POLS notes 4.5.11 - POLS 1101 Gunning Notes Part III...

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POLS 1101 Gunning Notes 4/5/11 Part III: National Government Institutions The Legislative Branch o Representation : giving voice to viewpoints in society o Lawmaking : finding agreement on new laws and the budget o There is a tradeoff between these two goals Who Should Represent Us? o Descriptive Representation : a legislature should look like America o Focus on characteristics that divide us like race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation Ex: Norway requires an equal number of male & female candidates o Criticism : external characteristics do not always correspond individual beliefs o Substantive Representation : a legislature that thinks like America o Re-create the range & the depth of opinion among citizens instead the legislature o Criticism : A legislature that has diverse viewpoints but lacks diversity could lack legitimacy w/ citizens How Should They Represent Us? o Trustee Representation : elect an intelligent & trustworthy person to speak for you o “Elect a Mind to Office!” o Problem : what if they reach a different conclusion than you would? o Delegate Representation : elect a person who will vote exactly like you would o “Elect a Mirror to Office!” o Problem : sometimes issues arise suddenly without time for an election Which theory best explains reality? o Politico Representation : depends on salience o High salience usually Delegate behavior o Low salience usually Trustee behavior *US HOUSE CHANGES WITH POPULATION Adjusting the US House o Census : counting residents every 10 years o Re-apportionment : re-allocating House seats by population o Re-districting : re-drawing district lines within a state to reflect population changes US House o Grew from 105 members in 1791 to 435 in 1911—remanins 435 to this day o Every time a state gains a House seat, another state losses a seat o GA is growing faster than US average 1980: 10 House seats 1990:11 House seats 2000:13 House seats 2010: 14 House seats Large & Small (won’t be tested on this)
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o The smallest states receive 1 House seats (Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Delaware, Vermont, ND, SD) o The largest state (CA receives 53 House seats) o 1790: average population 30,000 per district o 2000: average population 650,000 per district Gerrymandering o Drawing lines to suppress the voting strength of a rival political party o “Packing” your opponents into few districts o “Splitting” up your opponents to weaken their strength o Racial gerrymandering: 1965 voting rights act, which will knock down these barriers to vote/ legislatures redraw lines so black people won’t be able to vote Majority-Minority Districts o Renewal of Voting Rights Act in 1980s mandated that future redistricting not dilute minority voting strength o 1990s saw a major increase in number of Latinos & African-Americans in US House o Why no law for women? B/c women are not spatially clustered; men and women live evenly across the landscape. Also, women are the majority in almost every district o Why no major change in US Senate? b/c senate boundaries are fixed by state law
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