435 Representatives Can Not Faithfully Represent 300 Million Amerithirty-thousand.org
I think expanding the membership in the House of Reps is the solution to many of our political problems. IMHO, one congressional representative per 700,000 citizens is no way to run a republic. Minority political/policy opinions are not currently represented in the House of Representatives and it appears all of the members are bought and paid for.
Addressed to the Citizens of the United States of America,
on the Following Interesting Subjects:
 The Number of Representatives in the U.S. House — The Founding Fathers and the states that ratified the Constitution fully expected the House of Representatives to continue to grow along with the population.
 The Size of Congressional Districts — Largely because the number of Representatives has not increased in a century, the average population size of a congressional district is now approximately 700,000. This will double by the year 2100 based on current population projections.
 “Article the first” of the Bill of Rights — The intended purpose of the very first amendment proposed in the original Bill of Rights was to ultimately limit the maximum size of congressional districts in order to complement the minimum size already established by the Constitution. However, though affirmed by many states, “Article the first” was never ratified due to an inexplicable defect in its language.
 Large Congressional Districts and High Reelection Rates — As the electoral districts become larger, candidates must raise greater sums of money in order to market themselves to hundreds of thousands of prospective voters. Therefore, in larger districts, the incumbents’ ability to thwart challengers improves due to the simple fact that the challengers must raise an extraordinary amount of money merely to have a possibility of victory.
 Diminishing the Lobbyists’ Influence — In 2008, there were nearly 15,000 registered lobbyists in the United States. In that same year, these lobbyists reported spending over $3.2 billion, equivalent to more than $6 million per Congressman.
 Eliminating Political Party Control of Government — George Washington’s 1796 “Farewell Address” included an extensive warning about the “baneful effects” of political parties in which he observed that: “They [the parties] serve to Organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force — to put in the place of the delegated will of the Nation, the will of a party [who are] often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the Community.”
 Enlarging Representation Reduces the Size of Government — Several empirical studies show that there is a clear relationship between the population size of legislative districts and the size of government; specifically, government spending increases as the population size of electoral districts increases.
 Achieving True Diversity in the U.S. House of Representatives — With respect to how a representative assembly should be constituted, John Adams stated: “It should be in miniature an exact portrait of the people at large. It should think, feel, reason and act like them.”
 Achieving One Person, One Vote — Despite the strict compliance with one person one vote within every state, this fundamental constitutional requirement is being egregiously violated nationwide.
 Citizen Legislators — It is no longer necessary, or even advantageous, to require all federal Representatives to commute weekly to a single distant location. Current technology makes available other means – which would have been unimaginable at the time of the drafting of the Constitution – for virtually assembling and voting on bills.
Conclusion: Restoring Citizen Control of our Government [/QUOTE]
It is imperative that we reinstate smaller congressional districts in order to protect our liberties and restore citizen control of Congress. By better enabling constituent monitoring of our Representatives in the U.S. House, community-sized districts will be truly governable, but in the sense that we the people will be able to govern our federal Representatives!
This is so fundamentally important that the need to establish a maxi-mum district size was perhaps the most significant issue raised during the states’ ratification debates. For example, of the 85,000-word transcript from the New York constitutional convention in 1788, 30% was devoted ex-clusively to this subject. Melancton Smith, a delegate to that convention, observed that: “We certainly ought to fix, in the Constitution, those things which are essential to liberty. If anything falls under this description, it is the number of the legislature.” It was because of these debates that James Madison later proposed, for the Bill of Rights, a constitutional amendment establishing a maximum population size for the congressional districts. That amendment was the basis for “Article the first”, the very first amend-ment proposed in the original Bill of Rights document.
Because of the need to communicate with, and provide services to, so many constituents, Congress used this spectacular growth in district popu-lation size to justify providing “personal staffs” to the Representatives. [B][U]Prior to 1893 when the average district size reached 180,000, the Represen-tatives were not provided with personal staffs! Today, taxpayers provide each Representative with as many as 18 personal staff members.[/U][/B]It is not supposed to be this way! As evidenced by various historical documents, the Founding Fathers expected that the congressional districts would always remain relatively small. For example, “Federalist 56” (Febru-ary 19, 1788) stated:
…it seems to give the fullest assurance, that a representative for every THIRTY THOUSAND INHABITANTS will render the [House of Representatives] both a safe and competent guardian of the interests which will be confided to it.
Note that the reference to “thirty thousand” (capitalized for emphasis in the original text) was indicated as an absolute requirement, not as a mini-mum district size. The explicit assumption was that the number of Repre-sentatives would increase along with the population to ensure that the population of each Congressional district would not exceed 30,000.
Incumbents have numerous advantages over non-incumbent challeng-ers with respect to winning elections. In addition to being well positioned to solicit funds from donors, they are better able to procure non-financial support from various advocacy groups (i.e., PACs & 527s), secure free me-dia coverage (as when calling a press conference), and send mail to voters (due to their nearly unlimited postage budget).
The important point to understand is that as the electoral districts be-come larger, candidates must raise greater sums of money in order to mar-ket themselves to hundreds of thousands of prospective voters. In congres-sional districts containing an average of 700,000 people, this is very expen-sive; for example, incumbent federal Representatives who sought reelection in 2008 raised, on average, over $1.4 million each. This is why one politi-cian famously observed, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”.
Simply stated, the chart above confirms that as the congressional dis-tricts grow larger, the Representatives become more entrenched in their office. As a result, our massively sized congressional districts provide po-litical strongholds that make the incumbents virtually undefeatable.1
Consider how all this would change if we reduced the size of the districts to 50,000 people. Any industrious citizen living in those community-sized districts could conduct an effective and credible campaign on a reasonable budget (as he or she may need to do nothing more than canvass several thousand homes in the district and hold a few open meetings for the com-munity). Whatever the cost of campaigning in a district of 50,000, it would be considerably less than the cost of campaigning in the imperial-sized dis-tricts we have today.
As a final point, it is important to consider the corruption and venality associated with all this political fundraising. Viewed cynically, if a price could be placed on the value of controlling a 1/435 “share” in the U.S. House of Representatives, imagine how much lower that price would be for only a 1/6000 interest.
[QUOTE=pauliec;4096360]My God, what a mess that would be.
I hear what you're saying Buster, and to some extent I agree, but don't you think we'd reach the point and unmanageable government structure?[/QUOTE]
We are living in the 21st centruy. you and I live miles apart, we have never met face to face but we are able to communicate/argue with each other.
and for the it will be expensive crowd...
each member has a staff of 18 therefore congress already has over 8,000 employees
435 * 18 = 7830
7830 + 435 = 8265
If we increased the number of federal Representatives from 435 to 6,000, how would they fit into one building? The answer: They don’t. As Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our build-ings shape us.” It is no longer necessary, or even advantageous, to require all federal Representatives to commute weekly to a single distant location. Current technology makes available other means – which would have been unimaginable at the time of the drafting of the Constitution – for virtually assembling and voting on bills.
Consider how the world looked when the Constitution was drafted in 1787. Mail delivery was especially slow and unreliable prior to the estab-lishment of the federal post office. New technologies such as engine-powered railroad travel and the telegraph were decades away from being conceived. Consequently, when the Constitution was ratified, people had to assemble at one location in order to actually communicate and collaborate. The only way to do that was to travel over great distances on foot or by horse.
It is no longer necessary, or even advantageous, to require that all Rep-resentatives convene at a single location. Nor is it explicitly required by the Constitution for the purpose of debating and voting on legislation. In fact, anyone who has been to the House chamber (or watched CSPAN) knows that the Representatives rarely “convene” as a body anymore except for ceremonial events. The notion of a true assembly of the House, with debate and deliberation, was largely abandoned generations ago. Today, when votes are taken, the Representatives are usually pulled in just long enough to cast their vote before returning to their other activities ([U]primarily cam-paigning and fundraising[/U]). Most of the actual work of Congress is per-formed in various committees; that practice would continue in a 6000-member House. However, in a House with 6,000 Representatives, it seems likely that less than 10% of them would be serving in committees; therefore, the remainder could spend most of their time in their home districts, among their constituents, rather than in distant Washington D.C.