Congress Stays Put

I had a good, long chuckle on Sunday afternoon, when a poll from Rasmussen Reports was released, which showed that “57% Would Like To Replace Entire Congress.” 

My laugh became even louder when I read that back in October, 59% of those surveyed wanted to Throw The Bums Out.

Let’s see.  That was just before the November 2008 elections.  59% in this poll wanted an entirely new Congress.

What happened at the ballot box?

If memory serves me right, over 95% of the Congress was re-elected in that election.

As usual, the public says it can’t stand the Congress, and then voters proceed to re-elect most of those serving in the Congress.

Why does that happen?  One main reason is that the various state legislatures put together Congressional districts which are obviously skewed to one party or another.

In the end, there are very few districts which are really “in play” each year, as each party gets fairly safe seats in most states.

Think of the tools that could be deployed these days, with computers and mapping and much more, which could really spur the creation of competitive Congressional districts.

It would be pretty cool. 

But don’t hold your breath.

There’s a reason that we still talk about an early 19th century Governor from Massachusetts named Elbridge Gerry, who is actually one of only seven Vice Presidents to die in office.

Gerry came up with the “gerrymander” as we call it today.

Just as computers and mapping can create competitive districts, it can also probably cherry pick a block here and a block there to gerrymander things after the 2010 census.