The Instigator
OhioGary
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
LatentDebater
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

We Need More Representatives in the House of Representatives

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
OhioGary
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/26/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 844 times Debate No: 29583
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

OhioGary

Pro

I started a debate on this; however, my opponent had to forfeit so I am putting this out again.

I'm interested in having a spirited discussion of the issues associated with Congress setting it's maximum size at 435 voting representatives for a population of over 313 million people.

I will be arguing in favor of the resolution.

Rules:
Let's have a civilized debate. No biting and/or comparison of opponent's mother to various wild animals, please! :)

Provide the sources for any facts introduced in the debate.

4 rounds of debate: 1st round is for introductions only.

Last round is for conclusions/summary; no new material added in the last round.
Debate Round No. 1
OhioGary

Pro

I thank my opponent for agreeing to this online debate and look forward to our discussion about the size of the House of Representatives. I firmly believe that we can begin to fix our problem in Congress by increasing the size of the House of Representatives. A larger House of Representatives will create a legislative body that more closely resembles the personalities and values of the American people. Additionally, more Representatives will address the problems with campaign finance issues and reduce the need for Congressmen to spend inordinate amounts of time fundraising to keep their Congressional seats. A larger House of Representatives would also create a larger Electoral College which will reduce or eliminate the variances between the popular vote and the Electoral College in Presidential elections.

The only way to fix Congress is to allow more people into the process. A larger House of Representatives puts more people into the process. For these reasons, you should vote Pro on this resolution in all categories.

More Reps would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people.

The House of Representatives was designed to represent populations. In fact, our bicameral legislation came about via the Great Compromise that created two separate houses of legislature [1]. The House of Representatives was designed to represent the population directly and the size of the House set its size after each census until the size of the House was permanently set at 435 via the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929[2].

A larger House of Representatives would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people. Average Americans have become fed up with those who are sent to Congress. According to a recent poll by Fox News:

Dissatisfaction with Congress is so high that by a two-to-one margin voters think an “everyday American” could do a better job handling the country’s problems than most members of Congress (63-31 percent).[3]

A Pro vote signals that you believe that government legislation should be written and voted upon by a representative group of Americans and that this only can be achieved if we increase the size of the House to match the country's growing population.

More Reps would fix campaign finance issues.

Congressional campaigns cost significant sums of money. According to recent data:

All candidates for the U.S. House and Senate raised about $1.2 billion in the first year-and-a-half of the election cycle, compared with just a shade under that at the same time in 2010 and nearly $945 million in 2008. The average Senate incumbent has an advantage of about 11:1 over the average challenger. House incumbents hold a 7:1 advantage over their challengers, on average. [4]

Those who are in Congress must spend inordinate amounts of time fundraising for their reelection campaigns instead of reading legislation or serving their constituencies. Not only does this take the sitting member of Congress away from working for their constituents, but it discourages qualified challengers from mounting a re-election campaign for inability to raise large sums of money. We end up having many members of Congress running for reelection with no challengers whatsoever. When the American people do not have a choice in Congressional elections because no challenger would (or could) run, our democracy fails.

Smaller Congressional Districts would not require as much campaign money because each Representative would campaign to smaller constituencies. Smaller constituencies would also be able to hold their Congressmen accountable by either advocating for a replacement, or mounting an election campaign of their own. Outside money, commonly coming in the forms of PAC contributions, would be less likely to target individual Congressional races when more Representatives exist.

More representatives in Congress will move representation away from outside funding interests and towards the constituency who votes. A Pro vote supports this notion.

More Reps would minimize, or eliminate, the issues occurring between the popular vote & the Electoral College.

Finally, we must discuss how the size of the House of Representatives affects the size of the Electoral College used to elect the President of the United States.

The size of the Electoral College is determined by the number of members of the House & Senate, with a Congressional Amendment giving 3 Electoral votes to DC.[5] More Reps would give all states more electors in the Electoral College; therefore, a larger Electoral College would more closely resemble the popular vote.

If states choose to allocate their electors on a proportional or Congressional district basis, then Presidential elections will then have to develop campaign strategies for not only all states but all populations within states.

Adding seats to the House of Representatives will not only reform the House elections, but also reform the Presidential elections. This is precisely why a Pro vote to add more seats to the House of Representatives is what we citizens must demand in order improve our Federal government.

In conclusion, Americans have become increasingly frustrated with the inability of Congress to get anything done. Americans have stated that average Americans can do a better job of running the country than the people we elect to Congress. Why can’t average Americans run for Congress? Simply put, an average American is not able to raise millions of dollars to mount a campaign to unseat an incumbent Congressman. In addition, Americans (as well as many on the Debate.org website) have decried a failure in the reliability of the Electoral College as it has often produced different results from the popular vote.

Just like a doctor must treat the cause of the problem and not the symptoms, we must also find out what causes an inability for average people to become Congressmen and why the Electoral College can produce significantly different results from the popular vote. The cause of both of these symptoms is a House of Representatives that has not appropriately expanded with the growing population of the US. An increase in the House of Representatives is long overdue, and we need to increase the size of the House right away.

References:

[1] http://www.senate.gov...

[2] http://history.house.gov...

[3] http://www.foxnews.com...

[4] http://www.opensecrets.org...

[5] http://www.pbs.org...

LatentDebater

Con

Instead of rebutting your points I shall merely open my case fully this round to discuss our cases comparaively later on.

I am going be short, concise and to-the-point.

Under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, seats in the House of Representatives are apportioned among the states by population, as determined by the census conducted every ten years. Each state, however, is entitled to at least one Representative.

The only constitutional rule relating to the size of the House says: "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand."[1] Congress regularly increased the size of the House to account for population growth until it fixed the number of voting House members at 435 in 1911.[2] The number was temporarily increased to 437 in 1959 upon the admission of Alaska and Hawaii (seating one representative from each of those states without changing existing apportionment), and returned to 435 four years later, after the reapportionment consequent to the1960 census.

The Constitution does not provide for the representation of the District of Columbia or of territories. The District of Columbia and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are represented by one non-voting delegate each. Puerto Rico elects a Resident Commissioner, but other than having a four-year term, the Resident Commissioner's role is identical to the delegates from the other territories. The five Delegates and Resident Commissioner may participate in debates; prior to 2011,[3] they were also allowed to vote in committees and the Committee of the Whole when their votes would not be decisive.[4]

In conclusion, there is sufficient number of representatives according to experts who put together constitutions years ago. 1:30,000 is a good ratio (according to them and I don't see why not).

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.npr.org...
[4] http://hdl.loc.gov...

Debate Round No. 2
OhioGary

Pro

I thank my opponent for his brief response and believe that we have points of agreement. I will be brief as well.



1 Rep for 30,000 Constituents Would Increase The Size Of The House.



Con argued that we should use the original Constitutional framework to determine that a ratio of one Representative to 30,000 constituents was satisfactory. According to recent US Census data, the US has 315,226,763 people (1). If we were to have one Representative for 30,000 constituents, our Congress would consist of over 10,000 representatives.



Con’s argument for 10,000 representatives is significantly larger than the 435 representatives we currently have; therefore, Con’s argument does not negate the resolution, but support it.



I affirm my prior arguments and await my opponent’s rebuttal.


Sources:



  1. http://www.census.gov...

LatentDebater

Con

There simply aren't enough experts at politics to fit 10 thousand into the House of Representatives.

consider that each has only got a two-year term and that during this term they are not part of the Senate (which is the main body of government). It is really just silly and unnecessary to require any more and quite frankly there's not an actual reason to need more.

"More Reps would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people." Is not sufficient reason to change an embedded philosophy of the constitution.

"More Reps would fix campaign finance issues." considering that the current situation is perfectly fine with the current number of reps and that you have full burden of proof on the matter I think that if anything increasing the number of Reps would only increase conflicts since more diverse opinions and arguments would arise more frequently.

"More Reps would minimize, or eliminate, the issues occurring between the popular vote & the Electoral College." the problem is that there are simply not enough reps to do it and it is thus extremely impractical to do.

You have full burden of proof on this matter and have to directly prove that the 435 currently there are definitely a huge amount below what is needed. Merely saying that there are Americans who are upset and voting against parties due to this is an immature argument based on irrational justification.
Debate Round No. 3
OhioGary

Pro

I am a little disappointed that my opponent resorted to calling my arguments as immature, especially as his own contradictory comments help my case as they weaken his own.

With that in mind, let’s now look at R3 comments and expand on them:

Con attempted a straw man argument right off the bat.

Con started his last round by saying that there aren’t enough experts at politics to fit 10,000 representatives into one building.

I agree; we don’t need a political expert to fit 10,000 representatives into one building. Political experts don’t build buildings, carpenters build buildings. I believe Con meant to say that we would need a carpenter, so I’ll correct the meaning for him now.

A bigger building is not necessary. We could have Congress remotely connect to each other. Just as Congress is an environment where individuals debate and vote on issues, this very website (Debate.org) creates an environment where individuals debate & vote on issues. Debate.org currently has accounts for almost 58,000 users at this time (1).

Modeling an infrastructure such as this website would pose no difficulty in handing any number of users. Even if we stick with Con’s R2 argument of having 10,000 Congressional users, a website infrastructure similar to DDO would not pose a problem to increase the size of the House.

The Constitutional Framework Called For More Reps. Con affirmed this in R2.

In R3, Con wrote:
"More Reps would more closely resemble the makeup of the American people." Is not sufficient reason to change an embedded philosophy of the constitution.”

Con’s R3 statement contradicts his own understanding of the Constitution as he presented it in R2.

In R2, Con said that he thought 1 Representative to 30,000 constituents was a good idea, consistent with the framework as set in the Constitution. Con has not conceded his R2 argument.

As I mentioned, a ratio of 1 representative to 30,000 constituents would greatly increase the number of representatives. In Con’s R2 comment, Con has now joined me in affirming the resolution.

In R2, I provided the source which created the House of Representatives as it came via the Great Compromise. The House was created to closely resemble the makeup and needs of the American people, as I cited in R2.

But even without my R2 comments, I wouldn’t need to prepare a rebuttal for Con. Con’s R2 statement rebuts his own R3 statement.

We both agree that we should follow the framework of the Constitution which called for more Representatives. My argument meets the burden of proof as supported by my arguments and the tacit endorsement of Con in R2.

Con attempted a straw man argument to rebut campaign finance issues.

Con has not provided an argument that rebuts campaign finance issues, only an argument that more Representatives may create more conflict. Con’s argument is another straw man argument but it is still worth addressing.

Congress has conflict now. Adding more Representatives in the process has the same effect that adding more voters does in a DDO debate; it allows for more opinions and conflict but also stops a single voter from unduly influencing the outcome. Not only did Con fail to rebut my argument, but he posed another argument that is easily negated by the first-hand experiences of those who will be voting on this debate.

Just as DDO makes requests for voters to counter a vote bomb by asking more members to vote on a debate, more Reps in Congress would give Americans the ability to achieve better outcomes in the House by having more Congressmen voting on issues. We ask for this in DDO and we should expect it from our government.

Con attempted circular logic in his final argument.

Finally, Con said that:

"More Reps would minimize, or eliminate, the issues occurring between the popular vote & the Electoral College." the problem is that there are simply not enough reps to do it and it is thus extremely impractical to do.”

The reason we do not have enough Representatives is the purpose of this debate. Not have enough Representatives is the problem that is being addressed. If Con believe that the problem is that there are not enough reps then he has again endorsed the resolution.

In summary, Con had an opportunity to refute my valid points.

Instead of addressing my issues directly, Con resorted to petty insults, illogical straw men arguments that were easy to disprove, and weak circular logic to refute my points.

I affirm my prior arguments, as well as Con’s R2 argument about the Constitutionality of having 10,000 representatives, and await my opponent’s response.

Sources:

  1. http://www.debate.org...
LatentDebater

Con

Good points.

You win.
Debate Round No. 4
OhioGary

Pro

What? Well then, thanks for the win I guess.

Would you like another go at haiku challenge?
This time you start it off.
LatentDebater

Con

I prefer free flowing poetry to strict structured.


Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
I think that is the function of the EC. There is no reason or rationality that California (a state with the 8th largest economy in the world) would want to stay in the US if their Federal government inflence is equivalent to Wyoming. This was actually what was discussed during the Great Compromise. The end result is what we have now; every state gets 2 Senators but Reps are allocated based on population. My argument states that the size of the House was supposed to grow with the population and that we need more Representatives because our population is larger.

I think I'm going to put this back out as a debate challenge. If you would like to debate this with me, please let me know. I'll be happy to leave this as a challenge to you.
Posted by MichaelG-AU 1 year ago
MichaelG-AU
I didn't see this point was made or if the problem could be fixed by adding more representatives, but it could have potentially made for a good argument. With the electoral college set up as it currently is, citizens of some states hold more weight than the citizens of another when voting for president. The votes cast by residents of Wyoming and two other states (sorry, I can't remember which the other two are) have more weight than votes cast by residents of large population states such as California. This is due to the process of granting representatives by population, plus each state getting two senators regardless.

The catch is that for the votes to be unequally weighed, Wyoming and the two other states have to vote as a bloc and cast their votes for the same candidate. This usually happens though as all three states almost always vote republican. When the states vote together, they have a combined 12 electoral votes, half of these obviously belonging to the senators. This is where the inequality lies, if you look at the number of voters that make up the bloc and compare it to the number of voters that make up 12 of California's EC votes, there are many more cast in the latter for the same amount of electoral college representation. This effectively lessens the voting impact that Californians have compared to the voters in the three-state bloc.
Posted by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
I'm an Accountant. Structure's my deal! Nice debating a couple of times with you, though.
Posted by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
When do you sleep!? I thought I would have at least had a day before I heard back from this one! :)
Posted by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
I've posted my thoughts. (5)
I wrote them just for you, so (7)
I hope you like them! (5)
Posted by OhioGary 1 year ago
OhioGary
LOL! The meme is hilarious!
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 1 year ago
Deadlykris
OhioGaryLatentDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: No contest, here. Con's opening remarks only served to prove Pro's point. In his second round, he characterized Pro's position as "silly" which is a breach of etiquette, thus losing him the conduct point, and his entire argument was based on his opinion that 10,000 reps was too many. Pro neatly refuted this argument, after which Con conceded. No points to Con. Note to Pro: I could have easily sabotaged your debate like you have been doing to mine. That is not the proper way to handle a disagreement. Let this be an object lesson to you on proper voting procedures. Also, I'll point out that votes can be changed until the voting period ends. Perhaps you'd care to take advantage of that state of affairs?
Vote Placed by tmar19652 1 year ago
tmar19652
OhioGaryLatentDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Concession