A Proposal to Shake Things Up

It is time to revisit the Reapportionment Act of 1929.  That law set the number of Representatives at 435 but did not restate the 1911 provision that districts be contiguous, compact, and equally populated.  The Supreme Court eventually restored “equally populated” in the one-man one vote decisions which were key civil rights cases of the early 1960s, spearheaded by Alabama Attorney General Richmond Flowers.  We have never come back to “contiguous (and) compact.”

 
435 was set as the number because of the size of the chamber.  I suggest that limitation is a mere logistical issue that can be overcome in many ways that need not be addressed here.

 
Take the least populated state in each decennial census and give it one Rep.  Then give other states multiples rounded up so that 1.51 WY in 2010 equals 2.  Expand the House as necessary.

 
Done for 2010, the total membership of the HoR would now be 544.  CA would have 66.  TX would have 44.  NY would have 34.  FL would have 33.  Make the mandate “contiguous and compact, leaving entire municipalities and entire counties within a single district wherever possible.”

 
Shake things up a bit.  We might get Congress to actually support it because it makes for more Congressmen, each with somewhat more manageable districts for campaign purposes.  Of course, it would effectively end the gerrymander.

7 Responses

  1. I think this is a very good idea, but rather than basing it on the size of the smallest state, I think districts should be of a defined, limited size similar to the size of districts at the founding. Or if necessary, double that size. The average size of districts is currently almost 20 times the size of original districts. The size of the House should grow (or shrink) with each census based on the population divided by the defined size of a congressional district.

    I also think that human judgement should be removed from the drawing of districts. A computer program should be used to created districts based strictly on population size, evenly distributed throughout the state in a standard manner.

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    • Scott, I could definitely support that alternative. I like my proposal better, but I like yours better than what we have. While [say] 5000 reps might be awkward, at first, I think it would work out over time. That would still be over 60000 persons represented by each congressperson.

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  2. I should add that a “contiguous and compact, leaving entire municipalities and entire counties within a single district wherever possible” mandate would require a computer program in any but the least populated states, as a practical matter.

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  3. What do you think would be the benefits of a larger legislatur? The negatives?

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    • McWing:

      The benefit would be that the reps would be closer to the people they represent. My town has a population of about 20,000. My interests are much better represented by my town reps and even my state reps than by my congressional reps, who are representing about 35 times as many people.

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  4. Scott, I guess in this day and age of ratcheting totalitarianism it makes sense. It’s just sad that we cannot be better politicked as it were, from our local government. This fucking federal intrusion in every aspect of our lives in pure evil.

    Why do people want to force other people to live a certain way? Serious question. I do not understand the desire to dictate to others.

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    • McWing:

      It’s just sad that we cannot be better politicked as it were, from our local government.

      Totally agree. I think the federal government, if it were run properly, would be largely irrelevant to the every day lives of most people. Local government is the best government.

      Why do people want to force other people to live a certain way?

      In part I think it is sheer arrogance, both in believing that you know better what is best for others than they do themselves, and also in believing that you possess enough knowledge to organize society in such a way to make things better for everyone. It also seems to be the nature of religious zealotry…and the belief in the goodness/efficacy of government is basically akin to a religion.

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