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Should the House of Representatives add more seats?

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by SummerMadness, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    I think discussions about the Electoral College are fruitful discussions, just as gerrymandering is critical for discussing topics related to representation. However, I think one issue that is often overlooked (and would actually affect the electoral college) is the number of representatives in the House of Representatives. The House was meant to be a chamber based on proportional representation, but this is no longer the case as the number of representatives has been capped since 1911 and the population is over three times that amount now.

    Various news sites have discussed the topic:
    America Needs a Bigger House
    How to Fix the House of Representatives in One Easy, Radical Step
    The case for massively expanding the US House of Representatives, in one chart

    Should the US House of Representatives include more seats? And given that this is a related topic, how should districts be drawn?
     
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  2. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    I've thought that the House should be expanded for a while, because right now it's counter majoritarian, though obviously not as bad as the Senate. I didn't read the articles you've posted, but I'm a fan of the Wyoming rule. Essentially it means taking the smallest state, which because of the Constitution is entitled to at least one representative, and use that population as the maximum number of people represented by each member of the House.

    As for the district thing, I would eliminate districts and assign seats based on some method of proportionality in those states with more then one seat assigned to them.
     
  3. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    I've always favored a more parlimentary system for each state, I think it would help third party candidates because people could vote for them without fear of siphoning votes from a specific candidate. I think the third party tends to be non-viable because our system almost guarantees a duopoly. If a third party gets strong enough, then the party close to it will simply cease to exist as opposed to having three parties.
     
  4. Pommer

    Pommer Autodidact polymath

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  5. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    I know a law was passed to cap the number, but it has resulted in a system where populous states have less representation, thus altering the original intent of the House of Representatives.
     
  6. cow451

    cow451 Individual-2 Supporter

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  7. Arcangl86

    Arcangl86 Newbie

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    What exactly is your point here? The current limit is set by statute, not the Constitution, so it can easily be changed.
     
  8. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    1. No, ratios work just fine, despite population growth. Adding more members just makes it more chaotic - kind of like Italy with 630. Despite the population increase within my district I feel I have access and am represented well. I say that even though my rep is pretty much on the opposite politic spectrum from me. Still my access to him and the fact is that I have personally met him many times over during his years in office. Therefore the system works just fine - as is.
    2. The districts should be based on the population of potential voters (i.e. citizens of the US) per the census. This seems the only fair way to represent the voters of each district as well as how many reps a state should get.
     
  9. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

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    1. Anecdotal explanations like, "I feel like I have easy access," is not a real argument. Having more representatives is not chaos; if anything, forming coalitions will become more customary, along with creating an environment for compromise as opposed to the intransigence seen today.

    2. The district should be based on the population of the area, potential voters is anyone that lives there. The only change I would make is that prisons should not count as a population for a town, especially if you do not allow inmates to vote.
     
  10. USincognito

    USincognito Do u? Supporter

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    Yes. It's harder and harder for Representatives to Represent if their Representation isn't Representative.
     
  11. John 1720

    John 1720 Harvest Worker Supporter

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    1. Opinions do matter but I also provided you with an empirical example of chaos - the Italian parliament, which has 630 representatives with a significantly lower population. Quantity isn't quality.
    2. I believe we have nearly 20 million people living in the United States illegally. Since only citizens can vote in an election in our representative democracy, I'm not sure just counting raw populations really represents our citizens equitably. While I might be open to allow a count for Green cardholders not everyone who gets a green card becomes a US citizen.
     
  12. SummerMadness

    SummerMadness Senior Veteran

    +7,108
    Christian
    There are fights in other elected bodies around the world (including the US) and the ratio of the population to representatives elected is irrelevant. Likewise, the number of members in an elected body is irrelevant, whether it's Nepal (59 members) or Italy (630 members). The argument is not empirical, it's simply a poor argument.



    That's not what the Constitution says; you must count all people, not voters, but people. Regardless of anyone's status, be they free, imprisoned, convicted or undocumented, they are to be counted as they are part of the states where they reside. Do we adjust the population every year based on eligibility (i.e., whether someone loses immigration status or another person commits a felony)? Do you want a system where people can live here and have no representation? The American Revolution was spurred in part because of the idea of taxation without representation, yet you are demanding population numbers be counted in a way to remove representation for residents. Even if the false arguments of undocumented workers are unfairly increasing numbers, a state with 10 million residents is still a state of 10 million residents, regardless of the residents' status, it should be treated as such, including the allocation of resources, number of representatives, etc.

    There is also the issue of legal status being something that can be changed on a whim. In the early 20th century people could just come to the United States and be counted, attitudes about their status was irrelevant to how they're counted. Ideas about legal status are also about policy, which should not affect the census. You talk about voting citizens, which means I could just as easily argue and push for a law that says one must be of voting age to count, but that's not what the Constitution says, thus my rule and your rule are unconstitutional and un-American.

    The argument also ignores the original intent, it was never to count the voting population (i.e., white males that owned land), it was meant to count the population.
     
  13. Pommer

    Pommer Autodidact polymath

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