The Intercept and the Center for Media and Democracy have obtained fundraiser invitations for a number of GOP lawmakers who rejected calls to meet with constituents.
The President’s Day congressional recess is a period with no official work and designed for reconnecting with the folks back home. But after some early town halls drew hostile crowds, particularly inflamed by Trump administration policies on immigration and health care, more than 200 GOP lawmakers are skipping them instead.
Speaker Paul Ryan’s constituents in Wisconsin asked him for a town hall meeting during recess, but Ryan’s staff remained cagey about his whereabouts. The real reason he wasn’t hanging out back home in Janesville? Ryan prioritized meeting with wealthy contributors over constituents.
I don’t believe that this is just a GOP problem. But I do believe it is a problem.
These are our representatives, and while I understand the importance of donors, etc., it is high time our politicians started understanding the importance of their constituents, too. And this election should have been an eye opening experience for them. It wasn’t, considering that both presidential candidates thought they were and were seen as good choices and not just “the lesser evil” while the rest of the country didn’t agree with their assessment. Hillary Clinton’s entire voting base was on the coastal areas of the country. Everything in the middle of the country went to Donald Trump. Rural areas went to Trump. Why? Because she ignored prospective voters in those areas.
You cannot assume the people who voted for you before will vote for you again. You cannot assume the donors will get you back into office. As we saw in the presidential election, having more money in the war chest does not mean you get the seat.
The GOP politicians know that the people who like them won’t show up to town halls in large quantity. They do know the people who don’t like them – 90% of which never will – will show up in large quantity. And a lot of these town halls will end up as unproductive circuses with a lot of pearl clutching, screaming, name calling, and hours of pointless drawn out speeches by self important morons who are mad for the sake of being mad.
Too bad, buttercup. Go anyway.
One of the biggest complaints from the American public about their elected officials is that they don’t listen to us. Most of the time, they don’t even pretend to listen to us. They are highly out of touch with the average citizen. And they live in bubbles where they think they know what is best and they think they know what we want and they prefer media polls to tell them these things instead of actually talking to the people who voted for them, and especially the people who voted against them.
At some point, if you want those people to vote for you again or at all, you need to at least fake it. Show up at a town hall and take your beating. If nothing else, it will win you points with the people who voted for you the last time, because you made an effort to hear folks out, and they might check off your name next time whether they themselves showed up for the town hall or not. It is, in reality, part of your job. You are not our rulers, you are our employees, like it or not.