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There are now 6 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Joshua says

    Hey Nathan,

    I assume it’s because you’re posting one page after the other, but I’m only receiving the second page from RSS. Seems the plugin you’re using only lists the most recent post in its feed.

  2. ASDF says

    And then both numbers became wildly impractical, although there’s probably someone out there who’d say that having over ten thousand representatives is a good idea.

    • I would! I think having more representatives was impossible before we invented some better communications devices, but now that we have them I think making congress more functionally representative of the people (not to mention improve the problems with the electoral college) would make government more effective. And it would significantly reduce the ability for gerrymandering to be effective.

      • It’s hard enough getting a group of 435 people to make decisions. It may make things “more representative”, but if you want to make a group of decision-makers more effective, adding more people to the mix does not help.

        • I’d be in favor of requiring a minimum of one representative per 500,000. By my count, as of the 2010 Census that would put the House at 592 seats, which isn’t a massive increase from 435, but I’d argue is still enough to make a difference. And there’s plenty of legislatures in the world that manage those kinds of numbers.

          As long as we’re supposed to have a people’s House, it should be representative of a diverse population. At almost 750,000 constituents per district (on average) and rising, that’s becoming increasingly difficult.

    • Congress has an abysmal approval rating overall, but individual senators and representatives are well-liked in their own districts (among people who recognize their names). This is because they’re strongly incentivized, by the mechanics of re-election, to do things that visibly benefit their own district, but face no substantial penalty for quietly throwing the rest of the country under the bus.

      If there were so many representatives that effective personal coordination among all of them was a logistical impossibility, you’d either get gridlock (which we already have, so that’s at least no worse), or coalition-building around proposals which don’t require any personalized sales pitches or delicate political horse-trading because they’re so obviously beneficial to the country as a whole – more than half of it, anyway – that opposition would have to be transparently corrupt, or at least inexcusably foolish. Things like, say, creating jobs by allocating funds for repairing the interstate highway system, modernizing the power grid, and other core infrastructure work which has been too long neglected. I have yet to hear any argument directly against that particular proposal, coherent or otherwise, which isn’t also an argument against having any government at all.

      Think about it in terms of time management. From an individual representative’s perspective, say you’ve got two people trying to get your attention: one of your constituents, and one of your fellow representatives. Who do you have time for? Well, if you’ve only got a few hundred peers, you could give each of them a few hours out of your two-year term and still take weekends off, but if you’ve got hundreds of thousands of constituents, their individual problems can only be spared seconds apiece. Maybe enough for a photo-op handshake or other shallow acknowledgement, but not for hard work, or even serious thought. If both groups were equally numerous, at least within an order of magnitude, they’d get more nearly equal consideration per capita.

      Increasing the number of representatives back to the original constitutional standard also means special-interest groups like banks, oil syndicates, Health Middleman Oligarchies, Comcast, and Nestle would need to spread their bribery (oh, sorry, “lobbying”) budgets thinner, and face more scrutiny while doing so.

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