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'Long Past Time': In Historic Vote, House Democrats Pass Legislation to Make DC the 51st State

Common Dreams, why are we seeing “Media Cannot Be Displayed” so often lately within your Twitter posts? I was disappointed not to be able to watch Eleanor Holmes Martin’s address on DC statehood and Occasio-Cortez’s speech on black lives matter. Why does this happen, and what’s the remedy? Could someone answer this, please?

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Totally agree, Redpilled. That said, the “proportionate representation” you write about is called the House of Representatives (even with the GOP’s worst gerrymandering efforts). The Senate serves no use and is just another unncessary layer to protect the interests of the ruling class. It doesn’t need reform, it needs to go altogether. I can’t decide which is worse in the U.S., the two chamber legislative system or the two party system.

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Yup RR- the true beginning of the end…

Not sure, but i’ve been clicking on the link and going directly to the Twitter page to see the video.

Sorry dara but your suggestions, IMO, means citizens in rural areas would have no voice at all in the Senate. “100 seats elected at large”, or a “rural party”, you must be kidding me. I have to side with the founders on this one, where everyone has a voice. I suspect you would feel differently if the populated areas of this country were Trump supporters, and it was you who had no voice.

I don’t kid about any of my political opinions nor do any of them have to do with what state I live in. You haven’t explained why the current system works for a rural conservative voter in CA. They can’t write their senator in WY and express their concerns. All house and Senate members block most contact outside the district.

If a rural party isn’t viable then rural voters can decide to support a larger conservative party (Republicans or some split off from Republicans). But in my scheme minority voters in any state if they can band with enough other people around the country in a party that exceeds 1% then they can get a voice. I’m kind of disappointed in your outlook on this as I considered you a fairly rational poster here. There is nothing rational about the Senate unless you view the states as almost separate countries which I do not and didn’t think you did.

The Republicans aren’t the only party that engages in gerrymandering. The Democrats practice it with just as much enthusiasm in those states they control, such as Massachusetts.

“You haven’t explained why the current system works for a rural conservative voter in CA.”
It works about as well as my progressive votes work in my conservative state, not very well. I don’t believe I ever said the system was perfect, there will always be some that are marginalized, depending on your political beliefs, where you live, and what the majority’s political beliefs are in that area. Electing Senators at large is a joke, and why I called it so, leaving rural states with no representation at all. As far as rural third parties, that would work about as well as any third party has in our two party system, not at all.
What your scheme does, is ensures the populated areas of this country would always be in control. Less populated states might as well not bother to vote at all, knowing they will change nothing in the political landscape. I’ll repeat, that may sound good to you right now, as the politics in these populated areas lean your way, that may not always be the case in the future, a possibility you don’t seem to want to acknowledge .
Is the system is not perfect right now, and I might be open to changes in the future, possibly even removing the Senate, but I would only be open to changes that treated all areas of the country fairly. Not to a system that completely marginalizes areas because they have less voters than the most populated areas, I fail to see where that position makes me irrational.
My position on this is much like defending the Constitution, it’s easy to defend the parts that benefit yourself and you personally like, but much harder to defend the parts you don’t agree with.

And –

We still have no explanation yet as to WHY links can no longer be included
in our posts …???

There are also some bipartisan commissions doing the redistricting in Alaska (state districts only since they only have 1 rep), Arizona (passed by ballot initiative), California (passed by ballot initiative), Colorado (passed by ballot initiative), Hawaii (created by legislation in 1968), Idaho (created by legislation in 1994), Montana (state districts only), and Washington (created by legislation in 1983).
As with many things “Bipartisan” - that means major party politicians pick who is on these commissions and that third parties do not get a seat at the table. There is only one state with a truly independent commission - that is in Michigan where a 2018 ballot initiative created a commission whose members are randomly chosen citizens! I am very anxious to see how that exercise in participatory democracy pans out next year.

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For information sake, the Commission in California includes four representatives from non-major parties, 10 representatives (5 each) from the major parties. To actually draw new lines, however, three commissioners from the non-major parties have to agree. So non-major party members do have leverage over district lines. The Commission is required to meet publicly (Bagley-Keen Act) as well.

I happen to know an independent commissioner and they felt process was pretty rigorous and fair overall. They noted that one issue that did not get a lot of press in 2010: the State Auditors office spent considerable time getting commissioners up to speed on demographics, geography, and modeling tools.

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Thanks for pointing this out - although those members are not from non-major parties - they are just not from major parties (i.e. independents who didn’t register as Democrats or Republicans). I don’t believe there has ever been a third party representative on the commission.

“Non-major“ was my description, I did not look up the law etc. so just take that loosely as not democrat or republican. I believe you are correct the last and so-far only round of commissioners included independent and major party commissioners. Given the commission has only done its work once, this could change in the future, especially if major party numbers dwindle to being not-so-major.

My personal feeling is the process will always be fraught, by its nature, but independent commissions are preferable to legislators drawing their districts.

In 2000 Nader got 2.7% of the US popular vote for president. I believe this is as high as the Greens have gotten in a Presidential race (our only national election). If a national election is held where everyone understands the math that when they vote for the Green party they will be increasing their # of seats in the 100 person assembly (there needs to be rounding math defined but that’s just details - for now assume a set of parties gets a whole number of % of the vote), then I think that number is going to go up. There are plenty of people who don’t vote Green because they don’t want their vote wasted when they know it is going to be one of two people winning the only national election we have. But in a national proportional election, I think it would be 5% or more (it won’t be 20% I realize) who would vote Green (I would) and there would be 5 Green Senators out of 100. On this forum, you have @Mr_Peabody and others often emphasizing what a big deal it would be to have a single Green candidate (Lisa Savage) elected to Senate - and I agree with him. Imagine what 5 Green Senators would mean.

Electing Senators at large is a joke

I really wish you wouldn’t be insulting like this to an idea that is very much discussed by serious political theorists. Because you don’t seem to know much about Proportional Representation doesn’t give you an excuse to be dismissive. I assume you can find your own articles, but here are a few I discovered which I’ve added to my reading list.

~http://www.congressionalresearch.org/SenateProblem.html

~https://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2019/4/9/18300749/senate-problem-electoral-college

~https://jacobinmag.com/2018/05/legislature-lot-electoral-democracy-real-utopias

Oh, and in case I wasn’t clear - I am for keeping the House as it is - no proportional grouping for large states which is a band aid for a problem that a Proportional Representation Senate solves much better - your House Representative is accountable to the smallest number of people possible given we have 435 House members and districts can’t span across states. Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Delaware of course all keep their 1 House Seat.

Yes - I definitely support independent commissions - though I would still label California’s system as bipartisan rather than independent - especially since the major parties can essentially veto all third party nominees (at the point where 20 nominees in each of the three groups are reduced to 12). Coincidentally, the applications for the next redistricting have already been reduced to 60 and the vetos by the major party legislature leaders are happening this week.

You can see a flow chart of how the process works at
~http://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/crc/selection_process_flowchart.pdf
and how the veto is set up so it is very unlikely that any third party commissioners will ever come into play.

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We need to vastly expand the House. It is thoroughly absurd that each representative supposedly represents almost 1,000,000 people. We need ten or twenty times as many reps, and we should certainly look to proportional representation in an expanded House.

Yes in the case of MT it is 1.05 million for 1 rep. (but about 750 thousand for large states that don’t have quantization issues).

I’d be open to growing the number but I see it is capped by law. If it gets a lot bigger (e.g. 10x) then we’d need a different building and that number may be too unwieldy. Do you know much about other very large governing bodies? Does EU or any other country have a body of 1000 or more seats?

Quick look, Wikipedia has a page of legislatures ranked by number of members. EU Parliament has 705 members. China has over 2,000 in their legislature. UK has 1,400 in both Houses combined, for a ratio of 44,000 citizens per representative. EDIT: That UK ratio in the USA would mean about 20 times as many reps as we now have.

We can handle the numbers. What’s important to us?

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I think bipartisan is a fair term. The commission was actually set up by the voters via ballot measure, and the second largest “party“ in California after the Democratic Party is No Party Preference voters (independents), who generally lean toward one major party or another. In that respect, it certainly is bipartisan, though one could argue NPPs ought to have a greater presence on the commission than registered Republicans.

i see no reason to continue this discussion when you point to my assessment of electing Senators at large insulting without even acknowledging the amount of people who would be disenfranchised by this method. There’s no sense in repeating my points, thanks for the links, but lets just agree to disagree on this one.