After the Parkland shooting, a new energy has been given to the movement for gun control. The victims are speaking out and actively pursuing new action for gun control. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows 97 percent of support for universal background checks and 67 percent advocating for an assault weapon ban. The problem is that Congress and other legislative bodies do not follow these popular positions, and only 17 percent of people believe that Congress has done enough on gun control. And there's a tangible reason behind its inactivity.
Congress has not moved to make a sweeping background check law to aid those who have mental issues from obtaining one, nor have the banned assault rifles. Even on a state level, Florida failed to pass any gun control legislation while the students from Parkland watched the results of their votes. Only now have they finally passed legislation after so much criticism, naming the legislation the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
But even then, there has been no action on the national level in Congress. There's a strong disconnect between what the people believe and what our politicians are doing. This presents a massive issue.
So, why are politicians not standing up for what the people want?
If you look at those who lead our nation, you begin to see trends. Trump has received nearly one million dollars dollars in favor of guns and only $2,000 for gun control. As far as Congress goes, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio receive the most money from the gun lobby. These donations are more than some workers will ever see in a year and several years, maybe even decades worth of income combined.
Gun control isn't even the only issue affected by this. Health care, climate issues and other economic issues are held hostage by money in politics. Money in politics limits the perspective of politicians and there is only the one position they are willing to argue for rather than considering the actual opinions of their constituents. Politicians could even consider other systems for, let's say, healthcare. I would expect them to do research and come to the best conclusion for America at the very least.
Some politicians don't even go to their districts to hold town halls for several years, living and working in Washington, accepting money from people nowhere near their district. How can those voters be expected to be represented by their representatives? Surely they cannot expect the politician to vote in the people's interests? This affects both sides easily.
Both parties are ignoring their constituents, but in different ways...
The Democratic constituency knows exactly what they want, but the Democratic Party does not want to go with their wishes. Most Democrats support a universal health care system or increased socialized medicine, but most Democrats in Congress do not support the Medicare For All bill. Most Democrats (and people in general) want a raised minimum wage, but Democrats in Congress will not fight for it.
This also happened with Obamacare, as most of the population wants more than Obamacare, but the fight began from the center, not the left. The Overton window shifts, what is considered politically normal, even more to the right, making politicians want to run more to the right, believing that is what their constituency wants. Run like a progressive, be a progressive and fight like a progressive, and don't start compromising from the center.
Republicans on the other hand, have tapped in to their constituency more, but they are more prone to lie or not keeping their promises. Trump connected with people, no matter the language he used to connect with them. He advocated some legitimately populist ideas, which helped those on the edge to vote for him. But to say he is keeping his promises is reaching too far. He did pass a tax plan, but soon enough, working-class people will realize that their taxes will increase after a couple of years.
The tax plan cuts the budget which leaves promises for social security, infrastructure and yes, the wall, without any money to be funded, without creating a deficit. The Republicans have not passed a new healthcare bill even though they have a majority in places where they count. Neither have they fought on more popular issues in the Republican Party and passed laws for those issues.
While the Democrats might outright reject their voters' opinions, Republicans agree with them and do the complete opposite behind their backs. All of this is for their donors. While they could be voted out, it may be hard for them to be voted out if the base is not informed. If one candidate has more money and can afford a bigger campaign and advertisement effort, then they may win the election, even if the other candidate is more principled.
Here's one solution to nip this issue in the bud.
We need to ban Super PACs and corporate donations by voting in congressmen who will be willing to accept no corporate donations, such as Beto O'Rourke and Amy Vilela. Unfortunately in my state, there aren't many candidates running on positions such as these.
This will allow for a more varied set of candidates. It may even set the path for new political parties. Hopefully, it will end the "better of two evils" system that occurred during 2016 and in many other elections before that. People should be able to vote for people who will actually represent their ideas and views.
There are resources that inform you about your legislators and their donations and their opponents and their donations, in places such as The Center For Responsive Politics' Open Secrets website. It is now easier than ever to search for a candidate who suits your interests and supports them. So if you want to change policy, it needs to be done from the ground up.