How to Improve the US House
First, let’s define what I think is wrong with the house: That the member represent too many people in a district and that districts are drawn to create safe seats for a particular party.
Let me address the first point, When I say represent too many people, The US house is currently locked in at 435 voting members. The range of representation per congressman is anywhere from 500,000 for one representative to almost a million people for another. Either way, that’s an extremely high ratio. I would propose locking the number of representatives at 200,000:1, which in the current census, with rounding rules applying.
As a quick set of examples: Wyoming would move from having one representative to 3, so would Alaska, North Dakota, and Vermont. California would go from 53 to 183 representatives. The total number of Representatives would go from 435 to 1540 or so. Would that be too unwieldy? I don’t think so, The current rules for the house limit debate (and most members don’t bother to show up for the debates), In addition, with voting being electronic, It’s not like the voting would take any longer.
A side issue is what you’d do about the Electoral College. Personally I think it’d be fine moving the bar from 538 to 1645 or so. Smaller states may have a mild objection at having their electoral power weakened. But it would move America closer a popular vote, while keeping the concept of an Electoral College in place. Maybe I’m the only person who likes the Electoral College, but I think it’s a fantastic way to symbolize America’s origins as a group of states working together to create a single country.
As far as the redistricting process. The single best way to perform it would be to write a computer program that ignored anything but population and working to create more compact and well designed districts that would create districts that are representative of the population in an area. would there be Some very safe districts? absolutely, But there would be quite a few more competitive districts out there, which would encourage those representatives to (in theory) be more moderate in their outlook and activities. Of course, that would require that the two parties in power be willing to give up their ability to gerrymander. Which has happened in a few states, it just needs to happen in more.
(Originally posted at blog.bloodstar.org )
(note: edited to fix a misspelling of Representative)