I thought that would get your attention.
William Watkins of The Independent Institute makes that case in a commentary published in USA Today.
He notes that few voters know or care who represents them in the U.S. House of Representatives because each of the 435 members of that chamber has on average 710,767 constituents.
The Founding Fathers would be aghast, Watkins writes.
In the Virginia ratifying convention, Anti-Federalist George Mason observed that “to make representation real and actual,” the number of representatives needed to be adequate to allow the representatives “to mix with the people, think as they think, feel as they feel” and be “thoroughly acquainted with their interest and condition.”
In the distant past, Congress periodically increased the number of representatives in order to preserve some level of chumminess. The last adjustment occurred after the 1910 Census when the House was expanded from 294 to 435 members. The average population of each district then was 210,000. In 1929, Congress permanently set the number at 435.
The argument against expansion is that Congress would become too large for meaningful debate. Anyone who watches CSPAN can tell you that battle has already been lost. Watkins argues in favor of a larger Congress, with members who work mostly from their home districts via telecommuting. He believes third party candidates would be better able to compete and that big donors would lose influence because campaigning in smaller districts is less expensive. I’m not sure he’s right about that part or his larger point, but his commentary is worth a read.