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What if Senate elections were national?

imabench
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9/8/2015 7:22:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Lemme explain the picture i'm trying to paint here:

In the US, a person can currently elect the Senator who is up for election in their home state. What Im asking is what if a person could vote for Senators up for election in EVERY state, where you could vote for McCain in Arizona, but kick out Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, all while you're living in northern Michigan? If this system were in place, how would this influence the ultimate outcome?

One possible reason why Congress itself has such horrible approval ratings yet Senators have a reelection rate north of 90% is because while most Americans don't like all Senators currently elected, they do tend to like their current Senator from their own home state that they voted for.... If the entire country voted for all Senators though, how would that change things up?

I'm not ENDORSING this idea, i'm merely entertaining it and pitching it to you guys to see what you guys would think would happen if this system were in play.... Just for sh*ts and giggles. Here's what I see happening:

(Just to clarify, only 1/3rd of the Senate is up for election during any given election, which comes out to about 33-34 people).

Since a vast majority of Americans won't know about the performance of every Senator up for election in any election, this would see people voting for Senators based almost entirely on their own beliefs about the system itself rather than the actions and beliefs of the Senators themselves. This system I believe would result in different types of bloc voting:

- Incumbency voting: Senators (I believe) are indicated if they are the Incumbent or not on election ballots. People who vote but know nothing about all Senators up for election could simply vote across the board for the challengers to the Senators because they severely dislike the constant reelection rate, meaning in close Senate contests the incumbent could lose the election if widespread animosity towards Congress ushers in ann anti-establishment mentality in voters. The opposite is also true in that people could very well vote for all Incumbents across the board if they feel that way, though something tells me that is less likely to happen since public sentiment is overwhelmingly against Congress, not for it.

-Ideology voting: People who don't know about all Senators up for election could just vote along party lines, voting for all the Democrat candidates or all the Republican candidates who are running for office. I see this aspect as being the most dangerous aspect of this system since a particularly bad 2 years for one party could result in a massive congressional swing to the other party, making Congress extremely sensitive to political events where one party could suffer substantial bad press.

- Fame/Infamy voting: If you don't know anything about a Senator's position, but that Senator has been getting substantial press and news coverage, people could be more influenced to vote on that Senator based on what they perceive him to be via the press. (In)famous senators such as Harry Reid of Ted Cruz for example would soon have a gigantic target on their backs since they are far more disliked by the other party than they are liked by their own party, and could therefore be swept out of office regardless of how much support they have in their home state. This would essentially allow the American people to 'veto' a state's choice for Senator if that Senator is rather notorious on the national level despite being popular on the state level.

What do yall forsee taking place if this system were implemented?
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