The US Senate was a very undemocratic institution a century ago, controlled by special interests, including the oil, steel, banking and other trusts and monopolies, and its membership selected by the vote of corrupt state legislatures across the nation.
The Senate was exposed for its faults and corruption by David Graham Phillips in his article in 1906 in Cosmopolitan Magazine, which has been reprinted in 2012, an article of 108 pages, a small book, exposing the corruption of Senate Majority Leader Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island. This was followed up by other articles in muckraking periodicals, exposing the corruption of other US Senators.
These articles motivated a reform movement, leading to the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, establishing popular vote elections for the US Senate. It did not mean that every Senator elected was brilliant, or a positive force, but at least the people had the final say on who would represent them, as in the US House of Representatives!
Now, a century later, the US Senate is in paralysis, greatly due to the abuse of the filibuster system, which now requires 60 Senators to end a filibuster, while it used to be even worse, 67 before reforms in 1975. The filibuster was originally utilized to stop civil rights advancements, but now it is used to prevent any action on many nominations and many bills, effectively hamstringing any progress or change on anything controversial.
But also, it is clear that special interest groups, similar to those a century ago, but more such groups and more widespread, have made the US Senate captive again.
And with growing differences in population in coastline states, as compared to states in the interior, we are finding the concept of each state having two US Senators, whether they represent millions of citizens, or just hundreds of thousands of citizens, becoming one where states with few people, are able to stop what the majority of the American people want!
Four Democratic Senators, scared to death of the National Rifle Association, end up refusing to support the end of the filibuster on extended background checks on gun sales, and yet these Senators represent small populated states (North Dakota, Alaska, Montana, Arkansas) which represent only about 5.4 million people, out of a national total of 309 million people, meaning they represent 1.6 percent of the people, in a nation in which up to 90 percent, including gun owners, want extended background checks on gun sales.
We allow the 49th 48th, 45th, and 33rd states in population to hamstring the rest of the nation, absolutely insane when one thinks about it, and this is not just true on one issue, but many!
This problem of small populated states,the abuse of the filibuster, and special interest groups (including major corporations) is a situation which threatens resolution of ANY major issue facing the nation in the 21st century, unless, somehow, some kind of reform of an outdated system of the 18th century is brought about, which is extremely unlikely!