Source: The New Democrat
I guess I would disagree a little with what David Hawkings is saying here and that I would add a little to his argument as well.
Money, is an issue with Congressional elections, but it’s not the issue. It’s not so much what’s spent on House and Senate elections, but the fact that we as voters don’t know what the money is spent on and how it was raised, who donated the money to the Congressional candidate or incumbent, or did a third-party raise that money and decided to spend it on a Congressional race and how they raised that money.
If someone wants to spend ( or waste ) 10 million dollars on a U.S. House race, that’s their money. But we as voters and the media have a right to know how they raised and spent that money. So we know if that candidate or incumbent is being bought like a loaf or bread and taking policy positions based on what their political contributors are giving them. And if they promised their contributors votes and bills if they give them money.
If we had full-disclosure on all political contributions from candidates, incumbents, and third-parties that and raise and spend their own money on Congressional elections and money that’s raised and spent by third-parties to run their own advertising on those races, we could fire a lot of crooks and liars in Congress, because we would know how they get their political contributions. Or another option would be that those crooks and liars would clean their political hands and start voting and legislating based on what they actually believe is best for their district or state, because they don’t want to be seen as bought because they know the voters, media, and probably more important for them the Federal Elections Commission will know how they raise their money. Who they’re getting their political contributions from.
And people could ask themselves, “do I really want to vote for someone who takes so much money from the oil and gas industry and always votes and legislates in favor of them?” Or, “do I really want to vote for someone who takes so much money from the teacher unions and never takes a position that goes against them like school choice and school accountability?” Members of Congress in both chambers fundraising records would become public, as well as their Congressional records their votes and positions that they’ve taken in Congress, because of full-disclosure and voters would have a lot of information at their disposal to look at and see if they want to reelect their Representative or Senator. or vote for or against their opponents when they’re up for reelection.
Just to talk about the U.S. House for a second and the main reasons why the House is broken and functions more like a broken home where you can’t close the doors or windows in it, and the floors are cracking is two reasons.
Gerrymandering- the reason why Representatives are so partisan and act as if they now hate members of the other party and just don’t disagree with them is because they represent gerrymandered districts and voters who hate the other party. These Representatives simply come from the community that they represent and are representing the views of their constituents in the House. You eliminate partisan gerrymandering from both parties and Democratic and Republican Representatives would then be forced to represent people from both parties in their district. Instead of representing a House district where 3-5 or 7-10 voters in their district are members of their own party. They would be forced to moderate their positions and tone in order to get reelected because their district would be a lot more diverse.
Majority always rules- the other reason why the House is so partisan is because of the way the chamber is set and run where the majority party isn’t just in complete control of the agenda but how bills are debated and have complete control of whether even amendments to partisan bills can be offered or not. Unlike in the Senate where the minority party led by the Minority Leader can not only obstruct the majority if they have at least 41 votes to do that, but can offer amendments and substitutes and have those amendments voted on to every bill that comes to the Senate floor, as well as in committee.
Not saying that the House should also have a cloture rule and allow the minority party led by the Minority Leader to obstruct everything, because that would make the Washington rush hour look like a NASCAR event, ( an inside the beltway joke ) and nothing would get done in the house. But the House minority party should at least be allowed to offer amendments and substitutes to bills and have those alternatives voted on to every bill that the majority party tries to write and pass on their own. Giving the minority party stake in the game and a feeling that there to do something other than to talk and vote no.
I’ll just close this piece with a little George Carlin the great political satirist. He asked the question to his audience during one of his shows where do politicians come from? And I’ll paraphrase him by saying they weren’t shipped here from Mars or some other planet or flown in here from another country. They go to the same schools that we did and same communities. They represent the communities that sent them to Congress or whatever office they hold.
Carlin’s point was that politicians aren’t much different than the people they’re supposed to represent that their Congressional salary is supposed to pay for. The reason why Congress especially the House is so partisan is because that is what their voters want it to be. To vote exactly the want they want them to and represent their values and not compromise, because they see the other party as the enemy and not as opponent. You want a better and less partisan Congress especially in the House, you need better and less partisan voters voting for it’s members.