Mid-terms, incumbents, and congress–oh my!

Another election cycle. Time for more ads to flood the airwaves, radio, and billboards. And for what? Does anything in this country ever really change? Not really, no. We tend to get the same shitty results no matter which party is in control of the government. You literally could blindly pick between republican and democratic candidates and you’d end up with the same lame results. Why? Because special interest groups run the two main political parties in this country.

And that’s why I don’t care anymore. People say that not voting is a waste of a vote. I would counter by saying that voting for someone who isn’t going to represent your best interests is also a waste of a vote. Either way your vote doesn’t matter. For a smattering of reasons. The aforementioned purchase of members of congress is a big one. But voters are also stupid. Consider this.

Congress has an approval rating of just 15% as of July 2014. That same poll reveals that 22% of Americans believe the best way to fix this problem is to vote everyone out of congress. But that won’t happen. Because people are stupid. How else can you explain the fact that despite congressional disapproval, 90% of incumbents won re-election last cycle? It seems pretty clear that most Americans hate institutions, but aren’t willing to hold individual members of those institutions accountable for their less-than-stellar results. Because…I don’t know why. Maybe because most Americans don’t know enough about civics and how the government actually functions (or is supposed to function). Maybe it’s because only 35% of Americans can even name their member of congress.

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Which ultimately reminds me of something George Carlin once said. I won’t quote the entire bit, but it essentially amounts to this: if you have stupid, ignorant citizens, then you’re going to have stupid, ignorant leaders. Shocking, I know. Sometimes I stop and think, “Well, I guess this is the best America can do.” We’re a culture obsessed with money and material goods. We value celebrity over intellect. We sit on our asses and watch TV while shoveling Cheetos into our faces until we get heart disease and diabetes. We run up crazy credit card debt. We hate scientists and de-fund and gut education programs. Is it any wonder that our elected officials are incompetent morons?

There’s still some part of me that thinks that voting can make a difference, though. We just have to stop electing cookie-cutter morons. Stop electing people whose campaigns are bought and paid for by super PACS and special interests. From now on in every election I think I’m just going to vote for whoever the third party candidate is. They certainly haven’t been bought and paid for. To me, if a super PAC or special interest group isn’t interested in backing someone, it probably means that this person was overlooked because they’re actually a bright, conscionable person who would represent the interests of the people–not the interests of the PACS and other corporations and people trying to buy legislation. At the very least, they certainly couldn’t do a worse job than the idiots in congress right now.

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4 thoughts on “Mid-terms, incumbents, and congress–oh my!

  1. I feel a similar way, but I just don’t know of any solutions. Third party candidates sound good but how realistic are their chances of winning? They seem so low it’s like not voting. Then there’s the lesser of two evils argument. While I agree that’s not how politics should work, isn’t it better to vote for someone who will support SOME of the things I care about rather than none?
    I was very into politics when I was a teenager, but stopped reading/trying/caring when it seemed like nothing made a difference.
    I’m afraid I’m now one of those people you rightly call ignorant. I try to keep up a little bit, but it’s so frustrating. I don’t know how to stay sane and pay attention to what’s going on.

    1. I’d be hard pressed to call you ignorant based on your writing and the fact that you used to pay attention to the political scene. A sense of futility does not beget ignorance in my opinion.

      I get the argument that a third party vote is akin to a wasted vote. A lot of people point to Nader in the 2000 presidential election as a prime example of that.

      I used to vote with the “lesser of two evils” mentality. But now I’m not sure that there really is such a thing. I think there are very few candidates that actually fit that. Elizabeth Warren is one, and Olympia Snowe before she retired was another on the Republican side of the aisle.

      But now more than ever it seems that the American people get no pieces of legislation that benefits them. If we get any legislation at all, that is. With such poor results, I’m forced to conclude that either both parties, republicans and democrats, don’t know or don’t care.

  2. I understand the feeling and sometimes it’s spot on. Other times you get: George W. Bush is re-elected President; in 2005 Bush nominates John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court; Roberts and Alito are confirmed by the Senate; their confirmations continue a 5-4 conservative majority on the Court; in Citizens United v. the FCC, the 5-4 conservative majority ruled that the 1st Amendment prohibits government restrictions on independent political contributions by corporations (and labor unions and any such association). As you know, this decision opened the flood gates for unlimited corporate cash furthering the legal bribery of politicians.

    John Roberts replaced the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, himself a conservative. Condemn (rightly so)Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Roberts and Alito. Nonetheless, if John Kerry had been elected in 2004 (not a great choice, but …) Roberts wouldn’t have been nominated. A more liberal Justice would be sitting on the Court creating, most likely, a 5-4 liberal majority. And corporations wouldn’t have more rights than citizens.

  3. My take on politics right now is definately the lesser of two evils . The R’s are right now the anti science, anti intellect, anti everything that makes sense. The D’s only somewhat less so.

    My voting will be all D, and in the possibility of just voting to remove or retain others, my outlook is remove for every damn one of them.

    A newbie in the political game will at least have some sort of learning curve, or more appropriately a greasing of the rails ceremony to perform before they become as worthless as the one they replaced.

    Voting 3rd party, if it were viable and not just a demonstration vote, would be an option, if said 3rd party candidate has the momentum to carry them headlong into the race. Otherwise IMO it is a wasted vote.

    This is my personal opinion, not to be confused with political prosyletizing.

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