Chapter 11 Choosing the Congress - Southeast Missouri State ...
Chapter 13 Part One Choosing the Congress Instructor: Kevin Sexton Course: U.S. Political Systems Southeast Missouri State University The Make Up Of The U.S. Congress IN 1789 Senate had 26 Members
House of Representatives had 65 Members IN 2010 Senate has 100 Members House of Representatives have 435 Members The Make Up Of The U.S. Congress Prior to 1913 ONLY members of the House of Representatives were DIRECTLY elected. With Passage of the 17th Amendment BOTH
Senators and Representatives are DIRECTLY elected. Requirements to be a member of Congress Senate At Least 30 years old 9 Years a Citizen of the U.S. Citizen of State to which elected to represent House of Representatives
At Least 25 years old 7 Years a Citizen of the U.S. Citizen of State to which elected to represent Terms of Office Members of Senate elected for SIX year terms. With 1/3 of Senate being elected every two years. Members of the House of Representatives elected for TWO year terms. With 100% of House of Representatives being elected every two years.
How are states represented in Congress? Each state has TWO Senators. Each state has at least one member of the House of Representatives. State with most members of the House: California with 53 States with fewest members of the House: States have only one How Do We Decide How Many
Representatives A State Will Have? Each states representation in the House is based on the population of that state. In 1789 there was one representative for every 30,000 citizens. Today the total number of members of the House is capped at 435. WHY? The Size of The House of Representatives Is Capped at 435? Originally, the size of the US House of Representatives
would increase by one member for each 30,000 increase in population. This increase in members would take place every ten years (US Census). As the population Of the United States started to grow rapidly it was Determined that the size of the House of Representatives Should be capped at 435. The cap was approved as part of the Reapportionment Act of 1929 Why is the House of Representatives Capped at 435?
Consider this. According to the US Census Bureau the current population of the United States is 309,111,872. (as of 4/21/10) If we divide that by 30,000 you get 10,303. Could you image having a House of Representatives With 10,303 members? Today we take the total population and divide it by 435, and that determines how many people each member of the House will represent.
approx. 710,602 Reapportionment Repportionment: Distributing the 435 seats among the 50 states. Completed every 10 years based on the information gathered by the US CENSUS. States could gain or lose seats based on population shifts within the United States.
Reapportionment California in 1850 2 Seats in House of Reps California in 2000 53 Seats in House of Reps Reapportionment New York in 1940 45 Seats in House of Reps
New York in 2000 29 Seats in House of Reps Redistricting After the reapportionment is complete, the STATES have to redraw the district lines within their states. District lines are re-drawn every ten years because the number of individuals a member of the House represents changes, and the population has shifted within the state.
It is important to note that it is the STATES that redraw the district lines, based on information given to them from the federal government (U.S. Census Bureau). Redistricting According to the National Conference of State Legislatures: 21 of the 50 States develop commissions to re-draw district lines. 29 of the 50 States allow the state legislature to re-draw the district lines. Regardless of which plan is used the two major parties in that state (always the Democrats and Republicans) will generally have almost complete control over the process. The redistricting processes used in the United States are another
reason that third parties have a hard time gaining power in our political process/system. To see an interesting interactive demonstration of how redistricting can impact an election visit http://www.redistrictinggame.org. This site allows you to draw district lines and it demonstrates how easily those districts can be manipulated to benefit one group over another. Redistricting Drawing the district lines is a delicate process. If one party has complete control over drawing the lines they could draw district lines that give their party a
huge advantage. This is done by drawing strangely shaped districts to put more of one party in a district. Known as GERRYMANDERING The next slide will show an example. Gerrymandering Here is a fictional map of Missouri with 7 districts. Four Are Democratic and Three are Republican. But inside Two of the republican districts, there are big pockets of Democrats. But the pockets do not have enough people To win the district. If the Democrats could draw the district
Lines the way they wanted, they could make one district That included both of those pockets of Democrats. The Image below shows what the district lines might look like if The Democrats could draw the lines. In this map the district lines have been drawn to include Both pockets of Democrats into a single district. This is Done so the Democrats can vote together and get their Members elected. Before the were separated and unable To get their member elected in neither district. NOTICE there are still only 5 districts, but the lines have Changed.
Affirmative Action Redistricting In 1982, amendments to the Voting Rights Act required the creation of MAJORITY-MINORITY DISTRICTS wherever possible. The creation of districts that are made up of mostly minorities. (GERRYMANDERING?) This was done to try and increase the number of minorities represented in Congress. Election Process
Primary Election Process that each party goes through to decide which candidate will represent their party in the general election. General Election Process in which the candidate from each party compete against each other. Winner of this process wins the office. Congressional Elections Open Seat
A Congressional election in which there is no INCUMBENT. Safe Seat A Congressional district that is certain to vote for the candidate of one party. Congressional Job Approval As the image to the left demonstrates, Americans do not usually have a high level of confidence in or approval
for the job being done by the U.S. Congress. Congress As A Career Prior to 1900 the average length of service of a member of the House of Representatives was less than 3 years. The picture was very similar in the Senate. Today, things are much different. Todays Congress is a PROFESSIONAL LEGISLATURE, with most members staying in office as long as they can.
Sitting members of Congress, INCUMBENTS, have a huge advantage when it comes to getting re-elected. Running for Re-election When a member of Congress chooses to run for reelection, they win an overwhelming percent of the time. Since WWII approximatley 92% of all House of Rep. incumbents, that run for re-election, win reelection. Incumbent members of the Senate have won 78% of the time. Can we explain how/why this happens, especially in light of the information presented on the previous
slide dealing with Congressional Job Approval. Congressional Job Approval Revisited. As was demonstrated on a previous slide, the American people put very little confidence in the job that Congress as a whole is doing. But, when we ask Americans how their individual member of
Congress is doing we find that most have a much higher regard for the job THEIR MEMBER is doing. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS SO? Advantages of Incumbency Constituency Service Media Coverage Campaign Funds Advantages of Office
Franking Casework Experience or Voting History Why Do Senators Have A Harder Time Getting Re-Elected
Party Competition More Diverse District More Media Coverage Better Challengers Higher Ambitions of Candidates
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