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We need Proportional Representation in the House


Cecelia
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People always talk about term limits, but you rarely hear them mention how we need proportional representation. Term Limits fixes nothing. New Blood is nice, but it won't fix the problems. And it won't fix gerrymandering.

 

What we need is for the house of representatives to be proportional, rather than winner take all.

Seats should be determined by vote like this:

Let's say a state has 10 representatives.

 

District 1-6 are Republican Districts under our current system, and 7-10 are Democrat districts. So if you're living in a Republican District your vote for a Democrat or third party is often worthless. (I live in a Republican district, and there's pretty much ZERO chance of my vote mattering. I DO vote, mind you. But it always feels so futile.

 

Under our current system 60% of the state could vote Democrat, and 40% could vote Republican, and we get 6 Republican Reps, and 4 Democrat reps.

But with proportional... you'd get 6 Democrat Representatives, and 4 Republican Representatives. Thus doing away with Gerrymandering and drawing of districts.

 

I think it'd also open the way for third parties to gain seats. Thus making it harder for one party to gain too much control. I mean right now if you have 2 green party representatives running for the House, then in the other 8 distrcits Green Voters have to vote between the candidates in their district. And a vote for a third party in a solidly democratic or republican stronghold feels like a waste for many people--but if representatives were chosen proportionally it would encourage third parties.

I'm not sure about details of how candidates would be selected from that, but I think it's similar to the system Europe has. I think we could learn a lot from Europe.

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Yes we do the way that the house and the electoral college are set up is just undemocratic and it needs to be reformed and maybe the way people are elected,will be be more fair and the people will have a better day in the process of election officals

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The way our government is set up now, the majority of the people, too often end up with a different government than they expected. Excellent suggestions in the OP and post #2, to correct this.

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One, it would require a major re-writing of the Constitution (which is never going to happen).

 

Two, it would remove the idea that you have a district representative in Congress who is answerable to voters in your locality.

 

Three, in many countries with proportional representation (and no fixed majority) corruption and special interest influence increases as the "horse-trading" necessary to get majorities on legislation leads politicians to make "deals" that can be very bad for their nations.

 

Four, we really want more (rather than fewer) wing-nuts in Congress?

 

Bill

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1- Actually it wouldn't even require an amendment--just an act of congress-because proportional representation would be constitutional. The (federal) constitution does not state that representatives must come from single-member districts.

 

2. We don't have a direct representative in congress under our current system. In fact we have less of one now than we would under proportional representation. As it stands--my one vote against my representative is meaningless. I might as well not vote at all. Why should I? He's going to win by a comfortable margin so long as he appeals to the conservatives in my area. Why would he even try to appeal to democrats or members of other parties? His seat is safe. He doesn't represent me at all. He's not answerable to me in the slightest.

 

3. No system is without flaws. Currently we have a system that encourages obstruction by the opposition party when they're in power. To the point where they vote against things that they actually are for--which means that we never see anything get done. Bipartisanship is practically dead. It's been killed by the Republican party.

 

4. We obviously have very different definitions of wing-nuts. Third party candidates aren't necessarily 'wing-nuts', and if they actually had a shot at winning they'd draw candidates that are sensible, but don't want to bow to their current party.

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It's supposed to be out government. I claim the government as currently structured is not working well for most Americans and is in need of change. Suggestions like these are a good and necessary step to correcting the failures. These are good suggestions and it is the correct topic. We may disagree with specific suggestions, but I think that together we can bring about many needed improvements. I oppose the claim we cannot make changes and we should give up before we even discuss what we what.

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1- Actually it wouldn't even require an amendment--just an act of congress-because proportional representation would be constitutional. The (federal) constitution does not state that representatives must come from single-member districts.

 

2. We don't have a direct representative in congress under our current system. In fact we have less of one now than we would under proportional representation. As it stands--my one vote against my representative is meaningless. I might as well not vote at all. Why should I? He's going to win by a comfortable margin so long as he appeals to the conservatives in my area. Why would he even try to appeal to democrats or members of other parties? His seat is safe. He doesn't represent me at all. He's not answerable to me in the slightest.

 

3. No system is without flaws. Currently we have a system that encourages obstruction by the opposition party when they're in power. To the point where they vote against things that they actually are for--which means that we never see anything get done. Bipartisanship is practically dead. It's been killed by the Republican party.

 

4. We obviously have very different definitions of wing-nuts. Third party candidates aren't necessarily 'wing-nuts', and if they actually had a shot at winning they'd draw candidates that are sensible, but don't want to bow to their current party.

 

1. I was surprised to learn you are correct on this point. I learned something today thanks for that. Districts were legislated (as opposed to being constitutionally mandated). Remaining is the fact that representation by geographically defined districts is consistent with the ideals of checks and balances enumerated in the Federalist Papers.

 

2. Of course, we do have direct representatives elected to the House that represent the district we live in. That such rep has differing politics or party than the minority in their district is another issue.

 

3. "Not without flaws" is an understatement when it comes to unwieldy coalitions that need to horse-swap for votes. It is a way to increase extremism and political corruption, with the cure being worse than the disease in my estimation.

 

4. In 40 years of voting I've yet to see a third party or a third party candidate that I wouldn't consider a wing nut. Empowering the fringe is not a good plan from my point of view.

 

Bill

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The proportional system solves the gerrymandering problem, but at a cost: representatives are now not responsible to any area in particular, just to the state as a whole.

 

Fixing the gerrymandering problem itself is better. It can be done with a simple mathematical algorithm run on data from the last census. i.e. updated within a year of a census.

 

It involves drawing lines that bisect (or trisect, etc) the state by population, then bisect (or trisect etc) the sections by population. Exactly how you do it depends on the number of representatives for that state, factored into prime numbers. You always start with the largest prime factor, and work your way down. You always use latitude lines and longitude lines, but alternate which. All areas would be contiguous and compact.

 

I could write this algorithm in my sleep.

 

Examples:

Ex 1. NJ has 12 reps = 2*2*3, it's prime factorization. Trisect by population. Bisect each of those three areas by population. Bisect those 6 areas again by population. Then make sure no line goes through a house, with a one-house squiggle if necessary. Presto: 12 equally populated contiguous compact areas.

Ex 2. Massachusetts has 9 reps. Trisect by population, then trisect each of the three areas by population again. Done.

Ex 3. California has 53 reps, and 53 is prime, so this is the weirdest case. Draw 52 latitude lines resulting in 53 equi-populated areas. It's likely that LA will have more than one district. Still: Easy for software, impossible to gerrymander.

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Worse than gerrymandered?

They'd be equal in population, and bounded by lat/lon lines. Their reps would have to cooperate with other reps whose districts shared interests and concerns.

 

What would be wrong with that?

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Worse than gerrymandered?

They'd be equal in population, and bounded by lat/lon lines. Their reps would have to cooperate with other reps whose districts shared interests and concerns.

 

What would be wrong with that?

 

You said 52 latitude lines, which would put my area of Los Angles in the same sliver of a district as 29 Palms and the deserts of bum-fuck nowhere.

 

It would be a nonsensical district politically and one that would be a day's journey to cross. I doubt CA has a district less representative that the one proposed. The current one is far more rational. Sorry. I'm not a fan of gerrymandering. But yes, worse.

 

Bill

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We need to end the practice of gerrymandering one way or the other. The damage gerrymandering has done to our democratic republic should not be underestimated; Nor the threat it imposes in the future.

 

All politics is local - Tip O'Neill

 

The majority of state legislatures, which set the boundaries of congressional districts, in their states, are Republican. Gerrymandered districts are designed to nullify elections by creating safe seats for congressmen who can then safely ignore the popularity of their legislation because they don't need to worry about being replaced at election time. So they safely take highly unpopular actions like defunding the government, in a shutdown and prevent the passage of popular, and needed legislation by killing bills in the House of Representatives. So, if there is a Democratic president and senate, the house can still, largely shut down the workings of the Federal government. Both Democrats and Republicans gerrymander. But because most state legislatures are Republican dominated, almost all of the congressional obstruction has come from Republicans.

 

The Nation cannot go on this way for very much longer. Gerrymandering needs to be stopped.

 

My apologies for restating what most, in this room, already know. But the damage done to our Nation by the increased use of gerrymandering has been outrageous.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/13/this-is-actually-what-america-would-look-like-without-gerrymandering/

This is actually what America would look like without gerrymandering
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I like getting away from gerrymandering as the best idea that makes the most sense. Proportionality would only mean all democrats then maybe all democrats not so good. After a few cycles of not so good, all Republican comes back again and sooner than later, neither is any good.

 

Do away with gerrymandering, and also do away with the money that gets in the way and corrupts them, and us. Living in California we have in the state house we semblance of direct democracy in the form of the referendum, yet the problem there is all indirect money spent to largely misinform the public at large and so therefore it sometimes feels more like dumbocracy.

 

IT is more than bothersome to listen to constant adds that make up all sorts of silly concocted lies out of thin air and unless you're informed you are better off saying no to any proposition no matter how good it may sound. Yep, that old fashioned apathy comes around and around again in good old Californ.

 

Example: in San Fran, a proposition to tax sugary soda comes off as a grocery tax by the big soda companies. The soda companies target the less informed and say if you tax soda then the distributors will wind up charging more for foods you buy at your grocery store. Obviously, that's a stupid lie, but it works.

 

And another, a proposition says the state will not pay pharmaceuticals company's more for drugs than what the federal government pays for Veterans. This of course is only a short piece of the pie that big pharma charges, since it only mandates what the state pays for, and the state only pays for drugs through medicaid - which is only a small piece of the profit pie. So then, the pharmaceutical company's manufacture adds saying that they will have to increase the costs on everyone else to pay for this shortfall to their profits --- they say this even though they routinely get government subsidy in the form of patents, as well as all kinds of support through the NIH, and government funded Research. So it's a you do this, then, we'll just do that, less-than holistic approach - or Warning they like to utilize. Yeah, we know what you do big pharma - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/05/health/05drug.html?_r=0

 

Someone's got to pay, is what they (big pharma corps) say or suppose we should all have to agree is true and oh boy, we sure as hell do. But they don't, they don't nearly as much in so many other developed nations. Witness the amount of advertisement spent on all kinds of drugs, the marketing of so many similar drugs, or the eliciting of different ways to utilize the same drug in efforts to extend the drugs patent rights.

 

 

An informed public, how do we get there is the question we all need to ask. Here's a good story regarding the changing of a so wrong idea https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/the-white-flight-of-derek-black/2016/10/15/ed5f906a-8f3b-11e6-a6a3-d50061aa9fae_story.html

 

 

Finally, Trump continues to say at rallies today that he will stop illegal immigration if elected and make sure the wall is completely financed by Mexico... Just on the face of it, such an idea is pure evil. You take a country that is struggling and you want it to pay to keep all its hopeless people from escaping. You want Mexico to spend its own money not on its own people in the form of education, building a better infrastructure, making sure that it can some day realize its own sustainable economy.... And you want it to instead focus some of its spare change, say ten or twenty billion, on a fucking wall. Doesn't that sound a tad bit racist --- I think, nobody is superior, no matter where they are born, but that's maybe my own humanist mind again suggesting that possibly we would all gain by working together a bit more for a better world.

 

Peace!

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