The Corner

“Disaster For Conservatives”

From a reader:


If Congress were expanded wouldn’t that mean that the dense cities would be overrepresented? It seems that for the most part people are grouped mostly by geography (as far as thinking goes). The typically liberal cities would completely drown out the typically more conservative rural areas simply because the cities have more people per mile.. Perhaps some sort of compromise between population and area would work better. Maybe you can clean this thought of mine up a bit.

Thanks for reading,

ME I don’t have time to get too into this right now. But I don’t think this is the case. The ratios of urban to rural would presumably stay pretty much intact, wouldn’t they? In other words there would be ten times more New York Congressmen but there would also be ten times more Wyoming Congressmen.

Second, cities tend to have lots of conservative enclaves which get drowned out in Congressional votes. So it doesn’t seem obvious to me that you wouldn’t get more conservative voices from New York City, for example. Meanwhile, Wyoming has (I presume) fewer liberal enclaves.

Third, even if it’d be bad for Republicans, I don’t know that it would be bad for conservatives since the hope would be that it would create greater inefficiencies in Congress and hence slow government down.

Fourth, I’m not a big believer in static political analysis. If the House became more liberal, the Senate might become more conservative in response. If a bunch of hot-heads went to the House maybe people would send more cool-tempered leaders to the Senate. This was what the Senate was originally intended to be. One of the founders called the House the cup and Senate the saucer. When the tea is too hot you pour the excess in the saucer and it cools down. Or something like that.

Fifth, I really just think it’s an interesting point about our government and paying heed to the idea helps us see where our government is as opposed to where it was intended to be. I’m open to other suggestions of how to apply this lesson to governmental reform. Or, I should say I’m open to the suggestion there are better ideas out there, I’m just not sure I want to hear them.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Problem with Certainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you having this read to you while you white-knuckle the steering wheel trying to get to wherever you’re going for the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More
White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More

America’s Best Defense Against Socialism

The United States of America has flummoxed socialists since the nineteenth century. Marx himself couldn’t quite understand why the most advanced economy in the world stubbornly refused to transition to socialism. Marxist theory predicts the immiseration of the proletariat and subsequent revolution from below. ... Read More