I have heretofore likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and equal representation; and there is no political matter which more deserves our attention. A small number of electors, or a small number of representatives, are equally dangerous. But if the number of the representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is increased. --Thomas Paine, COMMON SENSE
Thomas Paine penned these words before the Declaration of Independence was even framed, but they are no less valid today. He suggested the need for a balance in government, where the "electors" (ie, the populace) are represented in Congress by a large number of delegates. In fact, he thought that a House of Representatives should be composed of at least (390) delegates, no less than (30) for each of the (13) colonies. If Paine's ideas had been instituted, that would mean that today's (50) United States would be represented by no less than (1500) House members versus the paltry (435) we have today.
Paine likewise envisioned that every law that was passed would require a 3/5th majority. In today's Congress, that would mean (60) out of (100) Senators, and (261) out of (435) House members would need to vote in favor of every piece of legislation. NO law could be passed with a simple majority.
The rationale for Paine's thinking is obvious. A "large representation" reflects greater accuracy of sentiment among the electorate. A 3/5th majority vote reflects greater consensus on any proposed legislation. Paine, and many others of his day, were concerned with the possible concentration of power in the hands of a few. They were likewise concerned that laws might be enacted without "the consent of the governed".
When the First Congress was inaugurated in 1789, there were Thirteen Colonies, (26) Senators, and (65) House members. The first U.S. census of 1790 recorded 4 million Americans. Today, America's population is over 308 million represented by only (100) Senators and (435) House members. In other words, while the country's population has increased by a factor of 77, the number of Senators has increased by a factor of less than 4, and the number of House members has increased by a factor of less than 7.
I am sure that Thomas Paine would have argued that the First Congress was already inadequate to represent the electorate. Conditions have not improved since then. The situation which Paine and others feared, has come to pass. That is, that power is being concentrated into the hands of a few. The number of representatives per number of electorate is smaller than ever, and therefore "the danger is increased".
Paine goes on to describe an event in the colony of Pennsylvania where, "A set of instructions for their delegates were put together, which in point of sense and business would have dishonoured a school-boy, and after being approved by a few, a very few, ...were carried into the house, and there passed IN BEHALF OF THE WHOLE COLONY" (emphasis in original). That a few people in the legislature should use tactics that would "dishonor a school-boy" in order to effect their views over those of the majority was repulsive and offensive to Thomas Paine, as it should be to us.
The Democrats in Congress today are not only a small group of people who represent a large electorate, but they have become "unequal" as well. They control not only the House and the Senate, but the Presidency. While this may be legitimate under U.S. law, it is nonetheless "dangerous" as Thomas Paine would attest. An even smaller group of liberals within the ranks of those Democratic legislators appear poised to impose their views on the entire nation. Hence, "If the number of the representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is increased."
If Thomas Paine were alive today, he would no doubt decry the situation in which we find ourselves. He would argue that the people are not adequately represented. He would argue that power has been concentrated in the hands of a few. He would argue that this situation is "dangerous". He would argue the need for a 3/5th majority vote on each and every law. He would denounce the tactics being employed in the Congress. He would denounce "reconciliation" whereby a major piece of legislation affecting 1/6th of the U.S. economy can be passed with only a simple majority. And he would vehemently denounce the "Slaughter Solution", whereby the House can "deem" a bill to be passed without even voting on it.
What has America come to? Have we no COMMON SENSE? "There is no political matter which more deserves our attention."