Vote Them All Out

By Jason Poggioli
Some statistics I heard recently are bouncing around in a jumble of incongruousness that has me baffled. Recent polls have shown that the American public’s approval rating for Congress is around 9 percent. As shocking as that sounds, where it really gets into the logical equivalent of nails-on-a-chalkboard is when that is coupled with the typical chance an incumbent politician has of being voted back into office. Last I heard those chances are in the 80-90 percent range.

How is this even remotely possible? Clearly the American public thinks everyone in Congress except for their representative is doing a terrible job. There are probably other factors involved, although I’m definitely not going to rule out the “everyone is terrible, except for mine” syndrome.

It’s true that incumbents have lots more chances to get their faces and names out to the voting public. They usually have more funds at their disposal and more connections. Essentially, they’ve had time to make a career out of being a politician and they dedicate a fair amount of resources to the sole task of getting re-elected. After all, it is their job; wouldn’t you try everything you could to keep it? I can’t say I fault them too much for that.

Here’s the big problem, though. In aggregate, what Congress is doing is pretty much universally panned by the public in polls. Unemployment rates are terrible. The federal deficit is at levels the human mind simply isn’t constructed to comprehend let alone write a budget to deal with it. Congress’ inability to compromise on some of the most basic legislation this past year boggles the mind. And most important, no matter what your political bent, there is a 91 percent chance that you think Congress isn’t doing its job.

However, if statistics hold true, we can expect the vast majority of Congress to be there after the next election.

Why should we accept that in a country that is supposed to be the leader of democratic ideals throughout the world? Where are the calls to simply vote out every incumbent regardless of party affiliation? We all think the congressional arm is doing a lousy job and we all get to vote. So why don’t we vote every last one of them out?

I know this would mean that, gasp, horror of horrors, a Democrat might have to vote for a Republican and vice versa. Maybe it’s even worse than that and you would have to vote for someone who you could see in office only over your dead body. To that I say, “Tough.”

The beauty of a movement like this is that it’s simple and it’s obviously something we already agree on. What would happen if we voted as a single anti-incumbent bloc?

I think calling for the ousting of every incumbent, regardless of party, is the way to properly shake things up in Washington. Let’s put our Republican/Democrat feud to the side for just one election, and instead of arguing policy let’s send a single, simple message. After the Great Election Earthquake of 2012 is over we can all go back to voting for our favorite team, but I feel pretty confident things would be different. At least for a while, everyone on the Hill will have the very real threat of unemployment in the back of his or her mind when it comes time to actually do a job and pass some legislation.

Governing is hard work that requires compromise and always results in some people being unhappy. I think every voter understands that, but what is happening in Washington now is the refusal to compromise results in everyone being unhappy.

Vote them ALL out.

12 Responses to “Vote Them All Out”

  1. LeeAgain Says:

    An excellent idea, Jason. My family’s been thinking along those lines for a few months now. Throw the bums out! They’re far and away too comfortable at our expense. I’m forwarding this to everybody in my address book.

  2. Marshall Rubin Says:

    Sorry Jason, but blindly voting against all incumbants is a silly idea. I don’t love the Democrats, far from it, but the current problems with congressional inaction and our overall negative economic and social conditions are almost entirely at the hands of the Republicans. It was THEY who through deceit got us into the War in Iraq, while bungling the effort in Afghanistan.
    It was THEY who deregulated Wall Street and the banks. It was THEY who gave us the budget-busing Bush tax cuts. While the House, when dominated by the Dems before the election of 2010 passed sweeping legislation that would have righted many of the GOP wrongs, it was the Republicans who have, through their undemocratic abuse of the filibuster prevented any likewise action in the Senate. Yes, there are a few bad apple Dems who have helped the GOP in its hateful agenda, but the GOP/tea party and ther corporate masters who engineered this massive travesty.
    So don’t blame the Congress–blame the Republicans and VOTE THEM OUT as the people just did in the Sullivan County Legislature races.

  3. JasonPoggioli Says:

    Crazy idea, maybe, but definitely not silly.

    There’s no way a 9% approval rating has been earned by Republicans alone. It’s the collective Congress that has earned this universal disgust from the voting public. Democrats can list lots of issues against the Republicans, but it’s naive to think Republicans can’t do the same to Democrats and while we keep fighting over who is right the incumbents keep their jobs.

    Governing takes compromise so they can pass laws. That used to happen, but in today’s 24×7 media consumption the desperate attempts to grab a moment of your attention has created more polarized commentary than ever. This in turn creates a more polarized voting public which causes politicians to move further to the edges.

    Usually when voters talk about railing against “The Man” they talk about voting in third party candidates which never works. Probably because of the self-fulfilling prophecy that a third party candidate can never win a general election.

    But calling for a bloodless coup? Voting blindly and automatically against anyone who is currently holding office? Seems a lot more feasible and could really shake things up.

    Nine percent, guys. Nine percent.

  4. Jo Galante Cicale Says:

    My husband Alex is with u on this one. I have mixed feelings because we have an excellent Congressman who voted against wars and works for the taxpayers. I don’t want to replace him with a right winger who is so diametrically opposite my views. In essence, I’d be voting against my own important interests. I do hope others – lol – vote other their bums from both sides of the aisle.

    We also need to have the OWS protests GROW to show strength in numbers.

  5. Mary Makofske Says:

    I’m as digusted as the rest, but I can’t see voting all of them out. I considered the term limits idea, too, but that would lose some excellent, experienced lawmakers. We can support with our donations the ones we approve of, whether or not they represent us. But maybe it’s the system itself that is broken, not the individuals. Until we get those bribes (i.e. lobbying money) out of the system, I don’t think anyone we elect can function to our benefit.

  6. Maggie Says:

    Your silly argument is premised on the idea that everyone in Congress is equally at fault for what is going on. From my perspective, it is the Republicans who have blocked every initiative and attempt at compromise from both the White House and the democrats in Congress. So, yes, vote out all the Republicans and we could make some progress.

  7. Marshall Rubin Says:

    Jason is proposing a crap-shoot solution. Just put on the blindfolds and ask someone to guide your hand so that you can vote against the incumbant. I must amend my statement. Jason’s proposal isn’t silly, it’s stupid!!

  8. JasonPoggioli Says:

    I understand what Maggie and Marshall are saying – voting someone in that you don’t support can seem stupid at first.

    But how can you explain that with a 9% approval rating the vast majority of incumbents are going to waltz right back into office next year? How else do you all propose to make Congress more effective?

    Hyper-partisanship is what has brought us to a deadlocked government in the first place. Republicans and Democrats can only compromise if they aren’t worried about getting blindsided during their primaries. Have you seen how many moderate Republicans have been attacked from the right during their own primaries? Democrats get attacked from the far-left just as frequently.

    We need to wipe the slate clean and send a message that we want them to work together more than we want them to dig their heels in and get nothing done.

  9. Marshall Rubin Says:

    Just imagine what would happen if all voters took your advice, especially on the national level. Firstly we would get a new president: Gingrich, Romney, Cain, Bachmann…Can you imagine the disaster if any of those clowns are elected?
    The Senate would be run by the Republicans. All the horrific proposals that passed the House would come to fruition: abortion rights, gone–the EPA, gone-the Ryan budget becomes law meaning the end of Social Security and Medicare. More tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy–increased military spending, along with more war–more guns on the streets–the end of science education– the end of collective bargaining…..
    Although the Dems would take over the House, all too many of them would be willing to compromise away all effective government programs.
    Do you think that such a turn as you propose would have politicians ready to listen to the people?

    There are better ways to, in effect save or democracy. First, the Senate has to gain 60 liberal Democratic seats and abolish the filibuster. Second, impeach & convict Clarence Thomas, replace him with an enlightened Justice and let the Court reverse the Citizens United ruling. Then Congress should ban all corporate campaign donations and enact public campaign funding.

    That all may seem far-fetched, but is much more likly to happen than by voting out all incumbants!

  10. Jim Gilbert Says:

    Your argument cannot survive logical interpertation. Why does the congress have a nine percent approval rating? Could it be because every attempt to resolve the current economic catastrophy has resulted in outriight militant opposition, fillabusters, attempts to re-focus on such idiocy as deporting twelve million undocumented workers or establishing English as our official language or making it easy to legally carry a gun etc. etc. This insanity is perpertrated by Republicans. What you refer to as ‘hyper-partasanship’ is solely a Republican phenomenon. Democrts attempt compromise, Republicans don’t do compromise. This has been reflected in every attempt at bi-partasanship. I firmly believe that this Republican created fiasco is the principal reason for the nine percent approval rating. To suggest that both sides are responsible is akin to saying that black folks can be just as racist as white folks.

  11. JasonPoggioli Says:

    Jim, if 9% approval rating is even mostly because Americans think poorly of the Republican behavior then Democrats should have no problem sweeping 2012.

    I’m also pretty sure hyper-partisanship began with the 24×7 news cycle needing to claw its way above the din of noise it created by its very existence. An unending escalation pushing both liberals and conservatives further to each end.

    The Internet with its self-created echo-chamber doesn’t help the situation either. Whatever belief you may hold you now can find a thousand or more people in an Internet forum of your choice to reinforce it until you are capable of simultaneously believing Obama is a secret Muslim and the Christian pastor he regularly saw was anti-American.

    Politicians are all in it for themselves, just like anyone else. They’re looking to pander for your vote so they say and do what we want because we vote. I’m tired of each side moving further to the right and left and I want it to stop. So I say – vote them all out.

    Who would have thought being firmly in the middle would ever be considered “controversial”? Maybe I should start my own radio talk show.

  12. Jim Gilbert Says:

    The possibility of Democrats ‘having no problem sweeping 2012’ because of the antics of Republicans appears to have merit on the surface but falls apart when subjected to historical scrutiny. Consider Harry Truman’s mandate to intergrate the armed forces in 1950. If left to public opinion, not only would African Americans be segregated but so would Jews. In this case public oppinion was based on misinformation which led to hatred. The same dynamic is operative in the current Republican agenda. You reference some base line Republican beliefs as related to the decemination of misinformation. But where is the Democratic equivalent of – President Obama born in Kenya and being a practicing Muslim – corporate welfare reframed as job creation – climate change is a myth, etc. etc. Republicans promote this nonsense with the wholehearted support of billionaires. Again, where is the Democratic equivalent?
    In regard to the current Republican leadership, I will not belabor the well documented mischife of Michele Bachman, Nute Gingrich, Herman Cain or Rick Perry. They are a group of clowns who aparently do not consider hypocrisy a serious concept. Again, where is the Democratic equivalent?
    The Republican party has morphed into a hate group that serves the super rich. What ever happened to the legacy of Everett Dirkson and Jerry Ford?

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