Vote House Republicans out

It is time to clean the House. In 2011 the Republicans gained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and in 2015 greatly increased their majority. They wanted to get the country moving in the right direction.  They were afraid of the changing leftward values and policies from health care to migration to gay rights that they had comfortably lived under for many years. The past two years they shoulda/ woulda/ coulda have worked with the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate to promote and pass a series of right-of-center alternatives to the Democrats and the Obama administration.

Instead they disagreed among themselves and created gridlock in the House which in turn created congressional gridlock. They got rid of Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) but Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year MORE (R-Wis.) is still not able fix the House and end the Republican’s internal gridlock. Both Speakers followed the so-called Hastert Rule, under which a bill will not be brought to the floor for a vote unless it had the support of the majority of the party, in this case half the Republican members in House. This meant the Speakers encountered barriers when trying to cut deals with centrist Democrats. It doesn’t matter if the Representatives are Republicans in Name Only (RINOs) or members of the Freedom Caucus, they just can’t work together, let alone govern.

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Oddly enough, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE is in line with the public on their views of Congress and Congressional Republicans. A July, 2016 Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found that just 11 percent of likely U.S. voters think Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Only 24 percent think their representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job.

A Gallup poll released on Oct. 12, 2016 found that Congress has just an 18 percent approval rate and that only 14 percent of Republicans approved of the job done by Congress. Given Trump’s slump in recent polls, Republicans running for Congress are beginning to distance  themselves from his presidential campaign and asking voters to elect them as a check on a Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonIntel Dem decries White House 'gag order' after Bannon testimony 'Total free-for-all' as Bannon clashes with Intel members Mellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) MORE administration. But if elected, the House Republicans are not likely to be any more successful in opposing Mrs. Clinton than they were opposing President Obama.

The solution is not to vote for any incumbent Republicans running for the U.S. House. However, thanks to redistricting based on the 2010 Census, most U.S. House districts are safe for Republicans. If, perchance, a Democrat is elected, the district will become competitive in 2018.

Harry Perlstadt, PhD, MPH is professor emeritus of Sociology at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.