tainly will not resolve their main concerns, but what other options are available?
Whether it is through changing party control of Congress and of the state legislatures, supporting "outsider" (including Independent and minor-party) candidates, imposing term limits, acting as citizen legislators, or something else (see Craig 1993) -- we have reached the point at which, absent effective political leadership, people likely will continue doing whatever they can to keep elected officials on a short leash. Perhaps through a process of trial and error, some acceptable redress for our grievances will be found. And perhaps, along the way, more
citizens will realize that they have been part of the problem all along (e.g., for
expecting government to provide services that it cannot afford without additional
tax revenues, for being ill informed on many issues, for rewarding candidates
whose campaign appeals are simplistic and misleading) and act accordingly.
However, politics does not come with the assurance of complete satisfaction or
your money back. Unless and until our politicians decide to do the job they were
elected to do, the democratic impulse will remain strong -- and the future will
One example was the inability of House Republicans to pass a balanced-budget
amendment that would have required a 60 percent vote in Congress to enact future tax
A study of registered voters by Greenberg Research, Inc. also found that, among
Independents, the Republicans had an edge in "having people take greater responsibility"
(44 percent to 19 percent), "making America prosperous" (39 percent to 19 percent),
"insisting on moral standards, that people know right from wrong" (34 percent to 16 percent), "strengthening families" (31 percent to 20 percent), and "insisting on more discipline" (45 percent to 15 percent) -- though Democrats came out ahead in "respecting the
ordinary person" (35 percent to 19 percent), "openness to change and innovation" (38 percent to 25 percent), "respecting people's individual freedom" (37 percent to 29 percent),
"trying to make things better for people" (37 percent to 21 percent), and "understanding
the financial pressures on people and families" (39 percent to 21 percent; Democratic
Leadership Council 1994, pp. 49-50).
Perhaps surprisingly, the same exit poll cited by Ladd ( 1995, p. 16) found the partisan
composition of the electorate in 1994 (37 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican, 29
percent Independent) to be virtually unchanged from what it had been two years earlier
(37 percent, 35 percent, and 29 percent, respectively). The survey of registered voters conducted immediately after the election by Greenberg Research, Inc. produced a similar distribution: 36 percent Democrat (45 percent with leaners included), 34 percent Republican
(45 percent with leaners), and 29 percent Independent (9 percent pure Independent) -- as
well as statistically identical mean scores for the Republican Party (53 degrees, 50 among
Independents) and the Democratic Party (52 degrees, 49 among Independents; see Democratic Leadership Council 1994, pp. 33, 35) on "feeling thermometer" questions
comparable to those described in the Appendix to this book.
They can derive less comfort from the considerable diversity that exists within their
own ranks about how to respond to the changing political climate of the 1990s. President