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Let me say off the top that passing this would result in no change now. But it was so close and along the lines I've been thinking on lately.

---

That's right- the original 1st amendment is still up for vote. It came close to passing several times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_Stat...

Notably, Washington thought we should have one representative per 30,000 citizens and it was the only thing he made specific comments on.

While we settled on about 500-- I think the U.S.A. would benefit from a much larger house of representatives (and smaller more equal size states but more on that below).

Benefits
1) Your vote matters (if only 30,000 citizens decide 1 representative- then their votes will matter again).
2) It would be harder/much more expensive to "buy" 51% of the votes in congress by throwing down cash.
3) It would be easier for 3rd parties to get representation.
4) It would be much less expensive to be elected. You could genuinely be elected with direct contact to the citizens by the campaign staff.
5) Representatives would have a lot less power and be less buyable individually.
6) Gerrymandering would be much more difficult.
7) It would be much harder to predict the outcome of votes.

Drawbacks
1) Having 9,000 to 10,000 representatives could make voting unwielding (tho not really with modern electronics).
2) It would be easier to sneak "poison pills" into bills. (need to have version tracking with a checking identified to a particular representative and searchable/sortable to stop that abuse).


---

On the senatorial thing- as i noted in prior conversations here and elsewhere. Right now we have 1 senator per 280,000 citizens in wyoming (extremely well represented) and 1 senator per 19,000,000 citizens in california (similarly bad for Texas and New York).

The best way to address this would be to split the larger states into smaller states.

i.e. North, central, and southern california (tough with so much population in LA and tricky if you have a state line running thru LA), And north, south, east, west, and panhandle texas (this may still be more easily legally possible for texas).

It's crazy that we have states with tiny population represented by senators at almost 2 orders of magnitude higher rates.


---

I'm not sure how it would play out red/blue/independent.

I think it would restore voting rates. I think voting rates are low because of gerrymandering, incredibly low representation per citizen, and the degree that the representatives have been bought by corporations.
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maxo-texas wrote:


Benefits
1) Your vote matters (if only 30,000 citizens decide 1 representative- then their votes will matter again).


Except the person your vote elects is only one out of 10,000...

maxo-texas wrote:
2) It would be harder/much more expensive to "buy" 51% of the votes in congress by throwing down cash.


Not necessarily - individual districts would be smaller and cheaper to buy. Also, can you imagine (for example) how the local Houston press would cover 75 Congressional elections in Houston alone? Not very effectively, I imagine.

maxo-texas wrote:
3) It would be easier for 3rd parties to get representation.


Not so long as Congress is still elected by first-past-the-post single districts. Proportional representation and/or list-style elections would make third parties more competitive.

maxo-texas wrote:
4) It would be much less expensive to be elected. You could genuinely be elected with direct contact to the citizens by the campaign staff.


Possibly so per district. But it would make the global costs of elections even MORE expensive.

maxo-texas wrote:
5) Representatives would have a lot less power and be less buyable individually.


The first part of that does not necessarily imply the second part.

maxo-texas wrote:
6) Gerrymandering would be much more difficult.


No it wouldn't be. Just more to gerrymander! What would make gerrymandering more difficult would be to have non-partisan bodies charged with drawing up districts, like the Australian Electoral Commission. And Iowa.

maxo-texas wrote:
7) It would be much harder to predict the outcome of votes.


Probably true.

maxo-texas wrote:

---

On the senatorial thing- as i noted in prior conversations here and elsewhere. Right now we have 1 senator per 280,000 citizens in wyoming (extremely well represented) and 1 senator per 19,000,000 citizens in california (similarly bad for Texas and New York).

The best way to address this would be to split the larger states into smaller states.


No, the best way to address this would be to amend the Constitution so that states no longer automatically get 2 Senators each. Breaking the US into smaller and smaller administrative units is madness.
maxo-texas wrote:

---

I'm not sure how it would play out red/blue/independent.

I think it would restore voting rates. I think voting rates are low because of gerrymandering, incredibly low representation per citizen, and the degree that the representatives have been bought by corporations.


I that it would be good to find ways to boost voting rates.
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It's a method that might have some merit.

I think publically funded elections, banning lobbyists, and perhaps term limits would achieve the same goals in a similar fashion.

Sadly, that fashion is "nothing at all," because it requires the people in power to vote themselves out of power, or a revolution, and we're well past the point of either of those things being plausible.
 
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maxo-texas wrote:
Let me say off the top that passing this would result in no change now. But it was so close and along the lines I've been thinking on lately.

---

That's right- the original 1st amendment is still up for vote. It came close to passing several times.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_Stat...

Notably, Washington thought we should have one representative per 30,000 citizens and it was the only thing he made specific comments on.

While we settled on about 500-- I think the U.S.A. would benefit from a much larger house of representatives (and smaller more equal size states but more on that below).

Benefits
1) Your vote matters (if only 30,000 citizens decide 1 representative- then their votes will matter again).
2) It would be harder/much more expensive to "buy" 51% of the votes in congress by throwing down cash.
3) It would be easier for 3rd parties to get representation.
4) It would be much less expensive to be elected. You could genuinely be elected with direct contact to the citizens by the campaign staff.
5) Representatives would have a lot less power and be less buyable individually.
6) Gerrymandering would be much more difficult.
7) It would be much harder to predict the outcome of votes.

Drawbacks
1) Having 9,000 to 10,000 representatives could make voting unwielding (tho not really with modern electronics).
2) It would be easier to sneak "poison pills" into bills. (need to have version tracking with a checking identified to a particular representative and searchable/sortable to stop that abuse).


---

On the senatorial thing- as i noted in prior conversations here and elsewhere. Right now we have 1 senator per 280,000 citizens in wyoming (extremely well represented) and 1 senator per 19,000,000 citizens in california (similarly bad for Texas and New York).

The best way to address this would be to split the larger states into smaller states.

i.e. North, central, and southern california (tough with so much population in LA and tricky if you have a state line running thru LA), And north, south, east, west, and panhandle texas (this may still be more easily legally possible for texas).

It's crazy that we have states with tiny population represented by senators at almost 2 orders of magnitude higher rates.


---

I'm not sure how it would play out red/blue/independent.

I think it would restore voting rates. I think voting rates are low because of gerrymandering, incredibly low representation per citizen, and the degree that the representatives have been bought by corporations.


As I've noted before I definitely think we should go back to original partitioning for representatives (so roughly one per 30,000 citizens if your math is correct).

On senators I'm less convinced but could be. Your primary mistake seems to be to assume they are intended to represent the people -- they are not, they are to represent the states.

In the House every citizen should have roughly the same proportional representation. In the Senate however it's every state should have the same representation. That's how the Founders came to allocate 2 per.

Arguably states have gotten more diverse and we could change the number to perhaps 4 per state, or as you suggest we could break up the larger states. I'm a fan of either approach, they both have plusses and minusses. But it definitely must be the same number per state, not reflective of the population. That's not what the Senate is for in a representative republic.


Ferret
 
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IMHO, it's a bit crazy that we have two legislative bodies that are both tied to geographic areas, just at different scales.

One house tied to geographic areas and one tied to political orientation would make for a much better method of getting all individuals to have their voices represented.
 
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Ferretman wrote:
On senators I'm less convinced but could be. Your primary mistake seems to be to assume they are intended to represent the people -- they are not, they are to represent the states.


Whether or not that was the intent, as Senators are still voted on, they still hew to the whims of the population.

If the Senate was truly there to represent THE STATE, and the interests of the state only, then Senators would be better seated by appointment by the state's governors (with perhaps confirmation by the state's legislative body), rather than direct popular election.

(OH LOOK! That's basically what the Constitution actually outlined! Stupid 17th Amendment...)
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We already have a hard time finding c. 500 competent people to fill Congressional seats (and failing spectacularly at doing so). A Congress with 10,000 seats would be a bigger circus than that presented as representative of the Senate in the first three episodes of Star Wars.
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Ferretman wrote:
On senators I'm less convinced but could be. Your primary mistake seems to be to assume they are intended to represent the people -- they are not, they are to represent the states.

In the House every citizen should have roughly the same proportional representation. In the Senate however it's every state should have the same representation. That's how the Founders came to allocate 2 per.


You're assuming that equal state representation is a necessary outcome or received truth with respect to federal governance, and really, it shouldn't be (especially when you consider that the original reason for having a bicameral house in the first place is to have an upper chamber composed of, for lack of a better word, society's "betters").

It's not the seventeen-hundreds any more: individual states aren't distinct societies as they were at the time and the USA is (relatively) culturally homogeneous at this point. There actually isn't any good reason for state governments as opposed to, say, federal sub-agencies tasked to handle geographic areas that might resemble existing state borders - and for all conservatives like to bleat about oppressive government, the governmental rules and influences that people most interact with and complain about are usually local rather than national - and it's much easier to corrupt local governments than it is a national government.

Basically: there's absolutely no real reason other than arbitrary lines on a map that Wyoming or Rhode Island should get equal representation in a government house as compared to California or Texas.
 
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Bearcat89 wrote:
We already have a hard time finding c. 500 competent people to fill Congressional seats (and failing spectacularly at doing so). A Congress with 10,000 seats would be a bigger circus than that presented as representative of the Senate in the first three episodes of Star Wars.


Counterargument: a Congress where Representatives were responsible for 30,000 people each would be one where individuals would need far, far less big money to effectively campaign, as over the course of two or three months a series of decent town-hall meetings and debates would ensure that any candidate would be able to campaign directly with the majority of his potential constituents, making political interaction easier and thus more attractive to capable individuals.
 
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based on the current population of the US, we'd have 10,733.8 Congressmen.

In Ohio, we'd have 386 representatives alone.

If we'd changed it to 1 congressman per 30,000 we'd probably have to change the way we draw districts. Perhaps base it on the population of the county instead.
 
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I think that social cohesion is an important part of a governing body (and one of the reasons that the Senate is more functional than the House). With 10,000 members, the cohesion is completely lost, and it becomes entirely too easy for legislators to have no meaningful interactions with members of other parties/ideologies.
 
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Dispaminite wrote:
based on the current population of the US, we'd have 10,733.8 Congressmen.

In Ohio, we'd have 386 representatives alone.

If we'd changed it to 1 congressman per 30,000 we'd probably have to change the way we draw districts. Perhaps base it on the population of the county instead.


The upper range suggested was 60,000. Only Washington proposed 30,000.

With 60,000 we'd have about 5,000 representatives.

I think with so few representatives (500ish) we essentially lack representation and only large companies and factions have representation. In most cases, those large companies and factions really represent the views of a few at the top and not of the composite members.

--

On the gerry mandering point- I think a group of 30,000 people is more likely to share interests than a group of 300,000 people is more likely to share interests than a group of 800,000 people. I agree we need less spidery and more squarish districts. A non-spidery district of 30,000 people would be very likely to share interests.

--

This issue has a wider notice than I thought.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/09/opinion/flynn-expand-congress/

What's wrong with Congress? It's not big enough

Quote:
The answer: Congress no longer represents the will of the people, and it hasn't for a very long time. The House of Representatives has become another U.S. Senate where a rarefied few supposedly represent the needs of the many. And that's the main reason that hyper-partisanship and special interests seem to control the legislative agenda. We have all been disenfranchised.

A quick trip back to fifth grade history class reminds us that the House of Representatives was established as the lower house, intended to be "of the people," according to James Madison. It was to ensure that individual citizens had a voice in federal legislation while the Senate was meant to be more deliberative and represent the interest of the states.

But population growth has cut the ties between representatives and those they represent. A seat in the House of Representatives has gone from representing 33,000 people to more than 700,000 today. America basically has two upper houses of Congress with less and less representation of the people.


If there was one issue I had to pick- i think this might be it. it seems like a foundational/structural issue which is at the base of many other problems we have with representation, corruption, influence, etc.

---

Strongly disagree on the senate. States are people. Businesses are people. Senators represent people and businesses (which are people) in their states. A state is a group of people- there is no reason one group of citizens should have 80 times the voting power of another group of citizens including the power to effectively veto bills that benefit much larger groups of citizens.

It's a really broken anachronism.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Mac, you are looking in the right direction, but through the wrong lens.

Give power back to the states. The federal government power grab started with the best of intentions but has ballooned out of reason.


Why should one group of 580,000 citizens get to agree how they will live while another group of 38,000,000 have to decide as a group how all of them will live?

Wouldn't multiple subsets of the group of 38,000,000 citizens be much less likely to be able to live as they desire?

I appreciate where you are coming from but it doesn't address the problem that we set up states with wildly different population sizes.

 
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Quantity will not overcome the issues we have with QUALITY. The real issue (sorry libtards and conservatards) is that people DON'T VOTE.

Let me repeat myself: people don't vote.

In 2014, a spectacular 30 percent (roughly) of Americans voted in one of the most crucial mid-term elections in 50 years. Wow. Get down to the state level and voter participation drops even lower -- 20-25 percent turnout is considered "good." And remember, we're talking registered voters. Not the actual numbers of people.

But wait, there's more!

Get down to municipal, county/parish, school district, vocational education district, hospital district, ambulance district -- and the voter turnout is ridiculously small.

So before we have these grandiose plans to rewrite the constitution, have Congress meet in football stadiums, and governors picking senators, let's try something else.

Vote, Vote every time in every election. Oh yeah, and pay attention to what is going on instead of letting MSNBC or FOX or the Drudge Report or Huffington tell you what is what. Americans need to understand that under the ideals of the men who drew up the constitution, the citizens would be active and informed, and thought the citizenry's participation was vital to sustaining the "Great Experiment."

It's a tough job. Don't like? Move somewhere else.
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I agree that the disproportionality of Senate, and to a lessor extend the House (from guaranteeing one rep in a state), is a problem. But redrawing State borders is not realistic.

One solution for the Senate is to make votes proportional to population, a WY senator would have a voting power of 280,000 while a CA senator would have a power of 19,000,000. While this defeats the idea of the Senate as a tool to prevent big states from bullying small states, I think other factors, like the urban/suburban/rural divide are more important now, and exacerbated by the Senate. This would operate like a corporation proxy vote; my Senator votes for me. OTOH, I would be totally behind requiring population proportionate spending by the USG, as in the original Constitution; every state would get its share.

The problem I see with the House is, I only get to vote for Dweedledum and Dweedledee for my district, and most States have a huge Gerrymandering problem (not an issue for the Senate as States are not redrawn). A solution is to keep the Senate geographical but make the House ideological: I can vote for the representative who best represents my interests, either State by State or (better, I think) all at large; if I feel some candidate in Maine would represent my interests best, I can vote for him. The 535 most popular win. And I would use Australian-style, instant-runoff voting: I can vote for three candidates, and if the first fails, my vote transfers to the second; if he fails too, the third. (My feeling is if I can't get it in three votes, I'm failing to be sensible and my vote should be lost.)

While I agree with Koldie that too much has been federalized--education comes immediately to mind--pushing things down to the States isn't a cure-all. State power needs to be checked as well as federal power. I think some States are trying hard to become banana republics.
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Koldfoot wrote:
Just to clarify. I am only tipping the "banana republic" line. That is so true. Wish I had thought of it.

Not the clothing stores. Want the GG back?
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Using the political ideology and structures from 2 centuries ago is pathetic. We don't do that for most other aspects of human society.
 
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remorseless1 wrote:
Quantity will not overcome the issues we have with QUALITY. The real issue (sorry libtards and conservatards) is that people DON'T VOTE.

Let me repeat myself: people don't vote.

In 2014, a spectacular 30 percent (roughly) of Americans voted in one of the most crucial mid-term elections in 50 years. Wow. Get down to the state level and voter participation drops even lower -- 20-25 percent turnout is considered "good." And remember, we're talking registered voters. Not the actual numbers of people.

But wait, there's more!

Get down to municipal, county/parish, school district, vocational education district, hospital district, ambulance district -- and the voter turnout is ridiculously small.

So before we have these grandiose plans to rewrite the constitution, have Congress meet in football stadiums, and governors picking senators, let's try something else.

Vote, Vote every time in every election. Oh yeah, and pay attention to what is going on instead of letting MSNBC or FOX or the Drudge Report or Huffington tell you what is what. Americans need to understand that under the ideals of the men who drew up the constitution, the citizens would be active and informed, and thought the citizenry's participation was vital to sustaining the "Great Experiment."

It's a tough job. Don't like? Move somewhere else.


I vote. I track the outcomes of my votes. I voted last election.

Only one vote I made in the last 17 years has made any difference. Otherwise I was voting with the gerrymandered 70% or in the gerrymandered 30%. The one election, I was voter #31 for the new guy. Maybe- just maybe the incumbant stopped fighting after 8 weeks because there were 31 votes.

What is the point of voting when you know in advance how the vote's going to come out and you know your vote is a waste of time. You've been disenfranchised whether you vote or not.

I don't know why I vote. It's stupid and pointless. But I'm old enough that I just vote 'because'.
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I think I would really, really like to see this amendment pass.

It might/would have the effect of shaking things up enough to constitute a "revolution", a Constitutional, non-violent revolution.

However, it will not happen. It needs 27 more states to ratify it and that number is too high for it to be passed before the super rich mobilized to crush it.

So, forget it.


 
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maxo-texas wrote:
I vote. I track the outcomes of my votes. I voted last election.

Only one vote I made in the last 17 years has made any difference. Otherwise I was voting with the gerrymandered 70% or in the gerrymandered 30%. The one election, I was voter #31 for the new guy. Maybe- just maybe the incumbant stopped fighting after 8 weeks because there were 31 votes.

What is the point of voting when you know in advance how the vote's going to come out and you know your vote is a waste of time. You've been disenfranchised whether you vote or not.

I don't know why I vote. It's stupid and pointless. But I'm old enough that I just vote 'because'.
I feel your pain. I've voted in every election I could for 38 years. My win streak is quite, quite low. Wish I could give you a pep talk about the duties of citizenship, the necessity of being gracious in defeat, etc. etc.

But think about this: does everyone in your social circle, where you work, your family -- do they all vote? Chances are, they don't. That's what really pisses me off -- a lot of the guys I hang out with, go to games with, get drunk with, talk politics with, they don't vote. They don't have time, they're not interested, one vote doesn't make any difference, they're not sure of the issues, or as one succinctly put it, "don't give a fuck, man."

These are the ones we have to drag into responsibility. It's not the people who vote, it's the majority of people riding our coattails letting us make the decisions then bitching like 13-year-olds over the dumbasses in Congress.

Oh, and that redrawing Congressional district lines. That's huge. When districts are geographically compact, they tend to be more politically diverse.

But hey, like I said, I feel your pain.
 
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I'd like to see the House representatives "elected" by soliciting voters from anywhere.

You get 30,000 (or 300,000 or whatever number) of e-signatures* and you're in. You'd need some hysteresis so maybe you get in at 350,000 and if 50,000 move to someone else, you're booted.

Keep the Senate as a "deliberative" body as is for now. But if the House thing works out, change it, too.

*voters get 1 each.
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Steve1501 wrote:
I think I would really, really like to see this amendment pass.

It might/would have the effect of shaking things up enough to constitute a "revolution", a Constitutional, non-violent revolution.

However, it will not happen. It needs 27 more states to ratify it and that number is too high for it to be passed before the super rich mobilized to crush it.

So, forget it.

It won't be passed because it's irrelevant. What do you think it would change or "shake up"? With the current population of the US, that Amendment will mandate a number of Representatives between 200 and 6,378. We currently have 435. So...zero change would be required.
 
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damiangerous wrote:
Steve1501 wrote:
I think I would really, really like to see this amendment pass.

It might/would have the effect of shaking things up enough to constitute a "revolution", a Constitutional, non-violent revolution.

However, it will not happen. It needs 27 more states to ratify it and that number is too high for it to be passed before the super rich mobilized to crush it.

So, forget it.

It won't be passed because it's irrelevant. What do you think it would change or "shake up"? With the current population of the US, that Amendment will mandate a number of Representatives between 200 and 6,378. We currently have 435. So...zero change would be required.


I agree (as I said in the starting post) but any movement around this would probably put a lot of political heat around increasing the number of representatives So passing it would have a hefty symbolic weight.

Right now, our government is not very representative any more.
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