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Filibuster Reform is Not Unicameralism

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Filibuster Reform is Not Unicameralism"

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Chris Dodd thinks that we need supermajority voting in the United States Senate:

I made a case last night to about ten freshman senators, you know, you want to turn this into a unicameral body? What’s the point of having a Senate? If the vote margins are the same as in the House, you might as well close the doors,” Dodd told reporters in the Capitol.

It seems to me that unicameralism works fine for Nebraska and Denmark and de facto unicameralism works fine for Canada and the United Kingdom so this is hardly a knock-down argument. That said, even if we accept that unicameralism would be terrible, a majority rules Senate would hardly be the same as unicameralism. After all, routine supermajority voting is a relatively new phenomenon in the American political system and nobody thought we were a unicameral system in the 1930s or 1960s. Meanwhile, the main “point” of the Senate seems to me to have always been to overrepresent the interests of low-population states. A secondary objective was to create a legislative body that would be relatively immune to short-term fluctuations in public opinion. And a majority rules Senate—which the country had for most of its history—would fit both of those goals.

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