Only One-Third of Americans Polled Want Incumbents Returned to Congress

A new poll shows just how dissatisfied voters are with both parties: only a third of voters want their incumbents returned to Congress. The question is whether voters are ready to change the system — rather than just change the members.

I previously ran a column on reforms of the political system that go beyond campaign finance, here. I also discussed various proposed reforms on NPR with Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig in this segment.

A poll found 63 percent were in favor of throwing out their incumbents. However, while throwing out incumbents are a good idea, they are the product of a system designed to protect not just incumbents but the two-party duopoly that is strangling the life out of this country. We need to harness this anger and direct it to a more productive end, including possible constitutional amendments.

For the full story, click here.

17 thoughts on “Only One-Third of Americans Polled Want Incumbents Returned to Congress”

  1. The Washington Post is running an article entitled, “Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama?” that suggests that Barack Obama has the qualities that make him well suited to be a Supreme Court justice.

    “Barack Obama is best suited to be: ” and asks you to select one of four choices — President; Senator; Supreme Court Justice; and None of the above.

    As of this post, a little over 2000 have voted with 90% voting none of the above.

    Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama?

    By Jeffrey Rosen
    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    He’s too detached and cerebral. Too deferential to Congress. Too willing to compromise. And he’s too much of a law professor and not enough of a commander in chief, as Sarah Palin recently admonished.

  2. It is very unusual for a conservative to be for public financing of anything except pet projects in their own states. How many republicans voted for McCain Feingold?

  3. SM,

    I don’t care what level we are supposed to be talking about. I’m interested in how you came to the conclusion that “you conservatives” are against public campaign financing.

    I fully support public campaign financing.

    69% of Democrats, 72% of Republicans, and 60% of independents favor it.

    Did you just think the conservatives are against it? Or were you relying on a reliable source?

  4. Duh I thought we were discussing getting ordinary citizens elected to congress.

  5. SM said “Also since most of you conservatives are against federal financing, how do expect to get ordinary citizens elected?”

    Would you care to support that statement? I really like the “you conservatives” part.

    Can you tell me who said they were going to use public financing in the last presidential election? Who did use it, and who backed out of using it?

  6. Byron they do go back to the private sector. They go to “K Street”. Also since most of you conservatives are against federal financing, how do expect to get ordinary citizens elected?

  7. Mespo:

    I don’t think people are angry, disgusted yes, angry not so much.

    Most of congress comes to DC and becomes corrupted by the system. It doesn’t matter the party. There are a few statesmen but I think the majority are nothing more than high school class presidents that couldn’t get a job in the private sector or at least keep it for any length of time.

    We need to go back to the old model, work in the private sector for awhile then go to Washington and serve your constituents for a few years and then back to the private sector. We have too many elected representatives making full time jobs/careers of elected office. And some have sons and daughters taking their seats once they retire. Our own hereditary posts.

    The entire system has been corrupted, the swamp needs to be drained and the garbage at the bottom thrown out. We need to re-seed with people that will read and follow the constitution. I think it also time to start electing the butcher and the baker and the small business owner, the accountant, scientist and physical therapist and rely less on lawyers to represent us. A good many who have been educated beyond their ability to understand the Constitution.

  8. I find that angry people make anger-filled decisions that they later regret. Why not stop the childish tantrums, calm down, and use our powers of reason to fix the mess. It’s not like we haven’t been through this before.

  9. Blue Dogs or Red Dogs know who they are supposed to. Some very good people are voted out of office just because of the I status. With some as the way that Judges are appointed to fill an unexpired term will have it placed on the ballot Judge non incumbent. Which is just as confusing.

  10. Ay You are right about the designation “I” being taken away. Many blue dog democrats will be voted out and replaced by a right wing republican just because the democrat is an incumbent. Even John McCain is being challenged from the right. He could lose in the primary because he is an incumbent. Your idea would force people to actually look at the candidates records rather than just voting for the non incumbent. It won’t happen though.

  11. “We need to harness this anger and direct it to a more productive end, including possible constitutional amendments.” (JT)

    I and every single good friend I have plus nearly every one of my acquaintances are primed and ready for constitutional amendments that address the problems as defined in your writings. We are ready for the debates, for the years it will take, and for the votes.

  12. I think that at this time the designation “I” for Incumbent should be taken away from the ballot. I have read this same news report and when it gets down to the skinny, W and the GOP are still blamed for the economy by about 72% of all people polled, with a margin of error of 3%. Statistically speaking of course. Figures don’t lie its the people interpreting the figures that do.

  13. Byron,

    Three different forms of government, Russian, American, and Italian seem to be helpless to stop our greatest common enemies and appear to be tea baggers behind closed doors.

    It may very well be that incompetence to handle major issues is the one thing world governments have in common. I fear that they will build arks for themselves a la the movie 2012, leaving their citizens to themselves.

    Thus the disappointment with incumbents Professor Turley has blogged about.

  14. Dredd:

    Interesting, the reason it took about 1,500 years to discredit Galen on human anatomy? Science seems to have gotten away from group think to a certain degree. Maybe political philosophers need to adopt a similar skepticism about the nature of government and it’s interaction with society. Maybe big government isn’t a good thing, maybe government regulation does hamper prosperity. Maybe big government arguments have become ingrained in our “collective” mind.

  15. the Constitution is very good as written, it needs no amendments at this time. Just follow the original intent of the founders and things will work out very well. Our problem is too many “smart” people trying to manipulate the Constitution to their own views. The Constitution is not a document for social engineering.

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