Every ten years the population of the country, as determined by the census, is divided by 435 representatives and each state gets their apportionment of those representatives based on the state's population. The states divide their populations into districts determined by how many representatives they get in a process called redistricting.
Usually, state legislatures, or commissions chosen by them, decide how their states are divided into districts of equal populations. These districts are drawn with many considerations in mind. The deliberate manipulation of district boundaries, called gerrymandering, for partisan advantage is a common practice in the process. Districts are often challenged in court because one party disagrees with the others decision.
This contentious political process has a history of partisan manipulation in the congress and throughout the states. The entire process, nationally and locally, serves political incumbency and special interest groups, not democracy. Political representation for the public is incidental to the process and therefore the process should be ended. This would be the first step in reclaiming the House of representatives for the public.
The Reapportionment Act of 1929 did away with any mention of districts at all and allows for representatives to be elected at large. This is exactly what should happen in all states. The political process of redistricting, with its partisan squabbles and gerrymandering motivations, should be retired or at least supplemented with congressional delegations voted for 'at large' by the entire state electorate.
Once approved, the electorate would be able to vote for statewide congressional delegations without the partisan constraints of gerrymandered districts, resulting in representation that more accurately reflects the state's population instead of protecting its incumbents.
Step two on the path to legitimate political representation would be more representatives. The Constitution allows for one representatives for every thirty thousand citizens. George Washington recommended one representative for every fifty thousand citizens. We currently have over seven hundred thousand citizens per Representative. The number of representatives relative to the population has been constrained for over one hundred years so an update to house membership is long overdue.
As of the 2010 Census, the number of representatives could legally increase from 435 to 10,386. That's over twenty representatives more for every one that we have now. Technology has overcome geography to the point that representatives should vote from their home states. This would allow for constituents to actually meet with their representatives and discuss local concerns. There is no public interest reason to have representatives congregating in the nation's capital any longer. representatives should be serving their own constituencies not Washington DC lobbyists.
Removing the corrupting influence of money from representatives brings us to Step Three; Income Based Representation. Along with congressional delegations elected 'at large' with increased membership, a new Apportionment Act can legislate additional representatives be apportioned by tax brackets. Instead of additional representatives being chosen from and assigned to geographical districts they could be chosen from tax brackets, statewide.
There are currently six federal income tax brackets. If you determine how many people from a state are in each tax bracket you can then apportion representatives from, those tax brackets. This way citizens could be represented by a Representative from their own tax bracket. This is a much more Representative method of representation compared to the current system of the increasingly wealthy representing the increasingly poor.
For instance, with increased house membership and 'at large' elections, Texas could have up to approximately 700 reps for its population of 25 million people. If the population was divided evenly amongst the six tax brackets, that would be approximately 116 representatives chosen from each tax bracket. This way if the population increases or decreases in a specific tax bracket, that tax bracket will receive more or less representation accordingly. This would likely result in raising the income of all constituents.
Income based representation is like the current system with one Representative for whatever divisor of the population is legislated by the Apportionment Act. The difference is that the population will be represented according to their incomes, statewide, rather than just the congressional district they live in. So rather than population and geography, representatives will be apportioned by population and income, statewide.
Instead of apportioning representatives by the Method of Equal Proportions, 'Tax Bracket Apportionment' could apportion representatives to achieve a system where the percentage of the population per tax bracket is equivalent to the percentage of representative seats per tax bracket.
This system is much less confusing and much more fair than the current system of apportionment based on the Method of Equal Proportions. For every fault a critic will find with income-based representation there are solutions readily available. There are far less faults with the idea than there are with the current practice of redistricting.
Resistance to income-based representation is to be expected because of the advantages those with influential opinions enjoy from the current system. Many prominent voices will resist the change because they profit from narrating the national demise caused by democratic decay. Many will say it's impossible because they lack the long term vision required to achieve legitimate political representation. There will be all sorts of challenges raised by those who perceive they enjoy an advantage due to the inequality inherent in the current law.
Passing the necessary legislation would be easier than amending the Constitution and more effective in achieving legitimate political representation. A new apportionment act that includes increased membership, statewide congressional delegations, and income-based representation, are all Constitutional, which keeps the votes required for passage to a simple majority.
Any one of these three steps alone would be helpful in achieving legitimate political representation. Together, these three revisions to existing law would ensure appropriate electoral finance regulations could be passed, along with other legislation beneficial to the democratic process such as utilizing updated technologies to ensure fair elections. Once legitimate political representation is achieved, the public and the nation can unite in common purpose, as written in the Preamble of the Constitution;
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
(Legitimate Political Representation Protects and Defends the Constitution.)