

Folks should always be careful what they wish for.

"My guess: Guns."

That, and some of the western and southern states with high murder and suicide rates and high gun possessions don't want to die like those from Massachusetts do --- from mostly natural causes:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state

It is asking everyone in the US to live the way the Northeastern states, plus the Peoples Republic, live every time the proposal is to change the makeup of the Senate to representation by population.

I take it that demanding that those elsewhere live like Texans when it comes to gun laws is totally acceptable. But not demanding that Texans like like those elsewhere when it comes to other issues. Glad to have that clarified.

As an anecdotal aside, I'll also say that, as a northeasterner, and especially, for 30+ years, a New Englander, it often strikes me as odd when folks from other parts of the country talk about their "long-standing traditions".

McK, in another thread, talks about not wanting Houston to turn into northern Mexico.

About 170 years ago, Texas *was* northern Mexico. Some of the folks who live there now are the descendants of people who lived there when it was Mexico, and just never left.

Why should they? They were there first.

A lot of, maybe most of, the West was permanently settled by English-speaking people less than 200 years ago. In a lot of cases, much less. Excluding forts and other military installations, some places weren't really settled until the early 20th C.

Where I live, and where I grew up, the 19th C is not very long ago. Buildings built then are not considered to be particularly old, most towns and cities were already 100 or 200 years old then. Northern New England was in the process of re-foresting itself, after the great-grandkids of the first settlers got sick of farming rocks and either moved to the cities for a factory job, or moved to Ohio where there was actually some topsoil.

Among other things, my grandfather was born in 1879.

It just doesn't seem all that long ago, to me.

What seem like "long-standing traditions" sometimes might not be.

Different perspectives.

Plus, you know, times change. Frontier days are over.

My guess: Guns.

FWIW, if I recall correctly Marty is on record as being fine with stronger gun regulations, and at the federal level.

So, I doubt his thing is guns.

Plus, as far as I know, the state of MA has had absolutely zero effect on gun regulations in TX.

some of the western and southern states with high murder and suicide rates and high gun possessions don't want to die like those from Massachusetts do --- from mostly natural causes

We die from traffic-induced apoplexy. If we survive that, we die from shoveling snow.

If we survive that, we die of old age on an Registry of Motor Vehicles line.

If I were in TX, I might not want to live like MA either.

To each, their own.

Russell, don't be so literal. The concept that the industrialized states want to have more say over the southern and western states by making the senate population based is the attempt to get around a constitutional protection for those states with smaller populations.

There is in this thread that old chestnut brought back to life. Yes Texas has the population, but the intent and result would be that the coasts, and I was referring to the peoples republic of california not Cambridge, would run the country.

"As an anecdotal aside, I'll also say that, as a northeasterner, and especially, for 30+ years, a New Englander, it often strikes me as odd when folks from other parts of the country talk about their "long-standing traditions"."

You can buy an old wagon wheel in Colorado from probably 125 years ago. We have a long-standing tradition of calling crap like that an antique and selling it to unsuspecting Easterners who just got off the Mayflower.

Marty is on record for better gun regs, so this isn't for him:

But, yeah, it's the guns:

No wait, it's the women:

http://www.donotlink.com/framed?787340

Do your part, men, and stand up and shoot, That's your natural inclination. Don't be stymied.

And if you are, you know who to blame -- your Mommy, your Aunts, your female grade-school teachers, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, your first girlfriend, the Statue of Liberty, that feminizing harridan, and who to shoot next.

See, the writer of that article ( who claims to be gay, with the proviso that the article might be a ruse; I don't know, does Breitbart do funny?) fits my rule that the conservative movement is a big tent that accepts anyone from any racial, sexual, religious, real estate developer, or interplanetary category, as long as they are the biggest as*hats that category has to offer.

They don't settle for any of your run-of-the-mill a*shates. Only the worst will do.


If I recall correctly, that famous saying went, "Of the People, by the People, and for the People", not "of the states, by the states, and for the states".

However, I dare say that if things were reversed and states like Oklahoma and Kansas were the centers of "progressivism" (like they actually were in the 1890's)the shoes would be on opposite feet.

Such is politics.

Nacogdoches, the oldest city in Texas, was founded in 1779. Nothing on New Amsterdam I guess. Although there's evidence that it has been a settlement, perhaps not continuously, for 10,000 years.

the writer of that article is a very very confused person.

the intent and result would be that the coasts, and I was referring to the peoples republic of california not Cambridge, would run the country.

On behalf of those living in the Peoples Republic of California, let me say that many here would be delighted if Texas (and the rest of the Old Confederacy) decamped. Then we wouldn't have to keep paying the taxes which support them. (Not to mention which pay for things like aircraft that the military doesn't even want, but which provide jobs across every Congressional district there.)

I think the response here would be "Don't let the door hit you on the backside on the way out."

(I should probably note that there are lots of fine people in Texas. And all the rest of those states. But they seem to be outnumbered, at least among the voting public, but the reactionary nut cases. Not conservative, mind, but reactionary -- albeit longing for a past that never was.)

"Nacogdoches, the oldest city in Texas, was founded in 1779. Nothing on New Amsterdam I guess. Although there's evidence that it has been a settlement, perhaps not continuously, for 10,000 years."

Yes, but those were migrant immigrants who followed the fauna and the pollen where it was headed. It wasn't like they were Puritans or anything, seeking a place where their narrow-mindedness could seek refuge from others' narrow-mindednesses.

I understand you can get some primo, antique (in the Spanish cathedral-style from 16th-Century Spain imported by the conquistadors), wrought-iron decorative (wink, wink) window coverings down thereabouts for a pittance.

A steal, I should say.

As Cortes said to Moctezuma: "We bring you syphilis and wrought-iron window coverings to exchange for your gold and your women. If you don't like those principles, we have others. By the way, if YOU Aztecs had thought up wrought-iron window coverings, we wouldn't have been able to rape and pillage you, would we?"

Slightly alternative history brought to you by fractured fairy tales by way of Bullwinkle, as exceptional American comedian.


I want Southwestern Pueblos to live like we do here in New Jersey, only because their long-standing traditions have yet to be disrupted.

Syphilis is a new world disease. Though Europeans certainly help spread it about the Americas.

The concept that the industrialized states want to have more say over the southern and western states by making the senate population based is the attempt to get around a constitutional protection for those states with smaller populations.

I don't really have a big problem with the Senate being two per state, and the House being proportional.

The net result is that rural areas - places with relatively low populations - are represented to a degree greater than their population would otherwise support.

As a practical matter, that keeps them from basically being run over by everybody else.

That doesn't just help places like the mountain West, it helps places like VT, ME, NH and RI. By land area, most of New England.

So, the way the Senate is set up *today* - post-17th A - is OK with me, as a practical matter.

What I don't agree with is the idea that states *per se* should have control over, or an ability to override, the federal government.

I agree with the 17th Amendment, because IMO *people* should elect their representatives directly, not via intermediaries at the state government level.

I'm against the electoral college as currently constituted, because *people* should vote for national officers, not states.

I'd be happier with the electoral system if electors were allocated proportionately to votes within the state, like they do in Maine and Nebraska, and that would still retain an advantage for small-population states.

That would also encourage people running for POTUS to campaign everywhere, instead of just in the bigger states and/or swing states.

But I'd really prefer all national offices to be a matter of straight-up popular vote.

What I'm absolutely against is the whole nullification BS. The folks with the authority to interpret the Constitution are the SCOTUS.

In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

Article III, Section 2.

The SCOTUS. Not the Solons of South Carolina, not Rick Perry, not some county sheriff, not some dude who just anointed himself or herself a "sovereign citizen".

" The concept that the industrialized states want to have more say over the southern and western states by making the senate population based is the attempt to get around a constitutional protection for those states with smaller populations."

Yeah, it's just insane how MA has the option of splitting into four states, quadrupling its representation in the Senate, any time they feel like messing up the south.

Oh, wait.

Nacogdoches, the oldest city in Texas, was founded in 1779.

Colonel Antonio Gil Y'Barbo, a prominent Spanish trader, emerged as the leader of the settlers, and in the spring of 1779, he led a group back to Nacogdoches. Later that summer, Nacogdoches received designation from Spain as a pueblo, or town, thereby making it the first "town" in Texas

I'm not sure that makes the point you were hoping to make.

does Breitbart do funny?

Not intentionally.

The concept that the industrialized states want to have more say over the southern and western states by making the senate population based is the attempt to get around a constitutional protection for those states with smaller populations.

Well, yes. But I don't quite the problem with that. This is because I don't think it makes much sense to say that "states" should have a voice in national policy as states. I think the people in the staes shoudl have a voice, and right now that voice is wildly unequal. So I don't get why it's desirable to give "Wyoming" the same voice in the Senate as "California" when that automatically means a random Californian has vastly less voice than a random Wyomingite(?).

IOW, let's say some issue is up for debate. Whether to invade Iraq, say. Californians are against, 60-40. Wyomingites are for, 60-40. How can it possibly make sense that these count the same?

Who's going to pay the bills? Where are the troops going to come from? And most important, why should the judgment of a few hundred thousand people in Wyoming count as much as that of millions in California?

The answer that "They are both states" simply begs the question. It's saying it should be that way because it is. That's not enough.

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