This is an article I’ve had in mind for some time and I’m going to use the WordPress Writing 101 session to get at it! This is take 1. There will be more versions of the same idea until I get it right.
Our elected “leaders”, otherwise known as members of Congress (both federal and state versions count) as well as our President and governors and mayors, have little to no incentive to fix probelms for their constituents or their country. Why not, you ask?
In days gone by, elected officials were responsive to local politics and local voters. They were able to keep their voters on their side by delivering financial benefit in the form of “pork” or “earmarks”. Much of their funding could be raised locally. They dealt more with constituents than with funding organizers and special interest groups. In the past several years, earmarks have been much reduce, the ability to contribute extremely large amounts of money has been dramatically increased, and most federal political districts have been established as semi-permanent fiefs, the allegiance of the politicians has shifted away from the local voter. They can’t deliver much to them any more and don’t really need to. Allegiance has shifted to the special interest groups who can provide very large amounts of the money required to run a campaign and to keep most members of Cognress immune from primary challenges.
When all you had to do to be reelcted was to please the local voters either through pork barrel projects or though genuine connections with a large portion of the voters, all politics, as Tip O’Neil used to say, was local. When the bulk of the funding is from groups outside your district who have agendas that are mysterious to the majority of local voters, and can provide seemingly unlimited attack ads, it is very hard for the average local voter to care very much about the race. Then only the zealots vote and our Congress becomes more and more divided and partisan.
What’s the solution? We have the representatives we deserve because we, the great middle of the political spectrum, let it slip away from us. It’s time to take it back.
- Register with a party if necessary so you can vote in primary elections and get people who are more interested in solving problems than in getting reelected
- Vote aganst outside money
- Support open primaries
- Support non-partisan redistricting
- Insist that Congress define the problem before they define the solution
- Get angry! Become the radical middle! Your country is slowly being suffocated.