California Has Much More than 2 Senate Votes
It’s disingenuous to say that California, New York, and Texas are under represented.
It’s common wisdom that Wyoming and Vermont are overrepresented in the US Congress. At least as compared to California. I mean, it’s simple math.
Wyoming has a population of about 582,000 souls, represented in Congress by two Senators and a Representative. This works out to 1 voice per 194,000 people.
California, by comparison, has a population of about 39,368,000. They are represented by two Senators and 53 Representatives which is about one representative per 715,000 people.
It’s self-evident that this is unfair. Wyomans (Wyomingers?) are more than 3 times better represented than Californians.
Or is it? There are many, many ways that California is much better represented than we credit. I’ll start with something silly: we know what to call a California resident without thinking about it. If you live in California, you’re a Californian. According to several sources on the web, if you’re from Wyoming it turns out you are a “Wyomingite”. And even that trips up my spell checker. Talk about under represented! They can’t even get respect from a dictionary.
On a more serious note, there are two ways that California completely dominates our national agenda that Wyoming cannot even begin to approach. Soft power and trade.
Starting with trade, the size of California’s economy is so immense that when it makes industrial policy, the nation follows. If I’m the CEO of a company and California passes a law requiring this safety feature or environmental compliance, you can bet that I’m going to do whatever is necessary to be able to sell in that massive market. On top of that, rather than having two standards for the United States, I’ll switch all my manufacturing to meet CA requirements so that I don’t have to maintain separate supply chains.
The second way California dominates is just by its soft power. What is soft power you might ask? Simply put it’s propaganda. It’s the good feelings that we have for the Golden State, for its beautiful beaches, Hollywood, Silicone Valley, the Redwood Forest, and the list goes on. It’s the secret desire to be part of the “California Dream.” Of course it’s not unanimous, but it is extremely wide-spread.
The impact of this good-will means that it’s easier for Californian ideas to take hold in the popular consciousness — see the preponderance of sitcoms if you want a simple sample of what I’m talking about. Though many take place outside of California, they are almost universally produced there. California exports more than oranges, venture capital, and entertainment; it exports values.
So, sure, we can bemoan the fact that Californians have fewer per capita seats in Washington but given their influence in other domains we must ask: do they really need more influence?