Realizing the Mission Statement

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

I’ve been doing a bit of research to understand the mission of Docudharma (gotta love that name!) and I happened on the wiki which gave the number one goal as to (paraphrasing) bring the power back to the people through the Congress, as a counterweight to the power of the Executive, which we can all agree has become excessive.

In that light, I’d like to harp on one of my pet “projects”, which happens to line up with the goals and objectives of the group who sponsors the website

Please follow me across the jump to get to the full (full?) flowering of this rant.

The name arises from the clause in the Constitution that specifies the upper limit on the number of Representatives that we are allowed to have in the House of Representatives in Congress: (an aside, they actually thought that the problem would be that we’d want to have too many representatives, instead of the current situation!!): no more than one Representative per 30,000 people.

At that ratio, we would have, with the current population of the U.S., approximately 10,000 representatives in the House. The current number is 435 and has been fixed for a very long time. (Forgive me, please, I could go out and grab all this data, but you can too.)

Now let’s look at what this means that the size of the House has been fixed for a very long time.

Currently we have a situation where the average number of people per representatives is around 700,000, and growing. Since the size of the House is fixed (it was fixed at some point early in the 20th century), the House (the “peoples’ house”) become increasingly less representative every day. This is in sharp contrast to the intention of the framers of the Constitution, who believed that the size of the House would ever-increase.

What are the implications?

1. The House continues to lose power as a force for the People as it becomes less representative.

a. As population increases, the number of people that a representative (supposedly) represents continues to increase.

b. Since the House is so “small” it becomes increasingly easy for corporations and “the powers that be” to buy off the Congress.

c. It becomes harder and harder for “common people” to run for Congress.

d. If there were truly 10,000 members of the House, it would become very easy for even you and me to run for Congress. Big money would not be needed and could not have as much effect as it currently does.

e. Our representatives become, more and more everyday, like princes of old: harder to defeat; harder to get to listen to us; more aloof; more beholden to Big Money.

2. The power distribution between the states continues to become more skewed.

a. Since the distribution of the House is a zero-sum game, even high population states that had more representatives will lose seats in the House as populations increases and shifts.

b. The true power of the big population states becomes more and more dilute.

3. The power distribution in the Electoral College becomes more skewed.

a. Since the makeup of the Electoral College is the sum of the House members and the Senate members for each state, an increase in the size of the House would remedy the great disparity in the power of the states, where the low population states already have more power than their populations would merit.

b. Presidential politics would become more representative!

And the best part of this is: it would be relatively easy to change!

Increasing the size of the House would not require a Constitutional Amendment. All that is necessary is for the Congress to make it so.

Now they’re going to have to be dragged into doing the right thing, because, right now they are Princes! And no prince is going to want to make their life harder (more competetive, less lucrative, etc).

Yet, it’s the right thing for them to do and we need to make it obvious to them.

I’m sorry that I don’t have time to flesh more of this out and it all may seem very pie-in-the-sky! After all, if we really had 10,000 members of the House, where would they all sit? how would they get anything done?

But, think of this: the democratic and the republican conventions each have more delegates than the size of the House of Representatives. How do they get anything done? Where do they all sit?

Ok. I hope that at least one person gets some fire from this hastily composed diary and maybe there will be two of us spreading the word:

The Answer (at least part of the answer) Is a Bigger House!!!


Updated: The link to had the wrong text in the article, although the link was correct.


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  1. could always borrow Madison Square Garden until something large enough is built in D.C.  Or–is there a hockey arena in D.C.?  That could work, seems to me.  Those sports arenas sit idle for much of the time–no reason the government shouldn’t borrow one or more, considering the tax breaks given to construct ’em in the first place.

    How to get such a large, fractious group of legislators to enact any actual legislation, otoh, is a problem of another order of magnitude.

  2. You have hit on one of the big problems of our ‘representative’ democracy. Not enough representatives to represent us. The fix IS tough though, if we have more reps it puts even more power in the hands of the party leaders, as well as a host of other problems.

    One of which could be helped by electing really skinny reps?

    • jim p on October 15, 2008 at 03:59

    but a body that large…it’s easier to escape visibility and accountability, too.

    I like the’s exposition of the problem with the 700,000 sized district: because of greater diversity elections can be reduced to lowest-common-denominator issues, which means an unscrupulous person can build an attack on just the one issue.


    But, think of this: the democratic and the republican conventions each have more delegates than the size of the House of Representatives. How do they get anything done?

    Exactly. The way they get things done is through backroom deals, bribes, and threats, and it’s all decided pretty much by the time the public gets to see it. We’d most likely end up with a Potemkin Congress.

    Better would be to allow media to be opened locally to the population, with candidates required to appear, at the station’s cost, in various formats. Said formats designed to ensure no citizen group is denied access, and no candidate can hide.

    Of course that would ruin politics as we know it. But there’s no reason that’s not possible.

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