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American Disapproval of Congress

  • Date Submitted: 06/03/2013 11:21 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 32.2 
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The American Public’s Disapproval of Congress

It is widely accepted among political scientists that the American public commonly holds Congress in contempt and criticizes their every action. The people often feel disconnected from their local representatives and Senators and find it easy to blame them for anything they believe stems from their legislative choices. The cause for such misplaced disapproval, however, is difficult to isolate meaning this phenomenon is open for interpretation.
The articles by Hibbing & Morse (Ch. 1), Brady & Theriault (Ch. 2), and Stimson (Ch.3) all examine different explanations as to why the American public blatantly disapproves of Congress. Hibbing & Morse argue that the public dislikes Congress’s transparency and the actual process of government. Brady & Theriault claim that the controversial decisions made by the political elite cause mass disapproval. Finally, Stimson postulates that approval of Congress is directly tied to public’s judgment of the country‘s prosperity.
There are, however, a few similarities among the three articles that aim to explain why the American public dislikes Congress. First, all three articles are generally in agreement that the American people make decisions based upon the little information that they know about the legislative process. As Brady & Theriault point out, “a more informed, educated American citizenry would not evaluate Congress as poorly as it does.” Each article bases their research on the public’s knowledge of the government and they each recognize that the public understands very little, leading them to confuse informed discussion for ‘haggling and bickering’ (Hibbing & Morse). Additionally, each author acknowledges that national outcomes are a major element in determining Congress’s approval. That is to say, positive results generally yield support and negative results almost always generate dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, each article takes a different approach that attempts to...


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