Cover art for podcast Politics in Question

Politics in Question

113 EpisodesProduced by Julia Azari, Lee Drutman, and James WallnerWebsite

A podcast about how our political institutions are failing us and ideas for fixing them. Join hosts Lee Drutman, Julia Azari, and James Wallner, three lively experts on American political institutions and reform, as they imagine and argue over what American politics could look like if citizens quest… read more


Should the House have more members?

Lee reminds Julia and James that the original First Amendment to the Constitution proposed by James Madison in 1789 concerned apportionment and traces the present issue to the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929. He also mentions the cube root law to highlight the extent to which the United States is a global outlier when it comes to the size of Congress’s lower chamber.

James cites Federalist 58 when suggesting that increasing the size of the House is unlikely to empower its rank-and-file members and argues that the reform will further centralize power in the party leadership. He references Thomas Jefferson’s idea of a ward republic and Hannah Arendt’s council system when considering what a truly participatory politics looks like. He mentions John Aldrich’s work on parties in the first Congress to highlight the impact of party heterogeneity on centralization in the House.

Lee cites Frances Lee’s book, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign when considering the impact that a bigger House could have on Congress and its two political parties. He references his new book, Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop: The Case for Multiparty Democracy in America.

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