Letter to the Editor: You can’t keep complaining about Congress while voting them right back in

Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani and Republican incumbent Congressman Chris Stewart during a congressional debate with at Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Sept. 17, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

OPINION — Einstein reportedly once said that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.” By that definition, there has been an apparent ongoing pattern of mass voter insanity.

Polls consistently show that Congress has an incredibly low public approval rating, and that most voters recognize that Congress is increasingly incapable of solving basic problems that threaten our democracy and citizens.

Nevertheless, most of these poll respondents have continued to re-elect their incumbent members of Congress. These voters should not complain to pollsters about a corrupt and dysfunctional Congress when they keep the same incumbents in power year-after-year.

I believe that our local Congressional race, between incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Stewart and his Democratic challenger Shireen Ghorbani, is an appropriate example.

To evaluate incumbents, you follow their votes and where they get their campaign money.

FiveThirtyEight analyzed the voting records of congressional incumbents to determine their “Trump Score” – how often they vote in line with President Trump’s positions. Rep. Stewart scored 94.4 percent, meaning that he generally voted in lock-step with what Trump wanted.

Open Secrets has a detailed searchable web site that explains where incumbents get their campaign funds. Rep. Stewart got the vast majority of his campaign funds from wealthy corporations and individuals, many involved in fossil fuel development. Only 3.55 percent of his funds were from small donations (under $200). In stark contrast, Ms. Ghorbani got over half of her funds from small donations.

Rep. Stewart voted for the massive tax cut that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest corporations and individuals, while exploding the already huge federal deficit. During the one public debate, Rep. Stewart said that he was independent and sometimes disagrees with Trump. but his voting record shows otherwise.

He also unconditionally supported the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline even through the public has not yet seen the required Draft Environmental Impact Statement that evaluates alternatives and costs.

Ms. Ghorbani has properly questioned Rep. Stewart’s votes on these matters, and she said that it is premature to take a position on the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline until information on the alternatives and costs is available.

By his actions and major campaign funders, Rep. Stewart has shown that he consistently represents Trump and the wealthiest corporations and individuals. Ms. Ghorbani has bona fide grassroots support and is willing to actually vote against Trump and the wealthy when they threaten to harm her constituents or go against the national interest.

The choice is clear. I hope that most voters will stop their lemming-like insanity of endlessly re-electing incumbents and then complaining about Congress. It’s time for voters to walk their talk about wanting a less corrupt and more functional Congress by voting for meaningful change, such as for challengers like Ms. Ghorbani..

Submitted by RICHARD SPOTTS, St. George, Utah.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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10 Comments

  • Carpe Diem October 20, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    We are somewhat trapped in our … program. I think that nothing much will happen until the debt gets to the point of BK.
    Ed. Ellipsis.

  • chris keele October 20, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    While I would agree with Mr. Spotts opinion article about our tendency to continuing to vote for the incumbent, and then complain about Congress not accomplishing as much as we would like, I ( unlike Mr. Spotts) don’t have a problem with Congressman Stewart really, the fact that he has voted with President Trump 94% of the time is not a problem with me because I like President Trump, and I like Congressman Stewart, I have talked with the Congressman several times and find him to be a good, patriotic, straight talking, dependable citizen, I think that when you send most elected people to Washington D.C. it is frustrating for the voting electorate because the rookie politician has to learn how to conform to the way things are on Capital hill, it took many decades for a lot of them that have become so corrupt and it will take a long time as well to ( clean the system out ), so to speak. All we can do is stay engaged and go vote.

  • tazzman October 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Stewart actually replies to my email inquiries. He listens. He has my vote.

    • friedmoderate October 21, 2018 at 11:33 am

      That’s the bar? Does nothing in the article give you any pause? (genuinely wondering) Politics aside, if we want money out of campaigns it has to start with us not supporting anyone who has been heavily funded by corporations.

  • jpff October 20, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    It is not just the person, Mr. Spotts. Utah is generally conservative in nature, and the Republican platform falls more closely to what the voters in this state want. Most of us would have difficulty voting for someone who would support items on the Democratic platform, such as allowing late-term abortions, legalizing the open use of marijuana, opening the borders and forcing our society to speak the language of those entering our country, allowing fully functional young men in middle school to shower next to our grand daughters, forcing bakers with religious values to go totally against all they believe in, etc. Some of us do not really like Mr. Stewart, but we prefer him because Ms. Ghorbani is part of a platform that is more liberal than many in our state can accept.Things may change, but, for now, you live in a state that chooses the person who want to preserve the more traditional values they believe in. There are many great beliefs in the Democratic platform, but we would have to also endorse the items that go totally against some of our deepest values.

  • commonsense October 20, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Women Democrats in Congress are so looney that I can’t support another one. Really Democrats don’t have much to run on:, higher taxes, open borders, late pregnancy abortion. protest and obstruction. This state is the epitome of fiscal responsibility and sensible politics. Democrats really don’t represent our values.

  • jaltair October 20, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Most vote for their political beliefs and conscience. Gov works slowly, that’s how it seems like nothing gets done. The divide between right and left has grown tremendously and that isn’t helping. There is no simple solution. Vote right or left … the I between never makes it in and frequently splits the conservative or liberal votes.

    I was Democrat who left that party during Clinton’s 2nd term for independant waters. I am quite happy with Trump’s approach. Our country is returning to what it was before Obama started apologizing for our country’s greatness. Jobs, less unemployment, more strict about borders, etc, etc.

    I may not like the political payoffs by big corporations, campaign finance reform is needed. Big chance of that, the politicians like their money-lined jackets too much.

    Our system is far from perfect and right now I see the US as a fragile and vulnerable people at a crossroad. We could lose what we value in this country so easily by a wrong turn. I see going left right now a drive that would soon abolish the greatness of this country again and drive us the way of a banana republic with total mob rule. We would lose our Republic Democracy.

  • Not_So_Much October 21, 2018 at 7:54 am

    Tim Aalders for US Senate, a constitutional conservative who lives in Utah.

  • Blaine October 21, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Mt. Spotts did a fine job of listing some of the reasons I voted for Chris Stewart.

  • Mike P October 21, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    The headline for this article says it all

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