Santa Clarita resident Harry Reed asks Congressman Steve Knight a question during the town hall at the Chimbole Cultural Center in Palmdale on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal
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Members of the United States House of Representatives are elected to “represent” the residents of their congressional districts. At least, that’s what the Constitution tells us.

So why does it feel as if some of our representatives aren’t getting the message?

Case in point: Rep. Steve Knight, the Republican House member from California’s 25th Congressional District. That district – which stretches from Simi Valley in the west through a small corner of Porter Ranch in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley, then into the Santa Clarita Valley and over the mountains into Palmdale and Lancaster – gave Hillary Clinton a 6.7 percent victory in November.

Based on that margin, statisticians tell us that Knight would be expected to vote with President Trump 46.8 percent of the time if he were actually trying to represent his constituents’ views.

Yet the respected website FiveThirtyEight.com reports that Knight has chosen to vote with President Trump 100 percent of the time.

In a visit to Knight’s Simi Valley office recently, constituents asked two of his staffers why his voting record doesn’t square with the wishes of citizens in his district, where registered Democrats now outnumber both Republicans and decline-to-state voters.

Their response: Knight’s voting record “isn’t how you should judge him.”

Really?

We send our “representative” to Congress to “represent” us. He chooses to vote against the preferences of his district’s largest voting bloc 100 percent of the time. And yet his votes aren’t how we should decide whether we’re being “represented”?

Rabbit hole, meet Alice.

On issue after issue, questions to Knight’s staffers received the classic Russian information warfare “active measures” treatment described by national security expert Malcolm Nance in his book The Plot to Hack America: deny, deceive, defeat.

On gun violence: one of his staffers assured us that Knight supports “background checks for everyone.”

“So he’s for universal background checks?”

“What do you mean by ‘universal’?”

“Everyone!”

Silence. For good reason, I suspect, since Knight’s 100 percent “positive” rating from the National Rifle Association suggests that he very likely doesn’t favor “background checks for everyone.”

On House Resolution 38 – which would amend federal criminal code to allow someone with a concealed carry permit in his own state to carry a handgun into another state that also allows concealed carry, as well as into school zones and into federally-owned lands open to the public, including our national parks – “That’s wrong. That legislation is being misrepresented in the press.”

Oh, yeah. I get it. Quoting the text of proposed legislation is just “fake news.”

On Knight’s own declaration at a district Town Hall in March that “President Trump should release his taxes,” after which he returned to Washington and voted with his GOP colleagues to table HR 305, the Presidential Tax Transparency Act: “You need to understand how Congress works.”

Umm, I do. I understand completely that, when my representative’s party controls the House, and he votes with his party to table a matter, he is voting to kill discussion – and thus avoiding having to take a vote at all.

I’m betting that’s the part of “how Congress works” that you’d rather I didn’t understand.

And it seems Steve Knight isn’t the only House member playing these games.

At a Town Hall in his district on April 12, constituents of Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-OK, told him that he should represent their views since they pay his salary.

His response? He denied being paid by the public he is elected to serve, calling that simple factual assertion “bullcrap!”

And in another Town Hall that same day – this one in Aurora, Colorado – constituents chastised GOP Rep. Mike Coffman for his failure to represent their views, telling him to “choose between us and Donald Trump.”

We the People are trying to tell you something, Messrs. Knight and Mullin and Coffman (and whoever else in Congress chooses to ignore his or her constituents). It’s a very simple concept.

You’re not paid by the Republican Party. You’re not paid by Donald Trump. You’re paid by us.

Which means that you work for us.

And it’s time you started voting accordingly.

If you don’t, we will.

 

 

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  • Brian Baker

    LOL!

    This could be an SNL skit, it’s so laughably weird.

    The 25th District “… gave Hillary Clinton a 6.7 percent victory in November. Based on that margin, statisticians tell us that Knight would be expected to vote with President Trump 46.8 percent of the time if he were actually trying to represent his constituents’ views.”

    That’s hilarious!

    News flash, Rothenburg. In a contest, there’s a winner and a loser. The Hildebeast wasn’t even on the ballot for that office. Knight won, his opponent lost, and what BroomHillary got is completely irrelevant. I guess math and logic weren’t your strong suits in school.

    I really love this kind of hair-on-fire nonsense from lefties. It’s so…. entertaining!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f622add240bd2cb92c99544cbaca4692093d5fecba6673907930eb62e375c0d9.jpg

    • janeen pedersen

      Well said Marcy. The arrogance of republicans in office is mind boggling along with the greed. We shall see the end of Knight!

    • marcywrite

      so glad to have had the opportunity to entertain you – but sorry for you that you still seem not to comprehend the basic concept of “representation” which was the focus of this commentary

      • Phil Ellis

        I think that you mistake representation with pleasing. Steve represents us all, but with divergent viewpoints, he will never be able to please us all at the same time.

        • marcywrite

          No I don’t. Please don’t put words in my mouth. When my representative votes 100% pro-Trump, my views are NEVER being represented in his votes. I fully recognize that “he will never be able to please us all at the same time.” The fact that he NEVER represents any POV other than party-line GOP is the problem. I’m not going to keep arguing the basic premise of my piece, so this is my last response.

      • Brian Baker

        Sorry that YOU don’t comprehend the concept of winning and losing elections. It’s a topic usually covered in junior high civics.

        • marcywrite

          Once more: winning an election does NOT absolve the elected representative of the obligation to represent ALL his/her constituents. That is ALSO taught in junior high civics.

  • M. Paulsen

    I completely agree Marcy, great article! It is frustrating when our representatives don’t represent the opinions of their constituents and arrogantly condescend to us, as if we don’t know what’s going on.

  • Eric Heilbrun

    “Based on that margin, statisticians tell us that Knight would be expected to vote with President Trump 46.8 percent of the time if he were actually trying to represent his constituents’ views.”

    Based on this quote statisticians would tell us that the writer knows NOTHING about what statisticians would tell us.

    • Brian Baker

      Y’know, Eric, as I think about it, maybe there’s something to this Looney Tunes idea after all.

      Trump got about 32% of the statewide vote, according to the Secretary of State. So we should DEMAND that the Marxists … oops! I mean Democrats … in the Assembly in Sacramento change about 1/3 of their positions on various programs WE don’t like!

      Let’s see… where to start…

      Cancel the not-so-bullet train boondoggle! Or hey!… LOWER the tax rate! How about that one? Make it EASIER to get a concealed carry license. I like that one a lot! Or end the “assault weapon” ban. How about that?

      After all, according to the “logic” being presented here by the lefties, we 32% aren’t being “represented” at all, are we?
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d8264f28b72b3689a798f927769da97bfef8d9ec3776666947cd017fdb0472ea.jpg

      • marcywrite

        well look at that — you agree with me

        • Brian Baker

          Actually, that was satire. I’m sane.

    • marcywrite

      I’ll be sure to inform the statistician whose data I resourced that you disagree

      • Eric Heilbrun

        I am open minded. If you share your data source I will take a look as I am curious how a statistical parameter referencing voting records can lead to a conclusive determination as to the frequency a politician should vote to appease a minority of voters. Would be happy to meet for coffee with you and your source to discuss.

        • marcywrite

          I did not STATE that a “statistical parameter referencing voting records can lead to a conclusive determination as to … frequency.” I am not proposing a rigid formula. I am simply stating that, given the FACT that more people in Knight’s district are Democrats than GOP or independent, he would be expected statistically to represent their viewpoint at least SOME of the time. But he doesn’t. You and others in this discussion are trying to turn that into some sort of absolutist demand for “formulaic” representation. I made no such demand.

          • Ron Bischof

            “I am not proposing a rigid formula.”

            Actually, you did in your own words here:

            “Based on that margin, statisticians tell us that Knight would be expected to vote with President Trump 46.8 percent of the time if he were actually trying to represent his constituents’ views.”

            “I am simply stating that, given the FACT that more people in Knight’s district are Democrats than GOP or independent…”

            Here’s again you make a fallacious statistical argument for proportional voting. Additionally, If one carefully parses your statement, one can’t fail to note that registered Democrats don’t exceed the number of registered Republicans *PLUS* “Independents” (Decline to State) in the district nor does that equate to how district citizens actually voted. So, how is that relevant?

          • marcywrite

            I reported the mathematical likelihood of agreement that the statistician calculated. But NOWHERE did I suggest that we must adopt some sort of rigid formula based on that hypothetical. You are adding your own conclusion — one I did not draw.

          • Ron Bischof

            You’re welcome to whatever pleasant fiction suits you, Ms. Rothenberg.

            As Eric pointed out, you were rather precise in your proposal of proportionate voting by Rep. Knight.

            Also, you’re tendentiously persistent in asserting that folks with 3 digit IQs and demonstrated critical thinking skills somehow misunderstood the plain words you wrote that cannot be retracted. Now you equivocate with a “rigid” qualifier that’s not in your column. No matter, your premise remains invalid no matter how flexible you are in your demand.

            Remember: representation ≠ agreement and advocacy of your political preferences. Instead, you’re entitled as a citizen in the district to a fair and respectful hearing of your opinion by Rep. Knight. After consideration of all perspectives, then he votes according to his take on the best interests of the district as he was hired to do.

            If he fails do perform adequately, anyone who votes in the district has the right of redress at the upcoming ballot box by voting for a candidate they believe will better meet their requirements.

            Therefore, you aren’t entitled to a proportional voting requirement by our Representative.

            QED.

          • marcywrite

            have fun twisting my words to suit your opinion – I’m logging off

          • Ron Bischof

            Again?

            Toodles! 🙂

          • Eric Heilbrun

            Statistics are only hypothetical if one uses hypothetical data. So you are essentially confirming that there is no validity to your statement. It was just hypothetical.

          • Eric Heilbrun

            Marcy, with all do respect you said Knight should be voting with Trump only 48.6 percent of the time. Down to a tenth of a percent! Now you say you aren’t calling for formulaic representation? Uh, OK. I misunderstood. My apologies.

          • marcywrite

            it’s “with all due respect”

          • Eric Heilbrun

            Nice catch. I stand corrected. But I guess that was all you could find to challenge in my comment.

          • marcywrite

            Read my response below to Ron. I don’t have the time to answer both of you.

          • Ron Bischof

            You demonstrably have plenty of time, despite your assertions to the contrary. 😀

  • Daniel Glenn

    Thank you Marcy for highlighting Steve Knight’s hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance. Well done.

    • Phil Ellis

      I think that the vote percentage that you should be looking at is the vote for the Congressional Office.

      • Brian Baker

        Naaah… Too logical.

        Anyway, even that’s irrelevant. An election is a binary event. There’s a winner and a loser.

        To quote their beloved ObaMessiah, “elections have consequences”.

        • marcywrite

          “Elections have consequences” refers to policymaking, not to the performance of a given member of Congress in representing ALL of his constituents.

          • Brian Baker

            You forgot to address the fact that an election is a binary event. Was the language too complex for you?

            He’s representing those who voted for him, and he’s NOT representing those who didn’t, because they LOST.

            It’s kinda like the World Series. The winner doesn’t get a partial trophy based on how many of the games they won. They get the WHOLE trophy, and the other team gets squat.

            Feel free, now, to burst into snowflake tears.

          • marcywrite

            OK, I will discuss the binary nature of elections. Yes, elections are binary; one candidate wins, the other loses. The ISSUE being discussed is that, when the candidate becomes an elected representative, their duty is to represent ALL constituents in their district, NOT just those who voted for them. Those of us who didn’t vote for Steve Knight did NOT lose our right to representation by our government. THAT aspect of governance is NOT binary. The winner in your “World Series” gets the job; s/he does NOT get the right to run roughshod over anyone who didn’t want him to have that job. Steve Knight acknowledged his responsibility to represent ALL residents of his district at his Town Hall yesterday; perhaps you should have attended to hear it from him directly.

            As for tears…nope, not a one.

          • Ron Bischof

            I concur with your point about representation and stated so previously.

            Will you concede that doesn’t equate to agreement with every constituent’s position and that such isn’t running “roughshod” over same?

      • marcywrite

        When an individual is elected to Congress, s/he is duty bound to represent ALL of her/his constituents — not just those who voted for him/her.

        • Brian Baker

          Wrong.

          • marcywrite

            Sir, you are wrong. House members represent ALL residents of their district, not just those who voted for them. Steve Knight acknowledged this very fact at his Town Hall yesterday.

          • Brian Baker

            Fact for you, dudette. An elected representative DOES represent “all” of the constituents, as determined by the binary outcome of the election. Your postulation is, frankly, not only absurd, it’s quite literally insane.

            As I said, the minute I see you taking the position that the super-majority of Marxists running the state from Sacramento should change 1/3 of their policies to reflect the constituents who voted for Trump, I’ll grant you at least some intellectual consistency.

            Right now, all I’m seeing is whining snowflakedom.

  • Ron Bischof

    Non sequitur, Ms. Rothenberg. As others have noted, you cannot apply Presidential election statistics to a local Congressional election.

    Additionally, you further engage in illogic by asserting your flawed proportional model should be applied to our Republic in the manner of a direct democracy. That’s not how it works.

    Our Founders had the lessons of Hellenic direct democracy in mind when architecting our Republic to specifically avoid the chaos and destructive impulses of mob rule. I recommend you study the history as well because it completely undermines your stated preferences in the manner of governance.

    Or if you prefer, you can take this advice from former President Obama:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q3GJhUkLr0

    • marcywrite

      not sure how representative government equates with “mob rule” in your mind but…

      • Ron Bischof

        Straw man. What I did say is direct democracy equates to mob rule. Representative democracy ≠ mob rule.

        If you wish to engage me in a dialectic discussion, an intellectually honest first step is to avoid misrepresenting what I’ve written.

        Care to respond to the points I actually made?

        • marcywrite

          His representation is totally one-sided, Ron. That’s the point. I never brought up the notion of mob rule; you did. And with that, I’m done. I’ve got more writing to do.

          • Ron Bischof

            Non-responsive to the points I actually made.

            Your premise is deeply flawed, as I have and others have pointed out. To expect that a Congressional representative will vote according to your preferences based on a percentage formula is risibly obtuse and ideological rather than rational.

            Congressman Knight ran on a platform and the majority in the district elected him. As our representative in Congress, his duty is to consider all perspectives but that doesn’t extend to compliance with constituent desires based on a statistical formula.

            When you write and post in a public forum, the requirements are you construct and defend a cogent argument. As you obviously have not and are unwilling to revise your opinion based on facts and logic, your decision to withdraw is understandable.

            This isn’t a broadcast or amen chorus only medium, eh?

          • marcywrite

            Ron, I am not going to argue with you endlessly. We disagree.

          • Ron Bischof

            I’m not suggesting endless argument. Respectfully, I am challenging you to make a rational argument by responding to my rebuttal of your column. You have not and I posit you’re withdrawing because your expressed opinion is untenable.

          • marcywrite

            I made an eminently moderate argument in my op-ed, based on facts, data and statements from Knight’s own staff. If you wish to express your own opinion on the subject, I suggest that you write your own op-ed. I disagree with your OPINION that my argument was not cogent. You’re entitled to your opinion, but I am not obligated to agree with you.

            I hope you’ll go have a nice evening now. That’s what I will be doing. Good bye.

          • Ron Bischof

            I and others who have raised points you haven’t answered. Nor do I find your argument moderate or cogent. Instead, it appears entitled and based on an invalid emotional premise.

            As you’re no doubt aware, I do write Op-Eds and LTEs in this publication and intend to take my rebuttal of your column to publication.

            I plan to have a pleasant evening and I wish you one as well, Ms. Rothenberg.

            “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan, attributed

          • marcywrite

            And there it is: “emotional” premise. Hardly.

          • Ron Bischof

            Correcting your misquote, it’s “invalid emotional premise.” 😀

          • marcywrite

            Entitled to express my opinion? Dang right!

            I’ll say good bye now. I’m done.

          • Ron Bischof

            Cool. No one has argued you aren’t entitled to express your opinion, flawed on this issue as it is.

            I hope you are done. But be advised I’ll respond to every misrepresentation you present.

          • marcywrite

            Likewise.

          • marcywrite

            I was pointing out your use of the word “emotional,” and added “premise” merely to complete the phrase. Calling a woman’s argument “emotional” is a common tactic used by men when they can’t pressure a woman to agree that they are right and she is wrong. And quoting part of a longer phrase is not a “misquote” – it’s perfectly acceptable usage.

          • Ron Bischof

            My response to you has zero to do with your chromosomal makeup and everything to do with your sense of entitlement, which is an emotion.

            You’re welcome to peruse my timeline to validate that I don’t critique emoting over reason by sex. It’s unpersuasive no matter who employs it in an argument.

            By the way, taking words out of context is a tactic and I’ve been online for a very long time.

          • Brian Baker

            Hey, Ron, glad to hear that!

            I’m very much looking forward to your piece rebutting this nonsense.

          • Ron Bischof

            “If you wish to express your own opinion on the subject, I suggest that you write your own op-ed.”

            Done.

            https://signalscv.com/2017/04/24/ron-bischof-representative-government-functions/

            Please note for future reference that this is a forum to express opinions and provide community feedback on opinions expressed.

            Think of it as the modern equivalent of chatting with your neighbors around a pickle barrel at the country store.

  • Brian Baker
  • Gary Bierend

    Formulaic Representation? What will they think of next?

    • Gary Bierend

      Vote Al Gorithm 2018!
      25th Congressional District

      • Ron Bischof

        Heh, heh. Clever!

      • Brian Baker

        Hilarious, Gary!