NQR: it's not really the Senate

In this piece Paul Krugman notes the increasing inequality in number of citizens represented by different Senators, as Americans concentrate in less than 10 states. He considers the fact that the Senate disproportionately represents rural America to be an emerging constitutional crisis. Although his facts are true, three points are more important:

1. The biggest problem is that states do not award electors to the winner of the national popular vote. As a result, candidates, including incumbent presidents running for re-election, can and do ignore the wishes of the majority of Americans, and focus instead on exciting passionate conviction in bare pluralities in a handful of swing states. If the chief executive of the country is motivated by the system not to govern in the best interest of all or most Americans, that's a true constitutional crisis. Fortunately, any state can fix this problem by linking the choice of its electors to the winner of the national popular vote.

2. If candidates for president campaigned to win the national popular vote, then turn-out would rise considerably -- probably between 17 and 77 million more would vote in 2020. Whether the new voters in all states (urban and rural) would put in the Senate people who were at odds with Krugman's metropolitan preferences is very dubious. It has not been that long since rural America often sent true national leaders to the Senate. The problem now is that because the presidential candidates ignore rural America, turn-out there is not what it should be.

3. The number of representatives in the House is too small. If it were bigger, then gerrymandering would be much more difficult to implement. If the House were more representative of the wishes of most Americans, then it would negotiate with the Senate from a stronger, more enduring position. It is possible that the Senate nevertheless would oppose the desires of most Americans, but it is also possible that a new dynamic would produce a better functioning Congress.