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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Forget change: In the end, voters stick to the status quo


Americans, all opinion polls say emphatically, think Congress is a partisan swamp where nothing is done.

Changes, those same polls say, must come.  It’s time to throw the bums out and put in fresh blood.  Even incumbent Senator John McCain admits that support for Congress is “down to paid staffers and blood relatives.”

But, like the campaign promises that spew out of the mouths of candidates for Congress, the talk is just verbal diarrhea and come election day the voters will march into the voting booth and return the vast majority goons, buffoons and loons to office.

The Associated Press is reporting today that surveys and an analysis of pre-election polls shows at least 15 of the 22 senators seeking re-election will win and 330 of the 435 House members will keep their jobs.

How?  It’s the system, stupid.

Reports the AP:

When the results are counted this Tuesday, Americans will have resoundingly rehired a big majority of the House and Senate despite railing for months about an ineffective, bitterly divided Congress.

Help from the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts is one reason so many lawmakers will return to Washington. The first election after that politically driven process is typically a high point for those in office. But redistricting is hardly the only reason. The power of incumbency, with its name recognition and cash advantages, also is responsible.

The system protects its own and those already in office are the system.  When a seat is open, the political parties work to put someone into office who will support the system, not rock the boat.

So, in an election year when — once again — the talk is all about change, don’t look for changes.  Voters will re-elect the status quo even as they leave the voting booth and decry the current state of Congress and government.

Why so much hypocrisy in the voting booth?

Part of it is familiarity along with a feeling that while Congress the institution is so bad, the man or woman who represents them is not the problem.

An informal survey of 1,000 Capitol Hill Blue readers found that they think many members of Congress should be tossed out on their butts but don’t lump their representative or senator into that group.  As a result, 73 percent say they will vote for the incumbent or — in cases where the seat is open — the candidate from the political party of the incumbent leaving office.

Most members of Congress put pork barrel for their state or district ahead of national interests and work to keep their constituents back home fat and happy off government money.

Heavy use of pork barrel cuts across party lines and philosophical beliefs.  Even those who decry government spending look the other way when it comes to loading up their districts with federal lard.

And, in the end, that’s the only results that voters back home seem to care about too.

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9 thoughts on “Forget change: In the end, voters stick to the status quo”

  1. Public (govt) schools have generated the least able analytical minds possible. Just exactly what else than the status quo would one expect?

  2. Polling shows vote will probably be even and electoral vote will favor Obama. There will be no change in the House and Senate and even Governorships. It will be as if an election had not taken place.

  3. Jerry, Wasserman Schultz is a very popular House member and was wonderful in helping Gabby Giffords get back on her feet after being shot in the head. I do not live in Florida and have little knowledge of how Schultz votes but I do know many of her pals in the House and they have many nice things to say about her. I do know that she is dedicated to women’s rights as I am. It’s a shame when this mess has to be put in front of the House of Representatives because too many are opposed to abortions. I was until the GOP made a gigantic issue over it. If one is opposed to anything, they should not do whatever it is.

    The GOP wants a one size fits all set of laws which is ridiculous. I’m waiting for the Jehovah’s Witnesses to try and ban blood transfusions.

  4. Allow me to comment about Doug’s comments that it’s “the system” in real terms regarding a real race where I live but in a Congressional district that I personally do not live. I’m going to use one specific example of why I refute that it’s “the system” to blame.

    Wassermam-Shultz(D) vs. Karen Harrington (R)

    WS(D) is the perennial system candidate who has had a strong stranglehold on the seat. She’s also the current Chairwoman of the DNC. KH(R) is the second time challenger, she lost in 2010. She’s a restauranteur and, like WS(D), a cancer survivor.

    The problem is that KH(R) supported the efforts of the restaurant and hospitality industry to lobby the Florida legislature to reduce the minimum wage from $4.69 (or thereabouts) to $2.50 for restaurant workers – servers, bus boys, bar backs, servers, etceteras. You’re not going to toss out an incumbent with someone who is so blatently anti-worker at the very lowest level of the wage scale.

    The people are screaming for reasonable perspectives on the issues from fresh faces. But, don’t feed me a candidate who fundamentally has a wage philosophy so archaic and regressive. Because, you see, the result is that WS(D) is going back to Congress and “the system” had nothing to do with it.

  5. Walter, the system is set up so that either a democrat or republican wins. Very few independents or third parties are elected.
    Here in VA, for Senate we have a choice between Tim Kaine and George Allen. Both were previously governors. Both were abysmal failures. Heck of a choice, huh?

  6. The only choice is not to vote for a republican or democrat. Vote for the Libertarian or Green Party candidate or write in none of the above. It’s not much, but it’s the only way we have to register our disgust.

  7. CA are you talking about the lawyers found in the House and Senate?

    I just heard an interview between Chuck Todd of MSNBC and Pete Sessions a Republican member of the House. Sessions is convinced that Romney will be President and he said that the House will work as a strong team with Romney. The follow up question was never asked by Todd. Would the House work with Obama?

    Todd may have known the answer before asking it. Are we to see another closed force within the House when Obama tries to pass legislation?

    It looks as if Doug Thompson is right and the voters will not make changes in the Congress who will again try to make a Democratic President look weak.

    This division may be too strong to ever get the government under control of the people. If this is the case, people will never bother to vote. That saddens me as I’ve very involved in politics for 60 years.

  8. To many lawyers in DC. Lawyers are trained to work around laws and know how to write them. Get the lawyers out and half the battle is won.

  9. Right Chief. We have talked about wanting change for years and some of us have changed political parties. The GOP has changed so drastically that it slammed the door on many of us old timers.

    My Congresswoman did not get my vote but my Senator did. It seems that the voters are voting against instead of for their congress persons. Looking across the USA map, there are some new faces running for Congress. It stuns me that Michelle Bachman might be reelected after making such stupid comments about our criminal House and Senate.

    My concern is how those folks on Staten Island will vote. I work on my sample ballot for weeks before mailing it in but I doubt those poor folks are even thinking about the election.

    This is an election where every single vote is essential for both sides of the aisle.

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