John Dingell, Longest-Serving Rep in History, Calls for Abolition of Senate, Electoral College
John Dingell, a former Michigan Democratic congressman who served nearly 60 years in office, wrote Tuesday that the Senate and electoral college should be abolished because of the "disproportionate influence" they award to smaller and less-populated states.
Dingell, whose wife Debbie now holds his Detroit-Ann Arbor seat, added that the "worst" reason for the decline of American politics is the "Trumpist mindset."
"These jackasses who see deep state conspiracies in every part of government are the minority of a minority," he wrote in "The Atlantic."
He said other reasons for America's decline included Ronald Reagan's "folksy" assertion that the government is "not here to help" and the multiple wars that have been waged since the 92-year-old initially took office in 1956.
He called for the elimination of money in political campaigns, suggesting that they be publicly funded, and called for automatic voter registration at age 18 that would also be free of "voter ID, residency tests [or] impediments of any kind."
In calling for the abolition of the U.S. Senate as it is composed today, he noted how the Great Compromise that formed the two houses -- one on a more republican (sic) basis that gave each state two votes, and another on a democratic (sic) construction that allowed the population to determine representation -- was supposed to balance the wants of a state like Rhode Island against a larger, more populated state.
Dingell said Wyoming as a whole has fewer people than his single congressional district in the Detroit area.
"With my own eyes, I've watched in horror and increasing anger as that imbalance in power has become the primary cause of our national legislative paralysis," he said.
Dingell said that a friend who works at a Washington think tank projected that in several decades, 70 percent of the American population will have only 30 out of 100 senators representing them because of population shifts on a state-by-state basis.
Dingell said there is a "solution" to the problem.
"Abolish the Senate. at a minimum, combine the two chambers into one and the problem would be solved," he wrote.
He said the Electoral College has a similar "structural flaw" to the "legislative imbalance" and said he voted in favor of an unsuccessful 1969 bid to amend the Constitution to abolish it.
Dingell also blasted Trump's attacks on the media, saying that another pillar of his plan would be to "protect" and independent press.
Earlier this year, incoming New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Bronx) also made a call to abolish the electoral college.
It is well past time we eliminate the Electoral College, a shadow of slavery’s power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic. https://t.co/00HZN3MI6F
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) October 6, 2018
She called it a "shadow of slavery's power on America today that undermines our nation as a democratic republic."
The presidency is the only office where you can get more votes & still lose. It's time to end the Electoral College. https://t.co/OXZ9vHaIH1
— Sen. Barbara Boxer (@SenatorBoxer) November 15, 2016
Former California Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) said in 2016 that it is time to get rid of the institution, in the wake of Donald Trump's victory.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has also endorsed the sentiment of "changing" the electoral college.