Is it time to expand the U.S. House of Representatives? MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, inspired by The Washington Post’s Danielle Allen, believes so. And not just because that’s what the founders of our nation wanted.
When the founders established the House of Representatives, they established the ratio of one Representative per 35,000 constituents. They also made it clear that the House should expand as the population grows. But 100 years ago, our leaders decided to stop growing the House. Today, each of the 435 U.S. Representatives represents an average of 762,000 citizens. That’s more than 20 times what the founders originally designed, and many times that of every other democratic nation.
“America is the only democracy that has not adjusted the size of its legislative assembly,” says Velshi. We have the highest representation ratio of any comparable democracy, by a long shot.” The United States in 2023 has grown by 200,000,000 people in one century — and continues to grow.
The problem with not expanding the House of Representatives as our nation expands is obvious. They just can’t serve the needs of all of their constituents, who are often drowned out by “the loudest voices in the room” (in other words, those with the most money).
Sure, there are concerns about growing the legislative body too big. Where would we physically put all these U.S. Representatives? Would more Representatives mean bigger and therefore less productive government? “One thing is clear,” says Velshi, “By effectively representing more people, elected officials are beholden to fewer of them.”
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