Do Representatives reflect constituents' views better than Senators?
I must begin my response with a disclaimer: I have no personal, direct knowledge of this topic. All I can offer is my opinion, and, as with all opinions it should be taken cum grano salis (with a grain of salt).
It seems to me this question must be answered on two levels: In theory and In reality.
In theory, yes, the Representatives in the House reflect the view of their constituents more closely than the Senators do. This is true for two reasons:
- Representatives only represent the constituents of their electoral district while Senators represent all the constituents in the state. In this sense, Representatives are 'closer' to their constituents, hence more reflective of their view.
- Representatives are (re)elected every two years, Senators are (re)elected every six years. Thus, the constituents in the Representative's electoral district are able to express their approval/disapproval of the Representative with greater frequency than they can with their Senators. Given the dynamism of public affairs, this greater frequency makes Representatives better reflecters of the view of their constituents better than Senators.
That's the theory.
In reality, neither Representatives or Senators reflect the views of their constituents - they represent the views of their party. Those who seek to meet their elective responsibility are kept in line by a 'Party Whip' who ensures that all elected officials do what they're told.
In the words of an acquaintance who was elected to represent the constituents of his district, he was "pushed to 'fall in line' if I ever wanted to get anything for my district - or if the bills I personally cared about were to get any traction."
The only difference between this person's experience and that of another acquaintance in a different state is that the latter was also told if he intended on being reelected, he would do as he was told. Otherwise, the party would put up an opponent that would be heavily financed to defeat him.
If you ever wonder about the gutting and repeal of Glass-Steagall, or the unconscionable expansion of so-called 'intellectual property rights' that enables the perpetual gouging of the American people, or how our tax structure, which levies progressive taxes on the humans among us while taxing corporations on their 'profits' (a mythical construct that makes the transformation of profits into expenses a fine art), you need only ask yourself where the money that underwrites your Senator's and Representative's election comes from. Directly or indirectly, it comes from their party.
Political parties are conduits for corruption. For those who think I overstate the case, consider the definition of 'soft money' from Wordnet:
"noun: political contributions made in such a way as to avoid the United States regulations for federal election campaigns."