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We have allowed our national government to be overrun with a political class which is both corrupt and incompetent. How did it happen? We ignored our Constitution—the great national birthright—and we are paying a terrible price. The takeover happened so gradually as to be nearly invisible. Like watching grass grow.

The Constitution

The House of Representatives was to be the voice of ordinary people. The rest of the government was to be selected by and from the nation's elite. The House's small districts and frequent elections were to be a check (as in “checks and balances”) on the elites.

House elections every two years were easily defined within the Constitution. However, the number of representatives and their allocation among the states presented a problem: How to be certain that each person had a fair and equal representation in the House when the country was growing at a great rate and the population was spreading into new states in the West?

The answer was to establish a mechanism to force Congress and the President to periodically revaluate House membership. That mechanism was the census. In the clause that establishes the House, the Constitution requires a census be taken every ten years with the double purpose of setting a new number of House seats and apportioning them among the states.

The only restriction was that a congressional district must not contain fewer than 30,000 people. The founding fathers worried about too many representatives. It never entered their heads to worry about too few. They never dreamed the American people would allow themselves to be cheated out of their voice in national affairs. Yet that's exactly what's happened.

It worked just fine...for about 100 years

The system worked as planned from the first census in 1790 through to 1910. Every 10 years House membership increased. Usually 40 to 50 percent of the House were new members—ordinary people sent by their neighbors to speak for them in Washington. The people had a real, if occasionally cantankerous, voice

As a result of the 1910 census, House membership increased from 386 to 435. It's been stuck there ever since. The Constitution was not amended. Congress and the President didn't take this decision to the states and ask them to ratify it. Rather, they decided among themselves to pay no attention to the Constitution.

Now every 10 years, Congress and the President say to each other, “Four hundred thirty-five looks good to me. Does it look good to you?” “Sure. Looks good to me. Let's just leave it.” They then pass a law that sets House membership at 435. They are confident that you and I will not notice as our voice in government grows weaker and weaker. And so far they've been right.

It's not democracy and it's not American. The Constitution gives us both the right and the duty to restore “government of the People, by the People and for the People.”