The Founders of our nation and the Framers of our Constitution surely did not foresee the day when, of the federal government’s three branches, the public would have the least confidence in Congress. In fact, the public has a little less confidence in Congress than it has in HMOs. At anywhere between 14 and 19 percent, the fraction of Americans with a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress is the among the lowest in Gallup’s history of this measure – and the lowest of any of the 16 institutions tested in this year’s Confidence in Institutions survey. The Supreme Court received 53 percent confidence and the presidency of Donald J. Trump received 43 percent - which is higher than the last Republican president (GWB) but is still nothing to be proud of.
The 2020 congressional elections show that switching power between the two major political parties is an act of utter futility. We have a bipartisan failure of Congress to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities and serve the public. In the end, Democrats may have a different style, but just like their Republican counterparts, they are also corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent. Things have gotten so bad institutionally and culturally that we cannot vote our way out of a dysfunctional and destructive Congress as long as the two-party duopoly maintains its grip on our political system.
We no longer have a significant number of members of Congress that rise above partisan political priorities to put the good of the nation and the integrity of our Constitution first.
For our constitutional republic to really work Congress must have the courage and integrity to use its constitutional powers to safeguard Americans’ freedom, security, health, safety and welfare. Even the most distracted and cynical Americans now see Congress has done next to nothing to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.
Worst of all, Congress has allowed president after president to accumulate far more power than our Constitution permits. Even after years of arrogant disrespect by Bush, Obama, and Trump for our Constitution and Congress itself, Congress is too cowardly to do what they are supposed to do to maintain the structure of our federal government.
Add to this: the failure to protect the rule of law; the failure to control spending and reduce our debt; the failure to control our borders and protect our national sovereignty; the failure to stop the insane and never-ending Middle East wars; the failure to stop the many forms of corruption of Congress itself; the failure to restore public confidence in our elections; the failure to stop the excesses of globalization that is destroying our middle class; the failure to address rising economic inequality; the failure to fix our broken health care system; and so much more.
All this has resulted from repugnant runaway politics. Getting elected, grabbing power and enjoying the benefits of office trump governing. Hundreds of members of Congress - in the House and Senate - are mental midgets, embarrassing blowhards, chronic liars, outright crooks, corporate lackeys, and elderly buffoons. They are plutocracy protectors more than defenders of the republic. And too many that think they should be president.
So what can the vast majority of Americans without confidence in Congress do?
Put aside partisan views and stop re-electing members of Congress. Only a handful of incumbents deserve to be re-elected. A very few that never supported the endless wars and who do not use pork spending to reward their supporters.
Now is the time to elect independents and third-party candidates to Congress. When one objectively sees the utterly low quality of both Democratic and Republican members of Congress it becomes clear that even a random selection of ordinary Americans would probably do better. But we have thousands of independents and third party members with considerable civic and elective office experience that deserve the opportunity to restore our republic.