Cowardice and Corruption by Politicians Define the ‘Swamp,’ According to New Public Affairs Poll

Image of the capitol illustrates story about Washington as a swamp
credit: Bloomberg
A new Public Affairs Council/Morning Consult poll examines what outrages people most about Washington politics, whether President Trump’s critical tweets change opinions, and how White House policies have affected American businesses.

Among the findings:

• Of the 10 factors rated for contributing to the Washington, D.C., “swamp,” the top four are specific to politicians: politicians too concerned about getting re-elected (72%), politicians using their influence to make money for themselves or their families (69%), intense partisanship (68%) and politicians spending too much time raising money for their campaigns (62%).

• Republicans and Democrats polled found common ground in their frustrations. Seventy-two percent of Republicans and 75% of Democrats blame politicians who put getting re-elected ahead of acting on their principles. Corruption concerns both groups as well, specifically when it comes to using power and influence to make money while in government. Seventy-three percent of Democrats and 67% of Republicans said this is a major problem.

• The two factors on the list considered least problematic were the use of PACs by companies, nonprofits and unions to support candidates (39% concerned); and the fact that not enough good people want to go into politics (48% concerned).

View the full survey results here: pac.org/pulse

More People Are Paying Attention to Politics

58%

Pew Research: “Nearly six-in-ten women (58%) say they are paying increased attention to politics since Trump’s election, compared with 46% of men. Overall, more Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents than Republicans and Republican leaners say they have become more attentive to politics. But there are similarly wide gender gaps in heightened interest to politics among members of both parties.” Also interesting: “Most people (59%) say it is ‘stressful and frustrating’ to talk about politics with people who have a different opinion of Trump than they do; just 35% find such conversations ‘interesting and informative.’”

The ‘Secret’ WikiLeaks Revealed About Clinton

In the midst of our bountiful October harvest of Trump grotesqueries, the Russians and Julian Assange organized a WikiLeaks dump of private emails from the Clinton campaign. These revealed a shocking and scandalous fact about the former Secretary of State: she is a politician. Indeed, the documents represent one of the most reassuring moments of this calamitous campaign. The overwhelming impression is of the candidate’s and her staff’s competence and sanity–and something more: a refreshing sense of reality about the vagaries of politics.

— Joe Klein, in Time.

How Space Travel Puts Politics in Perspective

You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the Moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch’.

— Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, who died Feb. 4 at age 85, quoted by Space Flight Insider.

2016 Could Lead to Major Political Realignment

On this all can agree: Strange happenings are afoot in the 2016 presidential cycle, the kind that leave experts scratching their heads. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, talk of a third-party run—we’ve never seen anything quite like it, right? … Except that we have. It happened in 1968, and if you are seeking precedents for this cycle, that year’s momentous presidential election is a good place to look. Here’s something further to consider: The 1968 race so shook up the political system that we’re still feeling its aftershocks today, more than a generation later. There is at least a chance this year’s race could become a similarly realigning campaign.

The Wall Street Journal

Millennials Have Checked Out of U.S. Politics

Whether it is entertainment, consumer goods or almost anything else that can be purchased, viewed or clicked on, Millennials are the most coveted demographic. There are about 80 million Americans between the ages of 18-34 and next year they are expected to spend $2.45 trillion. But when it comes to politics and national policy they have relatively little clout because most of them don’t reliably vote and aren’t major political contributors. These young adults have voluntarily checked out of a political system they consider corrupt and dysfunctional.

— Linda Killian, writing in the Daily Beast.

Candidate Lies Like a Dog Then Says Media ‘Ambushed’ Him

I am who I am. I don’t think my educational history or my age or voter registration has anything to do with what I’m trying to do in this city. … This is my first rodeo, and I’m disappointed that the media are bringing me down.

— Embattled Laguna Beach City Council candidate Jon Madison, claiming he is being “ambushed” over evidence that he falsified his age, educational and work histories on his campaign website, the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot reports.

Warren: ‘Washington Actually Works Really Well’

I think Washington actually works really well for those who have lots of money, lots of lobbyists, lots of lawyers,” she said in a First Draft interview. “It just doesn’t work very well for regular families.

— Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in a First Draft interview, says she thinks the deck is stacked against ordinary Americans in the way Washington does business.