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Tugger
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Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:40 pm

It is a simple questions that I have begun asking people if we get into discussions on the politics currently on going in the USA. Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents? And additionally do they represent only those that voted for them or do they represent all the constituents, even those that did not vote for them?

In my opinion they are supposed to work for their constituents and for all of them. That is what makes things work, that is why there is the saying that "All politics is local". It is why I disagree with single party rule (trying to everything only within your party/party members). Of course people nowadays are misinformed or mislead and believe that only one political party can be right, they believe "the other side" is wrong and increasingly the worst thing ever. And no one appears to be allowed to crossover or mix views (RINO's and BlueDogs?).

Of course political parties control a lot of money and party loyalty is often the defining factor for where the big money will go and which local market will face support or attacks from outside "big money". To me political "purity" is as much a disease as cancer, as much a failure as the concept of a "true Scotsman" (or "true Christian" or "true... whatever"). And yet people push and support that.

Thoughts?

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
cledaybuck
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:47 pm

It should be to their constituents and the country, but it sure doesn't seem that way.
 
DfwRevolution
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 2:58 pm

Tugger wrote:
It is a simple questions that I have begun asking people if we get into discussions on the politics currently on going in the USA. Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents? And additionally do they represent only those that voted for them or do they represent all the constituents, even those that did not vote for them?


It's a simple question, but it isn't a simple answer. The reality is that they have a duty to both. Elected officials owe their services to all constituents regardless of their political leanings. But, they owe their [ideological] loyalty to the majority that elected them and they have a duty to fulfill whatever campaign promises they made. It's impossible to make everyone happy in a democratic society.

[edit]
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seahawk
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:14 pm

After being elected only the country and the constitution should matter.
 
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Tugger
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:43 pm

DfwRevolution wrote:
Tugger wrote:
It is a simple questions that I have begun asking people if we get into discussions on the politics currently on going in the USA. Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents? And additionally do they represent only those that voted for them or do they represent all the constituents, even those that did not vote for them?


It's a simple question, but it isn't a simple answer. The reality is that they have a duty to both. Elected officials owe their services to all constituents regardless of their political leanings. But, they owe their [ideological] loyalty to the majority that elected them and they have a duty to fulfill whatever campaign promises they made. It's impossible to make everyone happy in a democratic society.

Yes, I do understand the complexity involved. Don't tow the line and you are at risk of being attacked, that is why the fringes have so much control in the parties.

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
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Tugger
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:09 pm

seahawk wrote:
After being elected only the country and the constitution should matter.

Gotta say I disagree with that. First however I will say that "the constitution" always matters but "only the country"? I firmly believe the idea of "all politics is local" and especially if the local people elected you then you should work for them and toward their goal. Not just "the countries goals".

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
tommy1808
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:16 pm

I'd say they neither. Their only duty is towards their consiousness. In a representative democracy we don't vote for automatons to vote as we please, but for persons that we think will represent the us well, and best case make the same decissions we would make in their shoes.
A representative should not vote for or against something if he can't do in good consiousness, because if he does stuff he feels is wrong because of some sense of duty, what limit is there on what he'd vote for, if someone makes that his duty in a compelling way?
They can not have duty towards the constitution, otherwise that could never be changed, as changing it doesn't really serve the existing constitution. They should be well grounded in it, but there are courts to stop them if they go to far.
Duty to party isn't required, because enough complacency is basically guaranteed by the win/win situation they are both looked in with each other. If they had duty towards the party, there wouldn't need to be direct mandates, that would dealt with by party lists. By having representatives elected directly instead of voting for parties, your founders have made pretty clear how much duty towards parties they saw, since they set up a system that makes disconsent possible without much consequence.

Best regards
Thomas
Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:56 pm

Tugger wrote:
seahawk wrote:
After being elected only the country and the constitution should matter.

Gotta say I disagree with that. First however I will say that "the constitution" always matters but "only the country"? I firmly believe the idea of "all politics is local" and especially if the local people elected you then you should work for them and toward their goal. Not just "the countries goals".

Tugg


I would not disagree
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 5:49 pm

Ideally, politicians should work in the best interest of the country, for all its citizens, not just the ones who elected them.

It does depend on the political system I guess. If you have been elected by a specific constitution / district, you would tend to more work towards their needs, instead of the need of the country, e.g. in Coalmine country, invest more in coal while this is bad for the country as a whole.
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DfwRevolution
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:30 pm

seahawk wrote:
After being elected only the country and the constitution should matter.


The only elected official who represents the whole country is the President. Your Congressman isn't elected to represent the whole country. He is elected to represent the people in your specific geographic district. He has no particular obligation to the district next door. Nancy Pelosi is dutifully representing her constituents when she advocates for carbon taxes even though that would be harmful to specific geographic areas and perhaps the country as a whole.
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ER757
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:46 pm

tommy1808 wrote:
I'd say they neither. Their only duty is towards their consiousness. In a representative democracy we don't vote for automatons to vote as we please, but for persons that we think will represent the us well, and best case make the same decissions we would make in their shoes.
A representative should not vote for or against something if he can't do in good consiousness, because if he does stuff he feels is wrong because of some sense of duty, what limit is there on what he'd vote for, if someone makes that his duty in a compelling way?
They can not have duty towards the constitution, otherwise that could never be changed, as changing it doesn't really serve the existing constitution. They should be well grounded in it, but there are courts to stop them if they go to far.
Duty to party isn't required, because enough complacency is basically guaranteed by the win/win situation they are both looked in with each other. If they had duty towards the party, there wouldn't need to be direct mandates, that would dealt with by party lists. By having representatives elected directly instead of voting for parties, your founders have made pretty clear how much duty towards parties they saw, since they set up a system that makes disconsent possible without much consequence.

Best regards
Thomas

If it's a "representative democracy" as you mention, then doesn't the elected official in fact have a duty to vote in line with the will of the people he represents? That could conflict at times with his conscious since his views may not align with his constituents' on all issues.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:47 pm

In France a National Assembly member is from wherever, but is a representative of the French people, not of his constituents or party. Moreover there is no imperative mandate : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperative_mandate

So basically the politician can do anything he wants (that is legal). And face the music at the next election.
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BobPatterson
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:04 pm

1. God
2. Nation
3. People

For God, substitute, if you wish, moral conscience, the highest values that you hold dear, the golden rule.

For Nation (in the USA) substitute the living Constitution, the rule of law.

For People, your constituents regardless of race, creed, etc., etc. Remember that the Nation embodies ALL people within its borders, and not just those who elected you. You represent the losing side also.
Facts are fragile things. Treat them with care. Sources are important. Alternative facts do not exist.
 
jetero
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:55 pm

In many jurisdictions, the problem will be that 49% of a politician's constituents didn't vote for him or her. Yet, politicians behave as if they were elected by mandate. Ted Cruz is one of my senators and I am confident he doesn't give a damn about most of my interests.

The above said, I will agree with DfwRevolution and say that it's impossible to make everyone happy. Would be nice if we could find some sort of non-ideological middle ground.
 
AirplaneWizard
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:09 pm

Theoretically from what I have learnt in my political science classes that I take for fun in college, a representative in the house is directly responsible to his constituents. On the other hand, senators are elected to decide what's best for their state through their own thinking and logic.

Based upon that logic, a representative is more inclined to do what most of his people that he represents want. A senator will be more inclined to follow his or her party because following the party ideologies is what they think is best for their people. Now obviously, you usually have some senators that don't necessarily agree with their party like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and also some on the Democratic side.

Believe it or not, but there were many democrats in the house who voted against Obamacare. This again supports the idea that house representatives will vote for what is right for the people they represent, but not necessarily in the senate.
 
jetero
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 12:23 am

AirplaneWizard wrote:
Theoretically from what I have learnt in my political science classes that I take for fun in college, a representative in the house is directly responsible to his constituents. On the other hand, senators are elected to decide what's best for their state through their own thinking and logic.


And to think, only a little more than 100 years ago, Senators weren't even elected by citizens.
 
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BobPatterson
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:52 am

jetero wrote:
AirplaneWizard wrote:
Theoretically from what I have learnt in my political science classes that I take for fun in college, a representative in the house is directly responsible to his constituents. On the other hand, senators are elected to decide what's best for their state through their own thinking and logic.


And to think, only a little more than 100 years ago, Senators weren't even elected by citizens.


My state, Maryland, was the first to elect a Senator under the 17th Amendment. A Democrat was elected with about 58% of the vote. The special election was to fill the vacancy created by the death in office of the previous Senator. One little complication involved the seat already having been filled by appointment (of a Republican) under the "old system," The Republican would not vacate the seat, claiming the right to hold it until a legislative term expired. The Senate had to kick him out and seat the newly elected man.

Although the 17th Amendment was ratified by 36 states and became part of the Constitution on April 8, 1913, Maryland itself did not ratify that Amendment until April 1, 2012 ! Other late ratifiers were Louisiana (1914), Alabama (2002), Delaware (2010) and Rhode Island (2014).

Utah rejected the Amendment in 1913, and several states have not ratified yet: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina or Virginia.

Hawaii and Alaska don't get to ratify it because they were not states at the time the matter came up.
Facts are fragile things. Treat them with care. Sources are important. Alternative facts do not exist.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:00 am

ER757 wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
I'd say they neither. Their only duty is towards their consiousness. In a representative democracy we don't vote for automatons to vote as we please, but for persons that we think will represent the us well, and best case make the same decissions we would make in their shoes.
A representative should not vote for or against something if he can't do in good consiousness, because if he does stuff he feels is wrong because of some sense of duty, what limit is there on what he'd vote for, if someone makes that his duty in a compelling way?
They can not have duty towards the constitution, otherwise that could never be changed, as changing it doesn't really serve the existing constitution. They should be well grounded in it, but there are courts to stop them if they go to far.
Duty to party isn't required, because enough complacency is basically guaranteed by the win/win situation they are both looked in with each other. If they had duty towards the party, there wouldn't need to be direct mandates, that would dealt with by party lists. By having representatives elected directly instead of voting for parties, your founders have made pretty clear how much duty towards parties they saw, since they set up a system that makes disconsent possible without much consequence.

Best regards
Thomas

If it's a "representative democracy" as you mention, then doesn't the elected official in fact have a duty to vote in line with the will of the people he represents? That could conflict at times with his conscious since his views may not align with his constituents' on all issues.


I'd say if a representative finds himself in a pinch like that, stepping down is the right thing to do, not voting against his own believes.

Best regards
Thomas
Times are changing: 70 years ago the USA went to war to defeat the Nazis, now they elect them to run their country.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:22 am

AirplaneWizard wrote:
Believe it or not, but there were many democrats in the house who voted against Obamacare. This again supports the idea that house representatives will vote for what is right for the people they represent, but not necessarily in the senate.


That's the optimistic view of things. The realistic view is that they're democrats in centrists/leaning GOP constituencies and don't want to lose next election.

An election every two years like in the US is very bad for this reason.
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Dutchy
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:43 am

jetero wrote:
In many jurisdictions, the problem will be that 49% of a politician's constituents didn't vote for him or her. Yet, politicians behave as if they were elected by mandate. Ted Cruz is one of my senators and I am confident he doesn't give a damn about most of my interests.

The above said, I will agree with DfwRevolution and say that it's impossible to make everyone happy. Would be nice if we could find some sort of non-ideological middle ground.


If you make 80% happy, you are doing a great job. Long term and short term.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
B777LRF
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:53 am

At a guess, one has to study the constitution/law of the country in question, to determine the answer. In my neck of the woods, politicians are only legally and constitutionally bound by their conscience when casting votes.
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bunumuring
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:24 am

Hey guys,
Here in Australia, I strongly believe that a politician is bound to their constituents. House of Reps MPs to their local electorate and Senators to their state.
However, like in other countries, it seems that many politicians lose this sense of duty or just pay it lip service once entrenched in the system, and the party comes first...
This is one of the reasons I am seriously considering getting involved in politics at a grass-roots level and seeing just where that journey may take me (and my ideals!!!).
Vote 1: Bunumuring for Minister for Aviation ... or for Defence ... or Foreign Affairs!!!
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KLDC10
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:44 pm

To add another angle to this; politicians are reliant upon the continued support of their party (financial and in terms of endorsements) each election cycle. If a politician angers his party enough that they finance a primary challenger, or else refuse to support him entirely, then he has little chance of achieving re-election. He might have a chance as an independent or party defector in Europe, but in the United States his career would be over. Put simply, the party expects that their elected members work (in general) for the good and advancement of said party.
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BestWestern
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:04 pm

Lobbyists are the number one constituency it seems.
Greetings from Hong Kong.... a subsidiary of China Inc.
 
AirplaneWizard
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:06 pm

Another thing that I remember from my classes is that, the incumbent senators have a massive advantage against whoever is running against them, because of all the resources their position entails them.

Congress's current approval rating is around 21%. It's highest approval rating in our lifetime was at 84% in October of 2001. It currently hovers around 10-23%. So based on this logic, most people do not think that congress is doing their job. However, they keep on voting their own senators over and over again. Incumbent senators have been re-elected 96% of the time. People have a perception that their senators are doing an amazing job while the senators of other states aren't.

You have some senators who have been a senator for more years than the number of years most of you have lived. Here are some examples from the current senators:

Patrick Leahy (D - Vermont) has been serving as a senator since 1975
Orin Hatch (R- Utah) since 1977
Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky) since 1985
John McCain (R- Arizona) since 1987
Diana Feinstein (D-California) since 1992

22 out of 100 senators have been serving since 2001 and before, 41 out of 100 since 2007 and before.... Also, let's not forget that many long serving senators have also retired in recent years.

Many people want to enact term limits for members of congress. Also, most members of Congress are millionaires. Think about it, it might be more worthwhile to be a senator and serve around 42 years than be a President for 8 years. Less stress, more influence and a better approval rating individually.
 
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einsteinboricua
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:12 pm

BobPatterson wrote:
Hawaii and Alaska don't get to ratify it because they were not states at the time the matter came up.

Technically speaking, they DID ratify it when they became states. They accepted the terms of Union (which meant accepting all the amendments that had been ratified). Now, it would be interesting to ask if they can vote on pending amendments...they're not officially a part of the Constitution, but what if they wanted to?
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csavel
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:30 pm

In the US a politician's duty is to his or her paymasters i.e. donors.Sure, it is *supposed* to be to constituents and countries, but get real. If elections were ended and there was just one gigantic auction for senators, representatives, and the president, it would be more honest and probably very little would change. Figure out what the asking price for a senator is. Perhaps even drive up the bidding. Would a senator from a big state be worth more than from a small one? Who knows?
I may be ugly. I may be an American. But don't call me an ugly American.
 
jetero
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:20 am

It could’ve all been over if it weren’t for those activist judges

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC
 
Bongodog1964
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:53 am

depends on the way elections are campaigned and run.

Here in the UK, parties select candidates for each constituency, the party then issues a national manifesto stating their policies for the next 5 years. My stance would be that as the MP agreed to seek election to represent the party and its manifesto, they should respect what is in it and their primary duty is to represent the nation as a whole.

Local politics however are different, even though the candidates still represent the political party, each candidate issues their own leaflets stating what issues they feel are the most important, in that case if elected they should stand by their own promises.
 
seb146
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Re: Is a politician's duty to their party or their constituents?

Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:26 pm

In a perfect world, an elected official should be obligated to serve those who elected her/him. However, with all the money they are given, their top priority is to those companies... oops... I mean people (because "corporations are people, my friend)... who give them the most money. And they usually do what the companies want but tell their constituents how and why that is best for everyone. Legal talk. That is probably why there are so many lawyers in Congress.
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