Letters to the Editor

Letter: Constituency

Using a 2020 Alaska population number of about 731,000, let’s do the math. Hypothetically, say an elected representative won a close race by half a percentage point. You did not vote for this person and oppose their political and social slant in many matters. In 2020, voters numbered around 367,000. The number of votes cast for the winning candidate amounted to 185,335. Therefore, you would be one of 181,665 voters who would rather see someone else in office. So, as it stands, around 25% of the total population elected who they thought would best represent their views and issues of the state. These percentages would vary from town to town and state to state.

Now, let’s define “constituent.” A fair description is: elected officials, such as representatives, congresspersons, or city council members, represent the interests of their constituents in the legislative process. As I see it, constituents are all the people residing in the officeholder district — municipal to national. Where things go awry in current politics is when an elected official sees their victory at the polls as a license to represent only the people/faction who voted for them. It seems the common attitude is that once an election is won, “the American people” of which they speak consist only of the 25% of the population who voted for them (that number is less on a national scale). So, using the numbers above and with that attitude, it’s possible an elected official may not be representing 75% of their constituents.

Also, candidates often speak of striving for ‘unity.’ It seems that their concept of uniting their constituents (or the nation, for that matter) is achieved only if other folks, also constituents, who may not appreciate their conduct, philosophy or worldview, see the error of their ways and fall into line. Not much chance of that, but the buzzword ‘unity’ is a necessary mention up until the candidate takes office. After the election is certified, all that matters is appealing to their 25% base and spinning other actions that might anger the other 75%.

Sorry, that was way too close to a word problem.

— Cal Schmidt


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