Why do our members of Congress disappoint us?
Why do they seem to put their personal interests ahead of the mission we elected them to do?
More importantly, how we can we deter Republicans or bring them back to the fold?
Study Shows How Communities Keep Members In Line
New research by University of Oxford and the ETH Zurich could provide an answer: one strong leader.
When non-cheating members of a community empowered a strong member to challenge the anti-social cheater, the cheating stopped.
More importantly, when potential cheaters became aware of the presence of a “strong man” within the community, they were far less likely to cheat.
Here are some details on the experiment via ScienceDaily.com.
Researchers involved 120 volunteers, divided into groups of four, to play games with money tokens. Each player was given a bank of 140 money tokens with one of the four randomly assigned as the cheat. The cheat could decide whether to refrain from cheating and gain nothing, or risk cheating to potentially gain 70 tokens from each of the three players. The three players had to decide independently whether to challenge the cheat to reclaim the money for themselves, as well as the other players -- the snag being that the challenge would entail a monetary cost to the challenger while the free-riding players would retrieve the full 70 tokens. However, if none of the players challenged the cheat, the cheat would keep their tokens and get away with it.
Members of Congress are part of our community. If we don’t challenge them, they vote wrong get re-elected, and continue to cheat our mission. When we elect a conservative who runs on small-government, Constitutional conservatism, then votes for big spending, big government, it’s cheating. Call it that.
There are even more great lessons from the study:
- Certainty of punishment was more important than the size of the punishment
- Community strongmen recovered 83 percent of the cheaters’ gains
- Knowing that the community backed a strongman was a huge deterrent
It’s important to empower strong leaders who can challenge the cheats. We empower our leaders by guaranteeing to protect them when they take a risk.
We Can Devise a Strategy To Deter Bad Votes in Congress
Based on this research, we can formulate a strategy:
1. Let members of Congress know who we will back in opposing them.
2. Fight like hell with Congressmen push back.
3. Sacrifice what we can to support opposition leaders.
This is another reminder of why Heritage Action for America’s scorecard has become the gold standard for measures of conservatism in Congress. They, by the way, give McConnell a 75% rating.
As long as conservative groups continue to entangle themselves with the Republican Party and give Republican leaders undeserved passes, conservatives will keep yanking their own footballs away.
Vote wrong on key votes, and we’ll be on you. And “on you” means our strongman or strongwoman can attack without fear of backlash from the community.