Unfortunately, this understanding that Congress is totally dysfunctional doesn't seem to come with the understanding that one party is to blame for this dysfunction.
It's not really a crisis of confidence. It doesn't matter what people think of Congress in general, only what they think of their local representative or senator. This number could drop to zero and it still wouldn't matter.
Current level of approval = Congressmen themselves + their relatives + their friends + the survey's margin of error
One party can certainly lay claim to a vastly larger share of that blame, but it seems to me you're no different from the worst Republican die-hard if you think that your party has a spotless record.
Unless the public suddenly decides to do something like have the states call a Constitutional Convention and use it to replace Congress with some other legislative body, approval ratings for the institution as a whole doesn't matter much.
So, what you're implying is that people are finally starting to understand politics?
I think the public opinion of Congress is a reflection of the public's opinion of society in general. The majority of people find that their Representative's platform matches their ideals, that's how they get elected. It's everyone else, and their stupid wrong ideas, and their Congressman standing up for their stupid wrong ideas that are the problem.
Nobody I vote for ever gets elected, though!
Well, OK, Chris Coons, but he's been a huge disappointment.
Apparently adding a bunch of moronic tea baggers into the mix didn't help the situation. Who knew?
Agreed, but as far as the absolute dysfunction goes, I think we can put that squarely on the obstructionist Republicans who have brought forth record filibusters and obstructionism during this time of record low public opinion.
The sad thing is the obstructionism really works in the favor of the status quo DINOs and bluedogs who can very conveniently pass the blame for their inaction on the other side. That way they can pander to the public while still pleasing their corporatist masters.
I'm still looking forward to the day when for the first time in modern American history we can at least muster the resolve to have two consecutive Democratic administrations in a row and get enough Republicans out of the House and Senate so we can stop the ping-pong blame game and help usher in liberal Democrats and eventually a left wing third party.
I really don't think many Americans realize we've never even tried this in modern history... at all.
All we do is keep at short term, knee-jerk reactionary swings that keep the corporatist right firmly in power over the rest of us.
vs. long-term strategy:
Then again, this has been addressed in this bbs before...
Plan to raise approval ratings of Congress: merge with Comcast.
We like to refer to numbers like this as "Areas of Opportunity," it helps morale...
When corporate donations become more important than votes, these guys are not really working for the voter any more. Democrat, Republican, the money comes from the same place. Congress is functioning exactly as its owners want it to, so in that sense there's nothing to see here. There's only a problem if you think the electorate should have a say.
Public opinion of congress is at a low if you ask people "What do you think of Congress?"
Public opinion of congress is at around 80-90% if you ask local residents of every congressional district "What do you think of your congress critters?"
So everyone thinks Congress sucks, but it's the OTHER guys that make it suck. Not their guys.
So who do you want in 2016? Clinton? Warren? Gore? Franken? Biden? Kucinich? Sanders?
Comment of the week, 31 July 2015
Edit: You asked who I wanted. At least lucifer could come around and do some desperately needed housecleaning up here and take the dirt down with him. I know I'm not going to get who I want, but out of the bunch you offered, I'd want Sanders.
But, all I think I'll get is what I need and that's hopefully a lesser evil Democrat that has weaknesses I can exploit as apposed to greater evil that can thwart progression at nearly every turn.
Why (or why not) to vote for Bernie Sanders
At some point, the conservative environmentalists (they exist but they don't identify as such yet, so long as there isn't a visibly corporate institution for conservative environmentalism) will form up and the R designation will trumpet their new identity.
They need a transnational crisis though, something like the collapse of oceanfront real-estate values. To some extent it will seem as though the new Rs will form up to the left of the Ds, but the psychology won't change. Welcome the new Republican Terror. Or not. Either way, it's on the way. The dead-enders of the old world will beg for martyrdom, but New-Edmund-Burke will have a much harder time recording that martyrdom.
I didn't think it was possible, but the US Congress has managed to be even less popular than Brian Mulroney's government was at the end of his regime.