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Outgoing Congress members EXPOSE shocking system

Published in Blog on May 07, 2024 by Jakob Fay

As recently as March 2021, Congress’s approval rating hit 36 percent, a lopsided (but forgivable) figure compared to its 61 percent disapproval rating. Certainly, a 61 negative over a 36 favorable ranking is not exactly what you’d call the mark of a “job well done,” but, looking back, we should have been tolerably pleased. It’s only been downhill since then for the nation’s Legislative Branch.

Since February of this year, Congress’s approval score has not been higher than an abysmal 15 percent, dropping, at times, as low as 12 percent. Meanwhile, its disapproval score has not dipped below 80 percent. Notably, in a nation where millions are disengaged from politics, a staggering supermajority still knows enough to perceive that Congress has utterly failed them.

So, what are we supposed to do about it? Well, while virtually everyone would agree with my first two paragraphs, no clear consensus exists about how to remedy the problem: Last year, Speaker Mike Johnson was too MAGA. Now, he isn’t MAGA enough. In October, when Johnson clinched the unenviable position of congressional ringleader, the political left in America brutalized him with a ceaseless string of merciless hit pieces—BREAKING: Mike Johnson reads the Bible! SHOCKING: Mike Johnson is faithful to his wife! Since then, they’ve passed that role onto the right—BREAKING: Mike Johnson is Kevin McCarthy 2.0! SHOCKING: Mike Johnson snubs renegade congresswoman from Georgia! Speaking of Ms. Greene, is she a stalwart defender of liberty, a lone bastion of reason in a sea of congressional ineptitude and corruption? Or is she a “Biden campaign punchline,” “a useful idiot,” with whom comparisons to Neville Chamberlain are unfair to Chamberlain? The X comments section debate continues! The same goes for Matt Gaetz, Nancy Mace, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar.

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In other words, the very people accused by some of breaking Congress are acclaimed by others for reputedly
saving it. But which is it? Are the radical, disruptive fringes responsible for a dysfunctional legislature, or are they simply perceived as radical in a systemically corrupt system? The American people cannot seem to agree—all we know is that Congress is in an utter disaster area in American politics.

The New York Times recently conducted a series of “exit interviews” with a dozen departing lawmakers in which they all but confirmed our worst suspicions about Congress.

When asked what one word they would use to describe the legislative branch, three answered “dysfunctional,” two “chaotic,” and two “challenging.” Other responses included “difficult,” “tense,” “potential” (“the institution right now is punching below its weight,” said Rep. Derek Kilmer), “misunderstood,” and “broken.”

Confronted with allegations of corruption, a few denied the charges, while several more cited serious concerns about the “tsunami of money that comes in from special interest groups”—“a form of corruption, there’s no question about it.”

“I was told, at the beginning,” said Rep. Ken Buck, “I had to raise $250,000 if I wanted to be on certain committees, and if I wanted to be on more important committees or committees with broader jurisdiction, I needed to raise even more money. Buying a committee seat is not something that most Americans know that members of Congress have to do.”

“The number of times… I heard one of my colleagues say, ‘You know, I agree with you on that, but I could never vote that way because of my fear of a primary’ is concerning,” noted Kilmer.

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Despite delivering these damning answers, however, many members still appeared to cling to a disproportionately favorable view of Congress, one that starkly contrasted with the views of their constituents. This disparity may contribute to the pervasive disillusionment with Congress, as we've lost confidence in our elected officials’ willingness to try and mend the system. Past congresses have let us down, yet we've held onto the hope that the situation would eventually improve if we just elected the “right people.” Now, after numerous failed attempts, we've finally relinquished the illusion that Congress can be salvaged from within.

“What worries me most,” said Buck, “is I’m not giving my grandkids the same country that my parents gave me…. We can’t sustain $34 trillion of debt. Right now, the incentive is to spend all the money that we don’t have [and] put the burden on our grandchildren….”

“We have no spending discipline,” he added, invoking one of many largely unaddressed issues.

But regardless of whether your primary concern is the national debt, the influence of dark money, fringe radicals hijacking the institution, or senators sporting unceremonious shorts and hoodies, Congress shows no sign of course correction soon. Thankfully, we do not have to wait for them to make that change.

With an Article V convention, you and I can impose fiscal restraints, term limits, and other checks and balances on the federal government through an ingenious mechanism for constitutional reform provided to us by our Founding Fathers. At this point, we have only two options left. Either we watch and complain as our national legislature further descends into chaos and dysfunction, or we do something about it. Recent political history teaches us that “electing the right people” won’t be enough; it’s time for an Article V convention.

To support the nationwide bipartisan grassroots efforts to rein in Washington, D.C., sign the Convention of States petition below.

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