Senate too!

Discuss how we can hasten progress towards enlarging representation. There are two primary components to this: 1) educating others in order to gain the public support necessary; and, 2) ensuring implementation via a constitutional amendment.
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Senate too!

Postby gparmer » Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:23 am

Assume for a moment that I am supportive of Article the First, because it is true. I am horribly frustrated by the inability of our citizenry to personally know their representatives. I found this site after deciding how much better federal elections would be if they were more like *local* elections.

On the other hand, I have noticed something which could prevent me from voting for the change we desire. If the House size were increased over 10x, while the Senate remained constant, our Presidential elections would heavily favor more populous states. I believe our founding fathers sought to balance power between population and geography when they created our system of government. The Senate provides a legislative body which represents all states equally (which I am loosely correlating to geography) while the House represents the population centers of our country.

I hope I missed a part of this movement which includes Senate increases. Do you have a chart which shows the contribution each state would have toward a Presidential election, both before and after the change? I expect it to show a distinct lack of need for Presidential campaigns to ever visit rural states at all. As a citizen of a semi-rural state which is near the bottom of many charts, this is a huge concern. Recent Census data suggest that relative population density has not changed much, making my blog post about the US Presidential Elections from 2008 remain fairly accurate.

Great movement overall. Keep up the spirit. I fear we're going to need it.

-greg
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Re: Senate too!

Postby HouseSizeWonk » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:41 am

The problem with this reasoning is that it takes for granted (it "bakes in") the amount of influence that the Senate has now (or the 2 "Senate votes" in the Electoral College anyway) is much higher than it has been at any prior point in U.S. history because of the way we've allowed the House to get increasingly malapportioned.
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Re: Senate too!

Postby USeagle » Wed May 25, 2011 12:05 am

The Senate was to remain constant, two per State and the House to grow.

Presidential elections would heavily favor more populous states

Take a look at the 2010 census:
There are 39 States with 142,471,899 inhabitants/ 50,000 per district = 2,849 House Representatives, but those 39 States hold 78 Senators.

The remaining 11 States have 166,273,639 inhabitants/ 50,000 per district = 3,325 House Representatives, with only 22 Senators.

Even though the larger States had the upper hand in the Presidential election the smaller less populous States held the Senate.

Our Founder and Framers had it right!!!!!! IMO
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Re: Senate too!

Postby Pseudolus » Wed May 25, 2011 5:11 am

USeagle wrote:The Senate was to remain constant, two per State and the House to grow.
Presidential elections would heavily favor more populous states
Take a look at the 2010 census:
There are 39 States with 142,471,899 inhabitants/ 50,000 per district = 2,849 House Representatives, but those 39 States hold 78 Senators.

The remaining 11 States have 166,273,639 inhabitants/ 50,000 per district = 3,325 House Representatives, with only 22 Senators.

Even though the larger States had the upper hand in the Presidential election the smaller less populous States held the Senate.

Our Founder and Framers had it right!!!!!! IMO

I think the founders had it right too, however the drastic loss of present-day electoral college influence for the small states is certainly a roadblock we'll have to hurdle somehow if we're going to increase representation in the House.
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Re: Senate too!

Postby JEQuidam » Wed May 25, 2011 4:12 pm

Pseudolus wrote: I think the founders had it right too, however the drastic loss of present-day electoral college influence for the small states is certainly a roadblock we'll have to hurdle somehow if we're going to increase representation in the House.

That's a good point. You are referring to the two extra Electoral College votes relative to their other EC votes. That is, the state with only one House Representative effectively triples their vote EC vote because of their two Senators (so they have three Electors).

Mitigating that will be those small states that are under-represented in the House relative to their population. E.g., if they have .5% of the population but only .2% of the representation in the U.S. House (hypothetically). Increasing their number of Reps from 1 to 18, and thereby increasing their representation in the House up to .5%, should be very appealing. That is a continuous benefit rather than a quadrennial benefit of uncertain value.
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Re: Senate too!

Postby Pseudolus » Wed May 25, 2011 10:46 pm

JEQuidam wrote:Mitigating that will be those small states that are under-represented in the House relative to their population. E.g., if they have .5% of the population but only .2% of the representation in the U.S. House (hypothetically). Increasing their number of Reps from 1 to 18, and thereby increasing their representation in the House up to .5%, should be very appealing. That is a continuous benefit rather than a quadrennial benefit of uncertain value.

That too is a good point. But, by my calculations, most of the states (28?) actually go down in their % of representation in the House once we expand based on population, so our strategies for inducing change will have to vary from state to state. It would be helpful to have a spreadsheet comparing current %'s of representation in the House vs population %'s and prospective post-enlargement %'s of House representation. Perhaps you already have one?

It also might be worthwhile to run through old Presidential election returns and see if the Presidential outcomes would have changed if the House had been continuously enlarged according to the Madison method. (However, that's a much more involved process as we would have to break down actual election results based on individual district returns then combine them based on the various state laws.)
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Re: Senate too!

Postby USeagle » Thu May 26, 2011 11:21 pm

Did someone say spreadsheet….just so happens I started one a few weeks ago based on IMO.
I have finally found some people that see this issue (Ratio) as important as I do. Out of this new found exhilaration….. I find myself with a fire under my butt, to finish what I started. The spreadsheet only contains the ratio as it relates to the States; Census 2010, # State House Reps, # State Senate Reps and the ratio of sovereign individual per voting district. Oh, by the way it only includes 50 States and not the 56 or 58!!!! I was going to carry it out to the Federal House and Senate, then and now ratio.

I will get this uploaded in the next few days and you guys can help cur teak, adjust what ever to make it right. Many minds are better than one (mine is getting old and slow) between all of us, maybe we can justify the need to the many.

I think I have my notification set right on my profile, so if you do not hear from me by the middle of next week, throw another log under my butt.
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Re: Senate too!

Postby JEQuidam » Fri May 27, 2011 7:57 am

USeagle wrote:The spreadsheet only contains the ratio as it relates to the States; Census 2010, # State House Reps, # State Senate Reps and the ratio of sovereign individual per voting district.
I have a huge number of spreadsheets, many of them multi-gigabyte, but almost all focus on the federal analysis. They are still using 2000 Census data. I look forward to updating them to 2010.

However, you may find this interesting: “The Naming of Thirty-Thousand.org” This short article explains how small the states’ electoral districts were in 1787. The data for that came from this report: “Average Number of Residents per Representative Relative to Thirteen State Legislatures

Perhaps something in there will be useful to you.
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