The House of Representatives serves a very specific role in the functioning of the United States government. It it the strong hold of popular sovereignty. It is where our most direct representatives go to see that our specific needs and desires are seen to by the federal government. This is the best example of real democratic principles at work that we have today. It is has some very real problems right now that are preventing it from fulfilling these duties. Thankfully I have a potential solution.
First we should establish just what the problem is. The problem that is so plaguing our House of Representatives is the lack of actual local representation. This was a problem that ate away at our Founding Fathers. This was one of the most hotly contested issues at the constitutional convention and through out the early era of our Republic. It makes sense that this would be an issue as the nation is growing, after all how many congressmen should a new state get? Is that fair to previous states, or fair to the new states?
Now a days it seems to be mostly settled. We have reached a logical end size to our growth as nation. Having achieved that, we have a method of apportionment that supposedly works also for this size. It is based around the concept that the States can create districts for themselves so long as they meet certain requirements. It seems sound enough and couched in principles of Federalism to boot. It does not practically work that way however.
This is where the blue teams complaint with this statement comes in. Because the red team regularly dominates local and state elections, they get to draw the districts. They then proceed to “gerrymander” them. This means they draw them to fit the technical requirements, while functionally being electorally safe. This upsets the blue team. They want a system by which the districts are “fairly” drawn, meaning drawing them to weight their advantages instead.
Well the solution is to give neither side what they want. Instead we dismantle all congressional districts as they currently exist. Once this has been accomplished we radically expand the house of Representatives to ensure significantly more localized interests. How would we do this? By establishing the reshuffled House based on a principle of one representative per county or administratively equivalent district.
There are many potential benefits to this. As stated above, and most importantly, it would truly localize all interests. This is important because it fulfill the mandate of the house by giving sub-state areas a seat at the federal table. This also compacts the districts significantly allowing citizens to more easily track down their representative. It would be an excellent opportunity to codify deep cuts to their compensation, because there would be so many more of them to pay off.
Finally, and this may seem illogical but I think it could greatly reduced the number of career politicians. Hear me out. Not every county is going to be able to produce someone with the political savvy to turn it into a career. This is good. It also allows for easier challenges because there aren’t such large voting blocs to forge safe bases out of. The reduced compensation will also disincetize spending so long in D.C.
The blue team may be right. There is a problem with the House is districted. The solution isn’t a new way of districting though. The solution is to abolish districts. Just this once, restore power directly to the people at large.