We should initiate this empire’s collapse politically now in 2016.

We should initiate this empire’s collapse politically now in 2016.

I am on an Amtrak train riding back to Arlington, Washington from Portland, Oregon. I was in Portland from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm sharp deposing Chris Caldwell, a lawyer for 21st Mortgage servicing company. My client, Duncan Robertson, was with me. He’s become well trained in the law while fighting corrupt banks and servicers aspiring to steal his real estate in Washington State.

After the deposition recessed because of the deponent’s schedule (I wanted to continue asking questions) Duncan dropped me off at Amtrak’s Union Station where I met with Kay, a concerned citizen in Oregon. We met there to discuss strategies with regard to restoring our representative republic by increasing the number of legislators responsible to the people.

Kay and I discussed how the value of our votes and the votes of all Americans had been systematically  devalued by the 1929 Apportionment Act freezing the House of Representative at only 435 members, no matter how much the nation’s population grew thereafter. Many, including myself, believe this decision by the republican and democratic parties destroyed the electoral accountability our founders intended members of the House would have to the constituents within their districts.  By brazenly acting to facilitate their own best interests, the political powers have frustrated our founding fathers’ intentions that Congress would initiate the passage of laws and have final oversight of all government officials in each of the three branches  through its the exercise of its impeachment power.

As Federalist Paper #49 observed the members of the legislature were to be sufficiently numerous that they could know actually know most of their constituents on a personal level; so that  representatives would be aware of the desires of those people he or she represented and even protect them from the other branches of Government. This expectation is explained in the Federalist Paper #49, which states:

“The members of the executive and judiciary departments are few in number, and can be personally known to a small part only of the people. The latter, by the mode of their appointment, as well as by the nature and permanency of it, are too far removed from the people to share much in their prepossessions. The former are generally the objects of jealousy, and their administration is always liable to be discolored and rendered unpopular. The members of the legislative department, on the other hand, are numerous. They are distributed and dwell among the people at large. Their connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance embrace a great proportion of the most influential part of the society. The nature of their public trust implies a personal influence among the people, and that they are more immediately the confidential guardians of the rights and liberties of the people.” (emphasis supplied)

In 1790 each member of the House of Representatives came from a district which included between 30,000 and 40,000 residents. As the nation grew and more States were added to the Union, the number of members in the house of representatives was generally increased. Of course, there were disputes from time to time among the States with regard to the number of representatives each State should have, but these were resolved without any attempt to cap the total number of representatives until the first part of the 1900s.

It was not until the 1910 census that Congress balked at the idea of creating new legislative positions in the House of Representatives. By 1929 America had gone through a series of  events, including World War I and increased immigration from abroad, which changed the distribution of the Country’s population from mostly rural to urban. During this same time period the NAACP began to lobby Congress for legislation to enforce Section 2 of the 14th Amendment which mandated a loss of representatives for States which abridged minorities right to vote.

Unfortunately, the inability of the House to achieve an appropriate level electoral accountability was seen as an opportunity by party bosses to aggrandize the power of political parties. By capping the House of Representatives at 435 members the party bosses knew that districts would swell to the point where representatives and their district’s constituents could not possibly  be bound by the “connections of blood, of friendship, and of acquaintance” which were necessary to bind the representative republic which our Constitution was intended to create. By capping the number of representatives the republican and democratic parties intended to and did achieve a situation where elected representatives were no longer directly accountable to their constituents, but to the political parties who nominated them and elected them.

So how has this strategy worked out for those who to change the electoral accountability from the people to the parties? Well, think of it this way: Following the 2010 census the average size of a Congressional district is greater than 700,000 constituents with the average approach 725, 000 to 750,000 (three Quarter’s of a million people). Some districts are much larger such as the House Member from Montana with over 900,000 people. This is an alarming trend. At this level of representation, the people and their representatives have been sufficiently uncoupled from one another so as to make any claim that America is a representative democracy doubtful.

What has happened is we have a mono-party system, with two different factions (republicans and democrats) who cannot agree on anything because neither side is beholden to the public good. Each side tilts toward the money which ensures them a job.

As Christopher M. Straw writes in his 2008 article THE ROLE OF ELECTORAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE MADISONIAN MACHINE

[As the democratic and republican political parties have] consolidated control over the system, fewer incumbents have been willing to defect across party lines. The result is an increasingly polarized two-party system which places the interests of the parties before the interests of the people. In a world where the national party and the congressional campaign committees direct the expenditures of their supporters, representatives are in effect demonstrating agent loyalty to the ones that brought [bought] them—the party. …

Id., at 353.

When the election of a political actor is decoupled from loyalty to their constituents, representatives will naturally fall under the sway of the actor to whom they owe their position. In the current system, with its patchwork system of campaign finance reform, the primary means of election has become the party apparatus.

A straightforward solution to the breakdown of the system of separation of powers is to address the problem of faithless representatives. If, as Madison postulated, electoral accountability is the primary means to ensure representative loyalty,barriers to competitive elections should be stripped away in a manner that increases the influence of the public at large. This requires weakening the party apparatus while simultaneously decreasing the cost of political campaigns. Decreasing the size of federal districts arguably achieves both of these goals. The cost of reaching voters is directly proportional to their total number. Likewise, dependency on party leadership endorsements is closely tied to the size of a district. The larger the population represented, the less chance a candidate has of meeting voters individually. These voters naturally base their decisions on the endorsement of people in positions to “know.” Smaller federal districts carry a theoretical justification as well. Decreasing the ability of incumbents to remain unresponsive to the electorate provides a partial answer to the question of democratic legitimacy. When an incumbent knows that hundreds of individuals in their district can potentially bring a successful challenge, they may be far less likely to betray the interests of their constituents. (emphasis supplied)

Id., at 361-362

So anyway back to yesterday in Portland and my conversation with Kay at Portland’s Union train Station.

Kay and I started to discuss the ways in which a static level of legislative representation notwithstanding a vastly increasing population had devalued our votes in our own lifetimes.

I turned 21 in Bettendorf, Iowa on January 18, 1970. I had known our Congressman, Fred Schwengel, even before I became  an adult and could vote for him. In fact, he had obtained job for me Washington D.C. the summer of my freshman year at DePauw University. (Of course, tt wasn’t my qualifications that got me that summer job; it was because Fred knew my parents and was doing them a favor.)

But that’s the point, most of the people in the first Congressional District of Iowa in 1970 knew or had the ability to access their house member to discuss issues of concern to them. A constituent wasn’t just one in a million, the way it has become today.

Kay and I concluded that from the time we were allowed to vote until the present the value of our votes had decreased at least 3 fold. Then we turned our discussion to the Millennial generation. We wondered how much the value of their votes would decrease in the future if nothing changes.

Today the empire is a far different place than the nation in which I was born.

When money talks louder than constituents to legislators, the people as a whole have a real problem.

We should carefully consider whether our nation would be better off if the people rejected the assumption that nothing can be done about the two party system in 2016 and started voting for independent and third party candidates en masse.

Instead of accepting that our empire is invulnerable to the will of its people, we should remember that history demonstrates that empires which grown corrupt and at cross purposes to their people inevitably fall and are forgotten as the world moves on.

We should initiate this empire’s collapse politically now in 2016.

Please think carefully about whether voting for a candidate from the republican or democratic parties in 2016 will help or hurt the people as a whole and be encouraged by the fact that you are thinking about this issue at all.

We should initiate this empire’s collapse politically now in 2016.

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About Scott . Stafne

Mr. Stafne is very experienced in property rights, including banking wrongs and foreclosure prevention; Constitutional Law (under the United States and Washington State Constitution); Appellate law; land use law; personal injury law. Scott has recently become a media focal point as his win record of foreclosure defense cases against the largest financial institutions, servicers, trustees as well as MERS have blazed the trail toward ending the foreclosure crisis and representing the rights of the homeowner above the profits and secret dealings of corporations.   Scott sees law as a foundation for establishing a system of twenty first century liberties for the people; and for removing that corruption of power within our government which makes the achievement of real purpose beholden to only money.   Scott Stafne has been an attorney since graduating from the University of Iowa in 1974. He worked for a large law firm in Indianapolis (Baker & Daniels) for two years. Thereafter, he moved to Seattle Washington in order to obtain a Masters of Law degree from the University of Washington, which he obtained in 1977. Scott practiced law while going to graduate school and has practiced ever since.   This is a personal blog, and does not constitute legal advice in any form, and is not necessarily reflective of the policies or opinions of Stafne Law Firm. Visit the Law Firm: http://stafnetrumbull.com Visit the Google+ Page: https://plus.google.com/+ScottStafne Visit the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/scott.stafne.75   *Web Developer: David J. Posel
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