Arguments for smaller district size

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Arguments for smaller district size

Postby dsoeg » Sun Oct 19, 2014 1:34 pm

While I have long recognized that the 17th Amendment effectively led to the destruction of the 10th Amendment, it was not until late last year that I had an epiphany and realized that the size of an electorate for a public office is directly proportional to the ability of special interest groups/politicals to fool the electorate. The larger the population for a particular elected office, the less the chance for the electorate to accurately assess the qualities of the candidates and the more they are susceptible to the tools of the media: sound bites, misleading advertising, etc. Thus, the larger the district population, the more the tools of manipulation reign supreme.

Once this realization hit me, I searched the Internet, especially in regard to Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution regarding "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand..." This seemed incomplete. In my search, I stumbled upon the Thirty-Thousand.org and read of Article the First, which if ratified correctly would have completed the Constitution by encapsulating the representation within the 30,000 to 50,000 range of population per congressional district.

I have not read anything about it--not for lack of searching--but I am guessing that the American Colonies had extensive experience in electing representatives prior to the War for Independence, and that they learned that there was a direct relationship between the size of the electoral base and the ability for the people to select a suitable representative. To be workable, they believed it ranged from 30,000 to a max of 50,000 to 60,000.

Now TTO has a good article relating to Freedom indexes versus District Population size, which provides some pretty good research -- but I would be willing to bet that the reason small districts are more effective in promoting freedom is not just because of size, but also because the media cannot so readily be used to manipulate the results. It is hard to fool the public when you actually know who the candidates are.

In general, I hold politicians in contempt--and the entire existing political process in contempt. I believe in Statesmanship in contrast to politicians.

I once heard (I believe it was Glenn Beck) who cited that in the days of Samuel Adams in Massachusetts, anyone who promoted themselves for public office was immediately disqualified. I have not yet been able to verify this, but it seems a good practice. People who want to promote the public good ought to be discussing in detail their thinking and ideas and not trying to promote themselves. As I see it, we have a scarcity of considered thought and an abundance of politicians trying to promote themselves with sound bites and carefully crafted statements geared to maximizing their vote count. I view such people with contempt.

I have a lot of ideas on how the Constitution has been corrupted, but I would place highest on my list the 17th Amendment (which destroyed the purpose of the Senate to safeguard State interests) and the Apportionment Act of 1911, which froze the House at 435 members and effectively transformed the people's house into one controlled by the forces of political manipulation. These two acts were bad enough of themselves, but the evolution of the primary election process further undermined the ability to select candidates. Now, with very little exception, it is the candidate with the most backing by special interests--which means money--who is going to get selected as the candidate for public office. Money reigns.

Do you really think someone as inept as Meg Whitman would have been the Republican candidate for Governor of California if it were not for the fact of her money? That is what the primary process generates. While there are downsides to conventions selecting candidates, it is far more likely that a candidate representing the public interest be selected at a convention than through the existing primary election process.

Senators are elected by a statewide election and thus the size of the population precludes the ability of the public to really know the candidate--the forces of political manipulation mostly via the media reign supreme. In every State, the electorate for Senator exceeds the upper limit (say 60,000) for an informed electorate. Thus, candidates are elected based on sheer politics. And, especially in California, the same is the situation for House membership.

We need statesmen in our government, people who stand for something, people who articulate honestly their beliefs--and people who truly are representative of the people they are supposed to represent. We should select from our midst such people and promote them as candidates to represent us for a term in office.

Pandering politicians will never fill that bill. However, we will never be able to escape from the world of special interest manipulative politics so long as we have population sizes that exceed a workable limit. The trick is: how do we educate people to the fact that as district size increases, the harder it is to know the person running for office and the easier it is to fool the public come election time.

If the public truly understood the situation--that the larger the district population the more the forces of mass media manipulation reign supreme--they would demand that for all elections, federal, State, and local -- that population sizes for a district be kept within reasonable bounds.

I would like to see compelling articles developed (and hopefully videos) which educate the general public to this concept.
dsoeg    
 
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Stance: Pro-Enlargement

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