Thursday, January 06, 2011

The New Congress

Freshmen Congressmen of the 112th Congress
We often cry about the bad news about government, and there has been a lot to cry about in the last several years. But with this 112th Congress there is good news. We saw some significant things happen in the mid-term election.

We now have in the US House of Representatives the most pro-Life Congress since 1973's Roe v. Wade ruling and the most pro-Israel Congress in US History.

The 2010 mid-term election was record-breaking for conservative Christian turnout, and voters carried their values with them when they voted. 
  • 13 of the 16 new freshman US Senators – or 81% – are pro-life
  • 81 of the 97 new Freshmen U. S. House Members – or 84% – are pro-life
(In the 2008 election, just 2 of the 14 Freshman Senators – or only 14% – were pro-life, and only 23 of the 57 Freshmen House Members – or just 40% – were pro-life.) In fact, this election produced a net gain of 52 pro-life seats in the House, resulting in the most pro-life U. S. House since the Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), co-chair of the House Pro-Life Caucus, announced that “January will mark the beginning of the arguably most pro-life House ever.” 24 

And the conservatives are increasingly diverse. Two black Republicans were elected to positions never before held by any black representative. There are 6 new Latino Republicans in Congress (5 in the House, 1 in the Senate), and 9 new female Republicans (8 in the House, and 1 in the Senate). All of these new freshmen are pro-life; and the addition of these new women increases by 60% the number of pro-life women in the U. S. House.  

But the election swung not on Republican enthusiasm or the lack of it among liberal Democrats. In this election, the numbers of voters from each side was exactly equal: 35% of voters were Republican, and 35% were Democrat. 2 (In recent elections, the comparative percentage of Democrat and Republican voters has remained relatively close. 3

The difference in this election was not a greater turnout of Republicans or a suppressed turnout of Democrats but rather that non-affiliated independent voters overwhelmingly chose conservative candidates (running primarily as Republicans) and rejected liberal ones (represented primarily by Democrats) 4 – a 37-point swing in their decision from only four years ago. 5

Some additional interesting election statistics:
  • In every state in the nation, self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals; and in 25 of the states, conservatives outnumbered liberals 2 to 1. 6
  • Overall, 42% of voters self-identified as conservative, and 20% as liberal7 – a 22% gap. (In 2006 and 2008, it was only a 12% gap. 8 )
  • Tea Party supporters made up 41% of voters. 9
  • Voter turnout was slightly higher in 2010 than in 2006, projected at 42% in this election (i.e., 90 million), which is 6.2 million more than voted in 2006 in the last mid-term election (83.8 million). 10 (Mid-term elections are always smaller in turnout than presidential elections, so comparisons are best made of mid-term to mid-term, and presidential to presidential.)
For example, exit polling showed that among conservative voters:
  • When asked what was needed to get America back on track, reducing spending and restoring values were equally important. 11
  • A majority of voters said members of Congress and political leaders are ignoring our religious heritage. 12
  • 53% of the voters opposed homosexual marriage. 13
  • Christian conservatives comprised 28.8 million, or 32% of all voters14 – the highest recorded percentage of any election. 15
  • 30% of all voters said that the abortion issue affected their vote; 22% said they voted for pro-life candidates, and 8% for pro-abortion candidates, thus providing pro-life candidates a 14-point advantage over abortion voters. 16 That large advantage provided the margin of victory for pro-life candidates in many otherwise close races.
Interestingly, exit polling has long demonstrated that the frequency of church attendance is the best indicator of whether an individual will vote conservative or liberal. Those that attend church frequently tend to vote more conservatively, and vice-versa.

As voters, we have to remember that this election was not an event – it was only a single step in a lifelong process of involvement and civic engagement, requiring us not only to be involved in every election but also always to carry our conservative religious, moral, and constitutional values with us as we vote (and we must also stay actively involved between elections). So let’s stay engaged and finish the job, no matter what happens or how long it takes.

Source: Lifted and reworked from an article by Wallbuilders