Democracy is about representation. Part 1:Congress

You can call us a Democracy, a Representative Republic, or whatever; but it comes down to vox populi - the voice of the people.

We get to decide what goes in this country.

Or do we?

I have written a few times about amplifying our voices.

  • Campaign Reform - Not Enough Congressmen? - a piece expanding on an Philly Inquirer Op-Ed back in April.
  • Over the last few days a number of events are occurring to bring to the front burner my biggest pet issue

    We Need More Congresspeople

    • 2010 is a Census year.

  • 2010 is also a midterm election. It is an election that has a different substance than a Presidential Year. That means issues can come to the forefront. It isn't the Presidential Beauty Contest where we look for the gaffe of the day. I just hope this isn't too late.
  • A lawsuit was filed in Mississippi about increasing the size of Congress. A three judge panel decided that this is the purview of the Congress and only the Congress. Check out the New York Times article on this... suit-seeks-to-double-size-of-house.
  • Radio talker Michael Smerconish, who is from Philly, but broadcasts into DC has taken up this cause. That means the mucky-mucks who work in DC in the Government may actually be hearing about this idea. (In April Ron Paul was interviewed on the Smerconish Show and gave his almost thumbs up to the idea.)
  • If you think it is a good idea to increase the size of Congress, I don't have to convince you that the time to say something is now.

    As this three judge panel rightly states, it is the Congress that regulates itself. But I am not asking you to call these people and hound them with what you want.

    We need to make the argument that this is what THEY want. They just don't know it yet.

    A Congressperson likes their seat, their power, their influence. When you ask them to dilute their power you are asking them to give something up. Adding seats to the Congress has some advantages to those already there:

    • Less people to answer to means less work they have to do.

  • Less fundraising to retain their seat since they need to reach less people.
  • Unless they are a complete dolt when their district gets gerrymandered, they should have a seat that is closer to their base (they are more similar to the people they serve). The means it will be easier to maintain their current seat as long as they wish to keep it by doing their job.
  • They will have greater seniority. All the fresh faces will be getting in line behind them.
  • Knowing Congress the way most of us do - new campaign finance rules will be grandfathered in - so they will be able to keep what they have already raised.

    In other words, the trade-off we as citizens need to make on this is to essentially guarantee (read: bribe) the incumbents will have their current seats and seniority (and probably staff). In return we get our representative government back (that was twisted after the 1910 census) - each seat needs to represent a fixed number of people - 400,000 to 500,000 people. No state will lose a seat unless they lose significant population.

    These are the folks we need to suck up to - to a certain degree - to get what we want.

    Please contact your Congressperson and ask for this increase. If they don't like the idea, please contact their opponent - this is has the opportunity a potent issue as the summer moves along.