I used to think that the fact that the Senate is an institution that has lost its purpose and now gives rural residents grossly excessive and illegitimate political power was no biggie.

Yes, the constituents of a Senate majority would have to be bought-off in any significant piece of legislation. But rural populations were poor, relatively speaking, and becoming poorer. Thus their excessive political voice partially cushioned them from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune was not the worst thing in the world. But that would require that they be rational and somewhat public-spirited actors—not the easily-grifted victims of racist neo-fascist clowns.

We need Senate reform. It should start with Senate committee chairships automatically going to the senators from the most populous states. It should continue from there: Paul Krugman: The New Economy and the Trump Rump: "Why we went from regional divide to political chasm: ... A little over a year ago, Amazon invited cities and states to offer bids for a proposed second headquarters. This set off a mad scramble over who would gain the dubious privilege of paying large subsidies in return for worsened traffic congestion and higher housing prices. (Answer: New York and greater D.C.) But not everyone was in the running. From the beginning, Amazon specified that it would put the new facility only in a Democratic congressional district. O.K., that’s not literally what Amazon said. It only limited the competition to 'metropolitan areas with more than one million people' and 'urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent'...

...But in the next Congress the great majority of locations meeting those criteria will, in fact, be represented by Democrats.

Over the past generation, America’s regions have experienced a profound economic divergence. Rich metropolitan areas have gotten even richer, attracting ever more of the nation’s fastest growing industries. Meanwhile, small towns and rural areas have been bypassed, forming a sort of economic rump left behind by the knowledge economy. Amazon’s headquarters criteria perfectly illustrate the forces behind that divergence. Businesses in the new economy want access to large pools of highly educated workers, which can be found only in big, rich metropolitan areas. And the location decisions of companies like Amazon draw even more high-skill workers to those areas. In other words, there’s a cumulative, self-reinforcing process at work that is, in effect, dividing America into two economies. And this economic division is reflected in political division.

In 2016, of course, the parts of America that are being left behind voted heavily for Donald Trump. News organizations responded with many, many, many profiles of rural Trump supporters sitting in diners. But this was, it turns out, fighting the last war. Trumpism turned America’s lagging regions solid red, but the backlash against Trumpism has turned its growing regions solid blue. Some of the reporters interviewing guys in diners should have been talking to college-educated women in places like California’s Orange County, a former ultraconservative stronghold that, come January, will be represented in Congress entirely by Democrats...


#shouldread #politics #orangehairedbaboons

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