Polls show Americans deeply dissatisfied with operations of their government – and particularly with Congress. So why then do we regularly re-elect nearly all of the same people? In 2012, 85% of all Senators and Representatives were returned to office and those who left Washington nearly all retired as a matter of choice, rather than getting voted out of office. Only one Senator – Scott Brown of Massachusetts – actually lost a bid for re-election.
Other countries regularly welcome fresh faces. In Israel, which also held 2012 elections, the majority of winning candidates for parliament were new – and 40% had never held public office before. There’s something wrong with an American system where approval ratings for Congress barely reach double digits, but voters instinctively select the same often tired, underachieving and uninspiring leaders to represent their interests.