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RealClearPolitics.com's Sean Trende- More Congressmen?

Mar 16, 2014|

Adding seats to the House could cure some ills.

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Politics it's hard line. On news radio nine. And why -- we -- this -- pilot did a program that I've been lying to do for about a week or so now is a very interest in one. -- a comes to us from real clear politics dot com. One of their senior analysts on trendy is here he's written a piece and you -- -- -- FaceBook page by the way FaceBook dot com slash -- the -- join and sign up for. -- to have either. He's written a piece that says basically we need to increase the size of the House of Representatives. When you look at all the partisan bickering that is going on in congress. Some people of said the reason for that is because. The districts have been -- so there are really really safe democratic districts that are nothing but Democrats or really really safe Republican districts that are nothing but Republicans. And that means when you run you have to go to the hard left or the really hard right. In order to satisfy the constituents in your district how do we change that -- neither redraw the lines or as -- -- says we can add. More members to congress it was interesting enough when I read -- I thought we kick it around for just a little bit here Sean thanks for joining us. And make the case I know I outlined some of it but why do you want to see more members of congress what do you think it would accomplish. What was all sorts of reasons to do and I won't give you imagine we'll discuss them in. In detail but I think good start out of the big picture philosophical idea which is that you know the United States. It's supposed to be the premier representative democracy in the world were the oldest constitutional republic in the world. Com and when we started out we have one congressman for every 30000 people. And people rid of the founders really wanted to keep members' districts small impact we've grown to the point where we have one. Congressman for every 700000. People that that's one of the highest ratios. Of members to constituents in the world. So I think try to hit congressman closer to their constituents. To have more interaction with them to it to kind of improve our democracy we will wanna increase the size of the house. And if they were closer to them do you think it would change policy in the debate in the way things are done. I think so I mean we see him -- a lot more comedy. That we typically see. In and you know congress right now which is just just brutally polarize it doesn't mean that there are any statehouses. That are polarized -- that they tend to be a little bit better. -- what do you do in terms of the district. Size in the way they're drawn I've talked to a lot of people including former congressman Tom Reynolds from around here. Who ran the house congressional committee for years and years but one that. Republican committee that helps try and reelect Republican congressman. And he just told me that part of the reason why it gets so tooth and nail is because of the way the districts are drawn -- this change that. Well wouldn't. You know you'd have to sit up part of that are nonpartisan. Commissions to really give it to wait districts are drawn but you know that did the trick is that if you. Have larger district or smaller -- larger and larger number of districts representing your constituents. That make that a little more difficult Jerry commander. Because he can't draw the point the -- running from. You know that -- the eastern suburbs of Albany all the way down the New York City excerpt you'd have to call people together with fewer number of districts. So it makes the gerrymandering process more difficult. And do what else are you saying your article I did again post this up on FaceBook. It -- in your article the idea that it would diminish the impact of mail apportionment and that's not just gerrymandering what do you mean by that. Well there are you know we we that we that we buy into the idea of one person one vote. And yet a yes you know the congressional district is they they are the same number of people because if you look at states like Wyoming. One district there's 500000 people roughly there. Montana a million people want congressional district of fact that the size of the district varies. From state state. So if you increase the size -- -- -- you actually would use the it impact of these single member districts and he's smooth out the discrepancies. Among states. I know you put this out there as an article has something for people like me to chew on and something to read because it's interesting you don't ever think this really happened to you. No no and I mean it's happened wants to district are what the decade. Every decade for the first 240 years or so Republican and the major stock. You know it at this point. The interest groups would want that because it makes it more difficult to their present have to go around you know 600 members to support in the 35. An individual congressman wouldn't want it because adding more -- effectively believes the impact of their vote. And they would be the ones in part that would have to say yes this. Act at a constitutional convention here. What is the reaction -- you've had this peace out there for a little bit has anyone said hey wow -- have great points let's go ahead and do it. Or or have you found people are raising those eyebrows. Well don't matter like -- and I shouldn't all my I'd like -- I founded insisting Iran and matter. Yeah I had no one in a position of power. They. It's -- you know what I think I'm gonna introduce a bill that does this benign generally the reaction to the pieces been favorable. There are groups out there that advocates for an increase -- -- the house. There -- back -- constitutional amendment that is technically been ratified. But archivist of the United States is never. Really ratified it that would set the maximum size has to -- 200000. You know there's been litigation try to force that it's been unsuccessful. But you know this is just kind of fund bought pieces and maybe forget the discussion going some point battle lines something can happen. What inspired you to write it what do you see that that that you wanted to change here. At it's core you talking about changing some of the representation I get that. But is there a broader issue are you really trying to say something about the partisan fights here. You know this is the -- seven kicking around in my mind for a long time actually when -- -- in law school very long time ago. My one my Mike how law professor pointed out that the original First Amendment of the constitution had been to fix cap the number of constituents that congressional district could have and that -- kind of struck me as interesting. And so this is the I don't know that I have in the larger agenda here we're just struck me that the idea that have been percolating in my mind. On intersected with a lot of the discussions that we've been having right now -- about you know reapportionment. About minority majority districts in the voting rights act. About polarization all the stuff kinda ties into the idea of what's what's the ideal size. Are you one of those that thinks we are too partisan or is that back and forth debate here like this -- -- you know I I I kind of go back and forth. On that Eileen torch too partisan mean I'm -- I tend to be you know more centrist person myself and I feel like he knows centrist point of view. Even though it is more minority point of view in this country and people like to admit. It is under represented in congress congress has become very polarized. And makes more difficult to get things done. When a segment is this sort of I don't wanna take these risks but I think I'm gonna anyway 8030930s. Or number. Let's briefly if we can't squeeze in one particular phone call here we might have time for even more. Go ahead you're on the -- hello. I in light and lying flat tire ram and my scenario. I -- you are on the radio now lies yes. Am so sorry efficient -- line from its. Locals saying we have a 135000. People in the county. We used to have twenty fives representatives. In the county. Legislators. And they voted Dick spring again in nineteen I think to save money and I always thought. They had to say the minimal amount of money. We were to -- seen. Representation. Yeah I note saying a lot of counties have downsized their. Their legislators. Certainly. Had an OK it but somewhere in there I can't references but I think Thomas Jeffords then. Has the quote about the more representation you have the better off the country yes. I mean that -- mundane but so many people are trying to lower the amount of representation. And I disagree with that. Yet Tom boards have done a Tucson do you think this sort of flies in the face of the government efficiency argument. Some downsize regional allies make things better that way. Well with the that the problem that you end up with this -- downsize you know he's representative. Represented a broader. -- this statement so either he has to or she has spent more time traveling around and meeting more constituents and less time actually legislating. Com or you know leave the cash -- like -- on the job and that's not a -- choice. And so that's the problem -- with keeping you know in terms of outstrips senator is keeping its smallest that you know. Before. You know -- a -- a represented -- could know all 30000 members. Back in his district. And I'm not advocating that we put to prosper percentages that's small but you know a 700000. Constituent. House of Representatives you know and keep your constituents. Campaigns are expensive yet spent an awful lot of time fundraising. It's it just all sorts of problems with it. So on trendy is with real clear politics dot com he's one of their analyst he wrote this piece for Larry seven it was crystal ball that's at the University of Virginia. Both of those are really good political newsletter is if you're a junkie into all of us before you we'd like she goes on because of your pedigree I have to ask you. What do you see in the house and senate races coming up what what's your prediction on the mid terms how close are things. In the house is not close on the Republicans are probably gonna pick up. Maybe five feet you know their base they occupied most of the Republican feet now. So there isn't a lot for them to gain the Bennett on the other hand. I think right now the Democrats are looking at like seven to eight -- loss. Possibly more depending on what president's job approval does between now and Election Day and that's enough to slip it. That is -- -- that I think there's you know better than 5050 chance. That the Republicans will take the senate. All right Sean great stuff -- glad you -- join us this morning interesting piece I'll throw up on our website with your permission to that's okay. -- respect and thanks for joining us that's on trendy with real clear politics dot com.