An At-Large Congress

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An At-Large Congress

Postby Carleas » Fri May 13, 2022 7:10 pm

Consider the following system for electing the members of Congress:

  • Each voter gets 3 votes, so they can vote for three people to represent them (i.e. can't vote three times for the same person).
  • Any person getting more than 1 million votes becomes a member of congress.
  • Of the resulting pool of congressional representatives, the top 20% by vote count constitute the Senate, and the rest constitute the House of Representatives.

Currently, congressional representation is geographic: Senators represent the state, and Representatives represent a specific geographical area within a state. Geographic representation made more sense at the time of the founding, when states thought of themselves as truly sovereign nations, and people's lives and social networks were hyper-local. A geographically defined group had a meaningful commonality of interest, and states-as-sovereigns effectively sent diplomats to ensure their interests were protected. But now, the system feels odd. The 17th Amendment made Senators less tied to the state-qua-sate, and more to the state as a geographic constituency. State sovereignty has been significantly curtailed by centuries of expanding federal power. People think of themselves as being citizens of the US first and of a state second (if at all). Moreover, House districts are gerrymandered to hell, they do not plausible represent any community and have become another avenue of vote suppression and party power consolidation.

The system I propose above seeks to address the mismatch by replacing it with at-large voting for all members of Congress; each member represents a self-identified constituency, defining itself on whatever dimension it finds important. A geographic community could still elect a representative if its membership were coherent enough to rally around a representative. But so could a religion, a race, an internet subculture, or a group affected by a specific niche issue. Each person gets more than one vote in part because they are part of more than one such community. They could endorse a candidate who will reflect their religious values, one who will represent their industry, and one who will champion a particularly meaningful cause. It encourages a certain type of diversity of constituency, since it rewards candidates that stake out a particular niche to represent. Simultaneously, it diffuses some of the tyranny of the majority concerns, since majorities will be less unified on their second and third candidates than on their first, and so make coalition building more fluid and less sclerotic.

The separation of the resulting pool into a Senate and a House achieves a few additional goals. First, it keeps the rest of US government as it is, minimizing changes that e.g. going to a unicameral legislature would require. It encourages people to vote for a candidate even if they they know will clear the threshold either way, and weights power by vote count while still preserving the equality of votes within each house. Senate will still be smaller and senators will represent more people, and in some sense will represent the larger identities in our society, while the larger House gets input from the rabble of smaller identities and issues. And, if I may be permitted, there is an aesthetic benefit to having a House that represents many diverse constituencies, and a Senate that represents fewer large constituencies that transcend them; a House of the pluribus, and a Senate of the unum.

For similarly aesthetic reasons, I count as a benefit the fact that this system would produce a Congress of varying size: when the people are more of the same mind, Congress is smaller, and hones in the issues that remain; as unity of purpose falls, Congress increases to capture that diversity of opinion.

The numbers I picked are not necessary to the idea, but neither are they totally without reason. They were targeted towards achieving the benefits described above, while keeping the size of Congress similar to what it is today (535, 435 in the House and 100 in the Senate). In the last presidential election, there were about 160 million votes, which under this system would produce 480 million votes, for a maximum of 480 members of congress, with 96 in the Senate and 384 in the House. That's an unlikely result, however, as many will get much more than 1 million votes, and we might need to run simulations to see what results in the best balance of average size and representativeness.

One issue of note with this system is that is assumes all members of Congress are elected simultaneously, which isn't the case. There are a number of ways to address this, but some may undermine the benefits of the system. For example, if a third of seats were elected in each cycle, each large constituency could expect 3 members of congress representing it, since they would presumably be able to get a representative of their choosing into congress in each cycle; we could adjust the numbers to account for this, but could not achieve as representative a Congress at the same size. But it could also introduce an interesting dynamic of moving members between houses mid-term, as the size of Congress and the vote-threshold for being in Senate changes.

I am sure I am missing other issues as well, but I assert that this would do a better job representing the interest of US Citizens in our legislature than the current system does, and would solve many problems with our democracy.
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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby Ecmandu » Fri May 13, 2022 8:04 pm

Welcome back to your boards Carleas.

The two problems you missed are exposure and prime factorization.

Exposure is a media issue. It’s determined by money/special interests/propaganda.

Encryption has gotten to the point of more known particles in the known universe... except for the people who set it. They have 100% decryption. I don’t mean to sound conspiratorial here... I wouldn’t even trust myself with that much power. We need a different voting system.

I’ve proposed a digital archive that allows a person to check whether their vote is what they voted without anyone else able to check it but them.

This would require tax payers to support voting centers in thousands of cities that are open year round .

I’ve thought a lot about this too Carleas

Let’s exchange notes.
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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby Ichthus77 » Fri May 13, 2022 8:47 pm

Carleas,

Please pardon my interruption, but I replied here and wanted to make sure you saw it:
https://ilovephilosophy.com/viewtopic.p ... 3#p2870463
Fall semester ends 12/16/22. Apologies if I do not reply immediately.

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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby Carleas » Sat May 14, 2022 12:53 am

Ecmandu wrote:Exposure is a media issue. It’s determined by money/special interests/propaganda.

I take it you mean something about the issue that who people vote for is determined by who they've heard of, and that's controlled by powerful interests. I think that's true, but I think this system actually solves this problem.

A centralized media can pretty easily force a 'most recognized person', but it has a harder time forcing the second or third place person. Under the system I propose above, instead of trying to prevent the media from pushing a favored candidate, you let them and let that person end up as one of many. The media narrative might be able to force someone into the top 20% of vote getters, but they will have a harder time hand-picking all of them than they do in a system where they can just restrict who's on the ballot. Even if they try to force dozens of candidates, even among the elites alignment begins to break down, i.e. they may broadly agree on who the best person is or what the best policy is, but they also have disagreements that will lead to them backing different slates of candidates.
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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby Ecmandu » Sat May 14, 2022 3:10 am

Carleas wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:Exposure is a media issue. It’s determined by money/special interests/propaganda.

I take it you mean something about the issue that who people vote for is determined by who they've heard of, and that's controlled by powerful interests. I think that's true, but I think this system actually solves this problem.

A centralized media can pretty easily force a 'most recognized person', but it has a harder time forcing the second or third place person. Under the system I propose above, instead of trying to prevent the media from pushing a favored candidate, you let them and let that person end up as one of many. The media narrative might be able to force someone into the top 20% of vote getters, but they will have a harder time hand-picking all of them than they do in a system where they can just restrict who's on the ballot. Even if they try to force dozens of candidates, even among the elites alignment begins to break down, i.e. they may broadly agree on who the best person is or what the best policy is, but they also have disagreements that will lead to them backing different slates of candidates.


The problem is... you’re talking about omniscient realms and not human realms.

Technically it’s called a pan-telepathic realm.

In human realms ... humans are dictated by their few options, and those options only come from corporate conglomerates.
The purpose of life is to give everyone individually what they always want at the expense of no being - forever.

The biggest problem of life is the, “hey, I don’t want this to be happening” problem for everyone.

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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby obsrvr524 » Sat May 14, 2022 6:32 am

-
Since every nation across the world knows that US elections are between 50 to 100% rigged - I don't think any such election schemes make the slightest difference.
              You have been observed.
    Though often tempted to encourage a dog to distinguish color I refuse to argue with him about it
    It's just the same Satanism as always -
    • separate the bottom from the top,
    • the left from the right,
    • the light from the dark, and
    • blame each for the sins of the other
    • - until they beg you to take charge.
    • -- but "you" have been observed --

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Re: An At-Large Congress

Postby Ecmandu » Sat May 14, 2022 5:21 pm

Carleas.

Has it ever occurred to you the odds in existence for a presidential election would be decided by a few hundred votes in a single county?

Those odds are greater than all the known particles in the known universe.

That’s how G.W. Bush won. He even lost the electoral college.

Now it’s become way more sophisticated how to rig elections for the belief and entertainment of the masses.
The purpose of life is to give everyone individually what they always want at the expense of no being - forever.

The biggest problem of life is the, “hey, I don’t want this to be happening” problem for everyone.

Welcome to thinking.
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