Kbg wrote: ↑
Tue Nov 30, 2021 6:27 pm
I'm not sure geography rules will really do anything. I sat through a lecture by Charlie Cook (of The Cook Report fame) about 15 years ago and he mentioned that with the advent of highly precise geographic systems and data mining the ability to draw a congressional district the way you want it to vote was a 100% probability. He opined this technological advancement was the biggest threat to a democracy he could think of.
Definitely not a fan of a larger congress. I don't see anything good that comes of it.
So overall, I'm with Pug and pretty cynical about anything substantive changing a system that fixes things for the two parties. My state passed a constitutional amendment requiring congressional districts be drafted by a non-partisan committee...and of course the state legislature disapproved the recommendations and drew them where the majority party wanted them. My state is so locked up for one party that party members sued the party (and won) on the ability for write-in ballots to win a primary...which several have done and won. That tells you the party is being controlled by a very narrow, hard core partisanship. I guess it's good politics but we can see the impact it's having on the US for our ability to develop anything remotely resembling policy continuity or long term strategy. I personally think with China as a competitor (who is very good at long ball) this current characteristic could be very dangerous.
I think the only thing that shakes up the system in a good way that can't be subverted is for a centrist party to emerge that gains some serious popularity. Even something small as a 20% wedge could be a serious game changer. However, centrists tend not to be super passionate in politics (hence centrists) and to my knowledge there isn't a party in the US that attempts to be that. All the ones I'm aware of are right of the Rs and left of the Ds.
1. MMPR in larger districts (even assuming each state got no more representatives and we still stayed at 435 of them total) pretty much makes gerrymandering pointless. In today's system, if you can pack all the other party's voters into one or two super-safe 90/10 districts and put all your own voters into roughly 55/45 districts then you can win overwhelmingly even if you get a minority or plurality of the vote. In a large enough MMPR district, this becomes a lot more difficult if not impossible to do....and besides, under an MMPR system even if one party (let's call them Party A here) DID
manage to create a bunch of districts for itself that were roughly 55/45 in its favor and put most or almost all of its opposing party's (Party B's) voters into one big
90/10 district that wouldn't accomplish all that much due to the nature of how MMPR works. To show what I mean consider what happens in the above case under each system:
Under an MMPR system with a few large MMPR districts per state
: It would simply mean that in the 55/45 districts just under half of the representatives in that district would come from Party B and just over half would come from Party A while in the 90/10 "packed" district it would mean that roughly 90% of the representatives would come from Party B while maybe one representative in ten would come from Party A. No particular advantage nor disadvantage comes from any form of gerrymandering or packing or cracking of districts; thus, gerrymandering becomes kind of pointless.
Under our current system
: Depending on how good your computer software and gerrymandering skills are (and how ruthless your party is willing to be) you can (in a state that is roughly split 50/50 or 47/53 or 52/48 etc--i.e. something really close in terms of people supporting each party--between Party A and Party B in terms of actual voters) pack all of one party's voters into 95/5 or 90/10 or 80/20 districts and cram most of your own party's voters into 55/45 or 57/43 or 54/46 districts thus ensuring that even if you only get 48% or 49% of the actual votes come election day you can still win a majority or even (if your gerrymandering was effective enough) a supermajority.
2. Expanding the House of Representatives has at least four good features (when combined with larger MMPR districts as above):
A. Allows or third parties and independents to actually get some representation (whereas under today's system if you can't get at least half the votes you get none at all),
B. Allows minority party voters to actually have representation (because today in a district like AOC's or MTG's the 25 or 30% or so of voters from the "other party" get no representation at all whereas in an MMPR system with more representatives if a party even had, say, 5 or 6% of the voters in a district then that would likely be enough for that party to at least get one member to send to Congress in, say, an MMPR district with 20 or 25 Representatives; even if each district only had, say, 10 representatives then if the minority party could muster just 10 or 11% of the vote then they would at least get some
representation; in today's system, anything less than 50.0001% of the vote means you get no representation at all).
C. Allows centrist or biconceptual or less extreme members of a party to actually have some representation (for instance, in an enlarged version of MTG's district with multiple representatives there would almost certainly be on or two centrist moderate Republicans and probably four or five traditional Ryan-Romney style "business and chamber of commerce and tax cuts" type Republicans as well as one or two or moderate Democrats and maybe one slightly progressive Democrat....of course MTG would probably still have a seat as well on top of all the above but hey, under an MMPR system with more representatives if she can win a seat then more power to her; her voters deserve representation as well).
D. With more Congresspersons there would actually be more people available to READ the damn bills before voting on them rather than having lobbyists (and/or soon-to-become lobbyist staffers) do the drafting and writing of bills without any actual Congressperson reading over the whole thing in detail.
3. There are very few true actual "centrists" at least of the corporatist style "centrist" that passes for centrism in America today) in this country; if this were not the case, then maybe Mike Bloomberg would be President and Howard Schultz would be Vice President. Obviously, they aren't and there aren't.
Most of what we call "centrism" in voters in the US is either:
A. Biconceptualism i.e. having some strong conservative and some strong liberal positions but very few true centrist ones (e.g. someone who is pro-gun and against abortion but is also in favor of unions, a higher minimum wage, and taxing the rich like Truman and Eisenhower did),
B. What political scientists call "ideological conservatives but operational liberals"....i.e. someone who when asked states that he/she thinks the government does too much, costs too much, is too big, is too powerful, runs too high of a deficit, etc but when asked which specific
programs he/she would cut doesn't really want to do that much cutting and/or actually wants to see certain programs expanded; the classic example of this is the (in)famous "keep your government hands of my Medicare" voter....or the voter who dislikes "Obamacare" by name but then is in favor of protections for those with preexisting conditions, wants to keep guaranteed issue of health insurance and not letting insurers turn away potential insureds just because they might be sick or costly, wants the health care subsidies to remain, voted in favor of expanded Medicaid, etc.
That's why you likely won't have a viable centrist party in the US any time soon.