Why America Re-Elects Unpopular Politicians
WASHINGTON, D.C. — It has become a never ending merry-go-round. As each election cycle comes and goes, if you work in Washington and want to keep your job, chances are you will. "If you ask people whether or not they want change they'll say sure, i want change but the charge they're looking for apparently is not in their own elected official," said Sarah Bryner of the Center for Responsive Politics. Lara Brown runs the political management program at George Washington University. "What you end up with is people making a distinction between all of Congress and the problem of everybody else versus my member who's actually doing a good job for me and for our district," said Brown. She says even members of Congress embattled in scandal are able to keep their jobs more than 70 percent of the time. Take Tennessee Congressman Scott Dejarlais, an outspoken pro-life advocate, just declared victory in his primary, despite cheating on his wife with a patient, and pressuring her to get an abortion. One reason for the safe seats are the ways the lines are drawn in congressional districts. In this country, people tend to live among like minded people, which means they often agree upon who they want to represent them in Washington. Brown says this also translates to what actually gets done. It's very easy to see people get upset about the general concept of special interests. They think about those special interests that they do not like, but they never think about those interests that are special to them. And while the long trend can be dizzying, there is a slight change afoot. For the first time ever, 51% of people just said they disapprove of their own member of Congress. We'll see how that translates in the midterm elections.