|Members of the 115th U.S. Congress take their oath of office.|
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
#204 / They Don't Care What We Think?
On Friday, July 12, 2019, The New York Times ran an opinion editorial with this headline: "Politicians Don't Care What You Think." The column is worth reading if you can get through the paywall.
Written by a couple of professors, Joshua Kalla and Ethan Porter, the column reported on peer-reviewed research that validates the impression most people already have. The conclusion reached is not exactly big news! Most people already believe that politicians don't care much, if anything, about what they, the voters, think.
My blog postings on July 4th and July 5th incorporated a video from RepresentUs that provided a solid demonstration that most politicians don't, in fact, vote for the things that their constituents care about. Here is that video again, for those who failed to watch it those last two times:
The Kalla/Porter research demonstrates that politicians don't vote in a way their constituents would prefer, and that most politicians aren't even willing to make use of information that would provide them with reliable evidence about the policy preferences of their constituents. That's right, most politicians are so busy raising money from special interests that they are not even willing to review validated polling evidence that will tell them, accurately, what the voters in their districts think. And remember, these are the voters who will actually have an opportunity to vote either for or against these politicians when the next election comes around.
As I say, this is not exactly big news! But let me make an observation.
These politicians "belong to us." They are getting paid to represent us. If they don't, if they don't even want to find out what we think, then the fact that they are still in office is nobody's fault but our own.
The reason that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become such a political celebrity is that she beat a politician who did not vote the way his constitents wanted him to. He was a big leader in Democratic Party politics, and he raised a lot of money, but he was clearly not much in touch with the ordinary men and women who lived in the district he represented.
Given an opportunity, his constituents chose someone else. A film available on Netflix, Knock Down The House, illustrates how it is done. I commend it to anyone who would like to make self-government work again. Elected officials who don't care about what their constituents think, and who don't vote for the kind of policies that their constituents want, should (and can be) replaced.
That is, however, absolutely up to us! No one else is going to do it for us.