You vote directly for a party instead of for an individual. Diversity of ideas is preserved by making it easier for alternate political parties to meet the threshold of representation, as getting 5%-10% of the vote would be enough to get you a seat at the table.
Huh? Remember, we're talking about gerrymandering, which only affects the makeup of the House of Representatives. If I understand you correctly, you're arguing that people should simply vote for a party nationwide, and then all the votes for each party are counted up, and then seats divvied up in proportion to the percentage of total votes each party got? Is that it?
This falls directly into the points I was making though. I no longer have any power to choose the person who represents me
. Each party simply wins a number of seats. Presumably the party then decides who fills which of the seats they won. Worse, we can't map those seats to any single geographical region. Presumably, in your example of some minor party winning 5%-10% of the total votes nationwide, that same party probably didn't win anything remotely close to a plurality in any single congressional district. So where do they sit? Who do they represent? They just get assigned a seat somehow? Who makes that decision? And how is that fair to the district who gets to be represented by the guy from a political party that garnered .8% of the total nationwide votes, and that's just enough for one seat, and your district got "chosen" to be represented by said tool.
You'd effectively disconnect the concept of each seat representing a single specific geographical area, in favor of just handing political power to political parties in proportion to their total national votes. That's a massive power grab by the political parties and loss of representation by the people. It's a terrible terrible idea. As I said in the previous conversation we had on this subject. Even if my district rep isn't in my party, he still represents me. I can write to him, ask him to do things, petition him, etc. And since I'm part of a smallish number of people who get to vote for his re-election (and no one else in the nation does), he's going to listen to me far far more than a guy who was selected to fill one of the X number of seats his party won in the last election. His ability to retain power has no relevance to how happy he's making any specific voters, but how happy he's making the party leaders. Presumably, if a party loses some number of seats, they're going to pick who no longer gets to vote in the House, right? Guess who they're going to pick? The folks who don't "play ball" sufficiently for them.
That's about as horrible a "solution" to a problem that isn't much of a problem that I could think of. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, in which case you should really clarify things. Because I simply don't see how your idea can possible work. Well, it'll "work", but not do what I think you think it'll do.
IMO, proportional representation will almost always take control of the specific person who represents you from you (well, voters in an actual geographical area), and hand it to party bosses instead. I think that's a terrible idea, and is far worse than the fact that "creative" district maps may give an advantage to one party or another.
I think this would be a stronger point if there were stricter requirements on residency. Once you get people like the Clintons hopping from Arkansas to New York the idea of someone who understands the area and the people representing their will in congress is seriously weakened.
But your solution is worse. Even if the representative was air lifted into the district in order to run, he's still tied politically to that district. His re-election is based purely on people voting in that district. So he's got to do well representing the people of that district. If you do proportional party based voting, I have no power to vote someone out who I think is doing a poor job, and really don't have anyone representing me
at all. My representative's political future isn't based on how well he represents my district, but how well the party does at getting votes nationwide, and how well the national party likes him. That's it.
It's like you're pointing out flaws in the current system and actively trying to come up with alternatives that make things worse. I don't see the virtue in what you're trying to do here. Perfect proportional representation by party nationwide isn't that important. Ensuring that each voter has direct representation is. It's specifically what the House of Representatives is supposed to do. Your "solution" breaks that. Badly.
Well you could always make voting mandatory like they done in places like Australia, Brazil, etc. The fact that the maps would also get redrawn "to be more fair" would be a factor too. A disenfranchised voter could ensured that their vote was meaningful because it would be a piece of information used to rewrite the maps to better represent them in the next election.
You can force people to physically vote. You can't force them to educate themselves on the issues, or do any more than just randomly fill in the fields until they are done. You're not really fixing anything here, just adding a lot more static into the process. Ironically, mandatory voting would likely make any sort of "fair" redistricting more difficult, since the ability to predict how any given ratio of voters in any given geographical area will vote becomes less accurate, not more. So now you're replacing "wasted votes" with "meaningless votes".
And, assuming we already have a percentage of voters who are under informed and thus likely to vote based on who they "feel" about an issue, you've just increased that number significantly. Which means voting becomes less about good ideas and policies, and more about political advertising. Interestingly, this has a similar effect to your proportional voting idea above. It gives more power to the parties and less to the people. Because now, the educated voters votes are washed out by a wave of uneducated voters who are likely just being manipulated by the latest flash in the pan that attracted their attention. It becomes about branding, not policies. Language not results. Image and not practicality.
If you think a system that occasionally elects a populist like Trump to office is "bad", you're effectively advocating for one that will significantly increase the odds of such outcomes. It's "worse". Again, I don't see the virtue of what you are arguing for. Voter turnout is less important than whether the result of an election is political representation that accurately reflects what the voters want within the confines of "good governing". Having a right to vote doesn't mean you must vote. That's not how rights work.
I'd argue that redistricting on an algorithm would be giving the voters more influence, as you could likely predict the influence of the vote on the district boundary, whereas there's less ability to directly effect the process through representation.
How? Saying it will have that effect doesn't mean it will. Why do you think this would be the case? It's a circular argument IMO. Accurately drawing maps to do what you're trying to do first requires accurately predicting how the population in a given area will vote in future elections. If you could accurately do that, then why bother with voting at all? If you actually succeed, then you don't need to hold elections anymore. Just apply the algorithm, predict how the population in a given area will vote, and just assume they did vote that way, right?
The mere fact of bothering to go through the time and trouble of having people vote is based on the assumption that we can't always accurately predict this
. I'd argue that we can almost never accurately predict this. Certainly not for more than a small percentage of things being voted on, and not within the granularity restrictions of a single district map redrawn once every 10 years. Population mobility alone ensures we can't do this. Unless your next proposal is to mandate that people can't move districts? Or maybe that people are represented by the same person within the same pool of voters regardless of where they live? I can think of a lot of ways to do what you want to do, but all of them are far far worse than the effects of even the worse examples of gerrymandering.
Bath water and babies, right?
Best to let political processes handle this than trying to create "fair" rules. You're probably just going to make things worse.
I'd imagine George III would have appreciated your insight.
And yet, ironically, your proposed proportional representation is a heck of a lot like the form of representation that the colonists had back then, which they hated, and which they rose up in rebellion over (and some other things as well, of course). The issue with "taxation without representation" wasn't that they didn't have representation at all
, but that their representation in Parliament was made up of politicians in England who "represented" various colonies, but didn't live there, and were often granted that power in return for political quid pro quo (which often actively disadvantaged the actual colonists they were supposedly representing).
Just like we'd have if we just voted nationally and the parties got to seat people in the House based on percentage of votes won. You'd be "represented" by someone who had absolutely no need to ensure that your needs were addressed at all. More or less exactly like the folks in London who "represented" the colonies. Edited, Jan 12th 2018 6:46pm by gbaji