I'd like to see the Reapportionment Act of 1929 (2 U.S.C. § 2a) repealed. For those of you not hip to the Roaring Twenties legislative scene —and why not? All the cool kids are doing it! — this was the law established a permanent method for apportioning a constant 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives according to each census.badpenny wrote:The only optimism for me is that Maine introduced rank-choice voting state wide. That makes me very happy. If more states followed, we could actually have viable third parties. Up until Maine voted it in, only small municipalities like San Francisco had it. But at the state level, I see a glimmer of hope it will catch on.
This means that, given the U.S.'s present population of roughly 320 million, each Representative is roughly speaking on behalf of 735,000 people. That's an insane ratio... 735,000:1!
To put this into a historical perspective, when the Constitution was originally written the Framers explicitly wrote that "[t]he number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand[.]" Which means our current ratio is almost 25x greater than the Framers intended!
To put it in a contemporary perspective, the House of Commons in the UK seats 650 MPs. That amounts to roughly 93,000 people per representative, because the population of the UK is roughly 60 million. The House of Commons of Canada in... wait for it... Canada seats 338 MPs. With a population of roughly 35 million, that amounts to about 100,000 people per MP.
• Dramatically reducing the power of all current representatives.
• Weakening incumbency rates but strengthening the seniority system.
• Expanding opportunities for centrists but maybe also radicals, giving third-parties and regional parties a chance to exist.
• Substantially decreasing the number of Congressional staff.
Each one has its own pros and cons. But I say it'd be worth it if only for the reduction of Congressional staff. Right now, staff sizes are justified because the average district population is so high; the total number of personal staff for House members is 6,000 alone. These people live in Washington year round and are the primary targets of lobbyists, not the Representatives themselves. Also, they're usually the root source of countless ethics scandals. So all in all, it's very much a matter of accountability.
Now, a complete repeal of the Apportionment Act and a return to the 30,000:1 ratio would result in a House of Representatives numbering north of 10,000 seats. While I would find that to be fantastic — because I'm a minarchist kook — it's probably not pragmatic. But doubling or tripling the number of Representatives would still go a long way to fixing some of our issues.