An axiom of American politics is citizens that dislike Congress but not their congressman.
That maxim is reflected both in a new Associated Press-GfK poll and in the result of last week's primary.
The poll findings largely focus on citizens’ dislike for Congress. Those finding include:
- Only 28 percent of Americans believe the nation is heading in the right direction.
- A mere 13 percent of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job.
- Neither political party is trusted much to manage government, with 27 percent indicating little faith in Republicans and 24 percent in Democrats.
- Overall, 36 percent want their own member of Congress re-elected, while 62 percent favor someone else.
- Among Americans who identify themselves as highly likely to vote this fall, 43 percent would like to see their representative in Congress re-elected.
The poll indicates Americans are frustrated by politics, which may prompt them to become disengaged, a notion reinforced by Missouri’s dismal statewide voter turnout, which failed to attain 25 percent.
Nevertheless, the second part of the axiom — people like their own congressman — also is supported by the primary results.
In Missouri, all eight incumbents in the U.S. House advanced, including three who faced no primary opponent.
An additional ingredient to be considered — one we highlighted after the filing deadline — is the obvious dearth of candidates for public office.
In this forum on April 8, two political science professors addressed some of the political and financial hurdles that cause prospective candidates to say “why bother?”
This “why-bother?” attitude is becoming an epidemic, infusing and paralyzing the American electorate.
Indicators show we are in a political tailspin.
Faith in government is plummeting and our reaction, disengagement and apathy, will not avert political calamity.
Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.