Why Listen to the People?
The foundation of the American government, going back to the Founders, is that Members of Congress should listen to and be influenced by “We the People.”
Members of Congress should not just pay attention to people who make campaign contributions, to people of their own party, or to the politically connected. They should listen to the views of all the people they represent.
Extensive research has shown that If Members of Congress would listen to the people more, they would be more likely to break through partisan gridlock, find common ground, and rebuild their constituent’s trust in democracy.
If people believe their Congressional representatives are really listening to them, research shows that citizens will be more motivated to engage in public affairs, and this will result in a healthier democracy.
How can Members build trust with their constituents?
- Make a visible pledge to listen to the people
- Follow through by engaging with new methods for consulting representative samples of constituents
- Take the people’s views into account.
Compelling research says that voters will respond favorably to candidates who make such a pledge and follow through on it, with significant numbers even saying they would be ready to cross party lines to vote for candidates who do.