Author Topic: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?  (Read 298 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?

 By Mark Tapscott  | August 14, 2014 | 9:03 am

 

Something profoundly important about America was altered in the years following the Civil War, something far more significant than even slavery, secession or state's rights.

For reasons that remain inexplicable to this day -- if only because they are rarely, if ever, discussed -- Congress was transformed from an assembly of private citizens devoting a few years to serving their fellow citizens to a host of career politicians critics see as mostly serving themselves.

This change has been graphically documented as never before in an innovative way today by Luke Rosiak of the Washington Examiner's watchdog investigative reporting team.
   
 
Throw the bums out?

Rosiak plotted the time served by senators and representatives for every Congress going back to the nation's founding.

What he found is the abrupt and amazing change in how Americans viewed their congressmen during and after the Civil War.

In 1820, only one member of Congress had ever served 30 or more years in office. Only eight members had been in Congress for 20 or more years.

Then in 1870, only five years after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, nobody in Congress had been there 20 or more years.

What happened?

But then in 1882, the trend line of congressional incumbency began a steady march upward to the present. In that year, 12 members had been in office for at least 20 years, while two had served 30 or more years.

By 1900, 26 members were veterans of 20 or more years in Congress, while another seven had been in office for 30 or more years.

In the 1946 elections, the first following FDR's death in 1945 and the first peacetime balloting since before Pearl Harbor, 69 members were 20+ year-veterans and 21 had served for 30 or more years.

The Watergate decade

Since the Civil War, there has been only one decade in which each congressional election saw a decline in the number of members with 20 or more years in office.

In 1972, the year President Richard Nixon was swept back into office for a second term, 124 members had been in Congress 20 or more years, while 40 had three decades or more in office.

A decade later, those numbers declined to 72 and 22, respectively. It's been uphill -- or downhill, depending upon your perspective -- ever since.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/if-congress-is-so-bad-why-wont-americans-throw-the-bums-out/article/2552014
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 10:15:08 AM by rangerrebew »
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Offline Carling

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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 05:06:34 PM »
Generic Congressional approval ratings don't matter, because the only vote each citizen has is for their own Rep or senator, and the overwhelming majority of them win over 50% of the vote in their districts or state. 
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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 07:01:10 PM »
Everyone else's congressman sucks but mine is GREAT!!!

That's it in a nutshell.
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire

Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2014, 07:52:39 PM »
Everyone else's congressman sucks but mine is GREAT!!!

That's it in a nutshell.

Pretty much.  Only in tsunami years like 1994 and 2010 do a lot of seats in Congress change hands.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton

Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2014, 08:35:12 PM »
Quote
In 1820, only one member of Congress had ever served 30 or more years in office. Only eight members had been in Congress for 20 or more years.
Considering the institution was only 31 years old at the time, that's not all that surprising.

Quote
Then in 1870, only five years after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, nobody in Congress had been there 20 or more years.
Considering that this was reconstruction, and most of the states that had seceded had yet to be accepted back into Congress (even though the Union never even acknowledged the legitimacy of their secession—figure that one out) or had only recently done so, that again is not surprising.

Also note that we've had the same two dominant parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, since the Civil War era. That wasn't the case before. You had the Democratic Party (be it Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party, Jackson's Democrats, the Southern Democrats, FDR's Democrats, and now Obama's Democrats) pretty much from the country's founding, but the opposition constantly changed: the Federalists folded about 1820 and the Whigs in the 1850s. Needless to say, the Republican Party's day of reckoning is long overdue.
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Offline raml

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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 08:54:34 PM »
In the primary I didn't vote for Billy long but he still got in and I imagine will be back in since this is a republican strong hold where I live. They are also many in this area who are lazy voters and will keep voting for an incumbent because they don't bother to find out who else is even running. I do agree with Billy about 1/2 the time so I guess that is better than never and he  is coming out against amnesty and that was after the primary so I will continue to watch how his voting goes and will continue to email him what I think. Everything else on the ballet went the way I wanted and there were very important issues so I overall was happy with how the voting turned out.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 08:55:17 PM by raml »

Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: If Congress is so bad, why won't Americans throw the bums out?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 10:11:42 PM »
In the primary I didn't vote for Billy long but he still got in and I imagine will be back in since this is a republican strong hold where I live.

So many districts today are so gerrymandered that as long as the incumbent isn't caught in bed with a dead girl or live boy (and the latter might not be a disqualifier in Democrat districts) then he or she will likely keep winning elections unless they die, retire, or there is just some strange circumstance.

A great example of this is Shelia Jackson Lee.  The woman is as stupid as a rock, but keeps getting 80%-90% of the vote in her district.  (The main reason is her skin color, pure and simple.)  The GOP finally quit running a candidate because it was a waste of time and money.  The Libertarian picks up whatever she doesn't get.
"...And these atomic bombs which science burst upon the world that night were strange, even to the men who used them."  H. G. Wells, The World Set Free, 1914

"The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." -Lord Acton


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