I read your cross comment.
It made me think...
A paycheck and benefits might become more important than making good decisions for a representative when there isn't much of a connection with the represented.
In a small town, a mayor might receive good benefits, but if they start doing wrong they are surrounded by small community that can directly affect him/her.
At the federal level, that kind of job pressure doesn't exist probably because given represented individual amounts to a much smaller slice of the voting pie.
The amount of people represented at each tier of government has ballooned immensely since the representative system was first created.
The ratio of representatives to the number of people represented is probably key, just like the study that found that schools above a certain size perform poorly in comparison to the smaller schools.
So, maybe what is needed is a smaller number of people that a senator is actually responsible to, like (I have to say) an additional level of federal representation at the state or district level that focuses on federal issues and has the ability to designate federal representatives based on the subject matter being voted upon. I guess I'm just adding that last part, because no one person can accurately represent the views of a large number of people.
An additional idea is to have a representative body made up of issue-voting representatives. That way people can vote for a human rights representative separate from a fiscal policy representative.
I guess I'm rambling now, but those are some ideas.
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