The response to this website over the course of the last several months has exceeded all expectations. Many thousands of unique users visited, and most did so repeatedly. Visitors came from 43 different states (those in the Upper Plains and the non-contiguous states apparently don’t care much about the subject of this website) and the District of Columbia. They visited from servers linked to both houses of Congress, several leading media outlets, Washington think tanks, and fancy law firms. November 7, the day before the election, was the single busiest day.
Despite the result of the recent election, people clearly want to know more about their elected officials. Local and regional journalists serve up little of substance on Congressional representatives and candidates, particularly this year, when the bright lights of the Presidential campaign were so distracting. What was once exclusively the realm of journalists now devolves to citizens who value the skills and traits from which those journalists once earned their livings: curiosity, the ability to read and understand sources, and pursuit of the truth. Newspapers have retreated from local coverage, leaving constituents no choice but to believe what they’ve heard through the grapevine or see on social media.
Fact-based writing about politicians, an apparently foreign concept to many, has left critics of this site confused about what they’ve found here. When you see a selection of text in a different color, click it. That’s called a hyperlink. It takes you to my source for whatever assertion I’ve made. It’s like a footnote, but less clumsy, indicating that there is evidence for the things I say: public records, well-researched news reports, resources paid for by your tax dollars that are published by Congress. It’s been said that people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts. The facts here are true. That’s what makes them facts. I have my own opinions about those facts, but the facts are cited and links are provided so you can develop whatever opinion you wish. Perhaps you think voting “present” on a bill that would save lives is brave, or that saying you like one sort of candidate and then vociferously supporting one that is quite opposite is non-problematical. That may be your opinion, but it doesn’t change the facts that underlie it.
On November 8, more voters than not decided that the facts presented here did not prevent them from returning Mick Mulvaney to Congress, despite his absence of achievements in his 6 years there. The word “voters” has been chosen in lieu of “citizens” carefully, as most citizens didn’t vote in this election. Most citizens have decided they just don’t care at all.
That’s unfortunate. From student loans to health care, from road and infrastructure funding to caring for veterans, Congress has the ability to significantly alter some of the most basic aspects of our lives. The members of the House of Representatives won’t decide the next Supreme Court justice (that’s up to the President and the Senate), but they have a voice in most everything else. If you based your approval of that voice on the little letter next to their checkbox on the ballot (R or D), or the familiarity of their name, or the fact that a friend on Facebook said something nice about them, you’ve done yourself an immense disservice. It has never been easier to research someone’s record, their allies and enemies, their background and ambitions. I do this as a hobby and decided to share my findings here for fun. The idea that people would approach their ballot with less preparation than they’d lavish upon a takeout menu is offensive. Those who did so are no better than those who declined to take up a ballot at all. They might even be worse.
It’s clear that I cannot lead horses to water, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be refilling their trough expectantly. This website will continue to be a source of new information on Mick Mulvaney and the issues that affect the 5th Congressional District. I am dismayed to be represented by him, but not discouraged from continuing to speak out.
Have a question or suggestion? Email me.