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If We Don’t Trust Them, Why Do We Re-elect Them
According to CBS News-New York Times Poll only 8% of Americans want the members of Congress re-elected. I know polls vary but this is a low number. Eighty percent of us think that members of Congress are more interested in serving special interests than the American people.
In another poll the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 31% of US voters don’t want their representative to Congress re-elected while 49% said they did want their incumbent representative re-elective. This doesn’t look good for the incumbents.
At Rasmussen Reports 71% give Congress a poor rating. More voters think members of Congress are corrupt. 60% of us don’t believe that the party leaders know what is needed to fix today’s problems.
While these numbers vary from poll to poll and day to day, it is easy to see that we are not happy with the job our elected representatives are doing. Talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers, they are not satisfied. Yet we re-elect over 90% of the incumbents.
In November 2004 we re-elected 99% of the incumbent Congressmen and 96% of the incumbent Senators. What is wrong with us? They are not that good at governing. They are good at campaigning and collecting campaign dollars.
Incumbents are hard the remove for many reasons. Taxpayers give each member of congress money for a staff in Washington and back home, travel money between their home district or state and free postage for informational letters to their constituents. They can politic while collecting a paycheck. A challenger has to pay the bills while running against an incumbent. Incumbents have media access. Incumbents have a campaign organization from previous campaigns. Incumbents have large amounts of campaign contributions compared to challengers.
We also don’t examine their voting records. We elect them and many times they vote against our interests. They vote for the interests of their largest donors, corporations. They always stand on the popular side of the latest polls even if they have to change their position a few times.
We need to hold elected officials accountable. We need to pay attention to the bills they vote for and against. We need independent candidates who do not always vote with a party. Put simply, we need representation and we won’t get if we keep re-electing over 90% of them.