Dr. Eileen Lynch
25. Congressional Elections
What makes congressional elections so important to the political process?
In the textbook and in the video lesson we are reminded of all the occasions when presidents have been elected and the congress candidates “ride his coattails” into office.
In general terms, during a presidential election, the voter’s attention has been so thoroughly polarized that is difficult for the electorate to consider each item in the election separately. Instead, usually, the president’s party candidates for Congress get elected along with him.
A clear indication that voters actually take the time to meditate with more depth when are not being distracted by all the mud-slinging is the fact that usually, when the vote for Congress happens again mid-term of the presidential elections, the incumbents are often shuffled about or turned out office by the electorate.
Now, this process of Congress election is supremely important to the political process in our country, in that it helps to better express the democratic convictions of our nation.
There are two points of view concerning this. Some people believe it is extremely important for any president to have a sympathetic Congress on his side if he is to accomplish anything while in office. In that sense, it is true that because of party affiliations the president can act in a more expedient way when solving issues instead of finding himself mired in the muck of party ideology and beset by filibusters every time someone so much as sneezes in a more liberal or conservative manner than should be allowed. Also, in the process of law-making, the president doesn’t have to worry too much about cheeky senators adding, subtracting, changing and meddling with his law proposals, and he doesn’t have to break out his trusty veto pen as often.
The very same reasons give rise to the opinion that it hinders true democracy to have two branches of the government in cahoots. Supposedly, the reason why we have different branches of the government is so that each one of them watches over the other two and balances and checks their wanton steamrolling approach at getting their way. If two out of three branches are of the same opinion before the issues even come up, then who is supposed to be watching the watchers?
And one more thing that makes Congressional elections extremely important is the mere fact that these are the people chosen to represent each one of us in government. Every member of Congress is in fact advocating for a regional point of interest and making sure that not one American is ignored or disenfranchised in this country.
At least, that is the concept.
Democracy Under Pressure: An Introduction to the American System, 10th Edition, Milton C. Cummings, Jr., David Wise, Thomson