Congressional Apportionment has always been, and will likely always be, a widely debated issue. Larger states feel their population is proportionally underrepresented while smaller states feel they have no voice, while some citizens in territories demand representation while others would rather not have the extra taxes. To properly address this issue it must be broken down into the two main issues. The first is the disparity in proportionate representation between states. In Wyoming, for example, there is one representative representing it’s 597,315 constituents whereas Montana has the same amount of representatives for it’s population of 1,050,493. The second is whether citizens living in Washington DC and the U.S. territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico ought to have representation.
This always feels like a bold opinion to take, but I feel as if the apportionment of representatives amongst the fifty states does not need to change, barring the adjustments made after each census. Perhaps it’s the philosopher in me, but I believe it is important to uphold certain values that our nation was built upon. Way back when our country was first created, a major influence was federalism. Essentially, this means that the power is shared between our national and state government. Looking at the name of our nation, it is clear that while we our united, we are also a collection of individual states. The states were here first, and it was them that created a national government. Thus, it is important to make sure the voice of each state is represented, even if some states have smaller populations. Though Wyoming has a population that can accurately be described as tiny, they deserve a voice. If we were to add more representatives to give more to larger states, the voices of single representatives from smaller states could easily be lost in the crowd. Many argue that the Senate being set up in the way it is helps account for this, it is necessary to note that the senate and the house have different responsibilities, and thus it is not enough to simply have a voice in one of them. I do not argue that it is a perfect system, but I will argue that there is no fair way to fix it.
The issue of DC and other U.S. territories is another common topic of debate. While it is true that these citizens do not get to vote in federal elections or be represented in congress, they also reap benefits such as paying less taxes. In the spirit of democracy, I believe they should be given a choice. Put it to a vote, allow the citizens to choose whether the benefits of representation outweigh the costs. It has been attempted in Puerto Rico a few times, however their always seems to be some issue preventing them from actually following through on the results. I would argue, however, that this is not an issue of the idea of giving them a vote itself but rather an issue of poor implementation. From there, depending on how the vote goes in the different areas, there can be seats added to congress and then apportioned.
Apportionment of Congress is a complex issue, and I admit that I do not have all of the technicalities figured out. Despite this, I believe that all change must start somewhere and a somewhat broad outline is as good a place as any. I am also somewhat a realist in that I acknowledge that there is no perfect way to solve these issues and make everyone happy, and even if there were the government would likely struggle to implement it. However, in an ideal world, those are the steps that I believe should be taken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *