As the effort to make Washington, D.C. the nation’s 51st state moves closer to fruition, it is high time to talk about what D.C. statehood would mean for one of the most undemocratic features of American government: the malapportionment of the U.S. Senate.

Malapportionment is the technical term for a situation in which a country’s system of representation results in the votes of some citizens weighing more than the votes of others. In a country with single-member legislative districts like the U.S., malapportionment occurs when legislative constituencies have vastly different population sizes.

Until the early-1960s, malapportionment was prevalent among numerous…

This year’s races for seats in the Wisconsin Legislature featured a healthy number of hotly contested races and millions of dollars in spending, but electoral data suggest that their outcomes may have been determined by a factor completely beyond the control of the candidates: the presidential election.

To examine the effect of the top of the ticket on Wisconsin’s legislative races, I calculated the presidential vote in all 132 of Wisconsin’s senate and assembly districts using unofficial ward-level data from the state election commission. (Note: the results described below could change a bit when the state releases the final numbers).

In recent weeks, a slew of think tanks and journalists have published reports or articles arguing that the American political system is in dire need of “democratization.” These pieces make a variety of claims, but their basic thrust is simple: America’s political institutions, as currently constituted, do not reflect core democratic principles like political equality and majority rule. While they point to many democratic deficiencies, the authors of these pieces give special attention to the U.S. …

Adam Myers

Adam Myers is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Providence College

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