John Dingell calls for Senate to be abolished

Former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellRep. Dingell hospitalized for surgery on perforated ulcer Races heat up for House leadership posts Democrats flubbed opportunity to capitalize on postal delays MORE (D-Mich.) penned an op-ed Tuesday calling for the Senate to be abolished and for elections to be publicly funded.

Dingell, who represented Michigan in the House for nearly 60 years, wrote for The Atlantic a series of suggestions to address the "unprecedented cynicism about the nobility of public service itself."

The former lawmaker noted that in 1958 a survey from the University of Michigan found that 73 percent of Americans trusted the federal government “to do the right thing almost always or most of the time.” In 2017, the same study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that number down to just 18 percent.


One of the causes of frayed trust identified by Dingell was how a "minority of obnoxious asses can hold the entire country hostage to extremist views" because of the Electoral College system and a Senate that provides two seats to each state regardless of size. 

"California has almost 40 million people, while the 20 smallest states have a combined population totaling less than that," he wrote. "Yet because of an 18th-century political deal, those 20 states have 40 senators, while California has just two. These sparsely populated, usually conservative states can block legislation supported by a majority of the American people. That’s just plain crazy."

Dingell also suggested moving toward full electoral participation by automatically registering all American citizens to vote when they turn 18 as well as campaign finance reform to improve accountability.

"Public service should not be a commodity, and elected officials should not have to rent themselves out to the highest bidder in order to get in to (or stay in) office," Dingell wrote.