Voters going to the polls today have been bombarded for months with promises made by candidates seeking their support. Voters for too long have been disappointed by politicians who say one thing while running of office, only to do quite another after being elected. I believe there are two primary reasons for this phenomenon.

Politicians simply want to get elected and realize that their best chance for winning is to not appear to be too far from the mainstream.  Polls taken across the country repeatedly indicate that America is a center-right country. Most Republican and Democrat candidates realize this and adjust their campaign message accordingly. Once politicians are elected, they gravitate towards their core political beliefs as evidenced by a voting record that often does not match their campaign rhetoric.

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The second and perhaps more common reason is elected politicians forget who they are working for, coming to believe they work for the government rather than the people. I saw this phenomenon play out all too often during my time working in government. Many politicians over time are co-opted by the system and come to see themselves as executives managing government rather than officials that are placed in office to represent the people. Government becomes the end rather than the means.

The only way to end this poor behavior on the part of elected officials is to hold them accountable. A well-informed electorate is best able to perform this vital function.  

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy provides voters with two useful tools in holding politicians accountable. Michiganvotes.com is a website that provides plain English descriptions of bills before the Legislature and records the votes of state elected officials. Michigan Capitol Confidential is a printed and on-line publication that provides voters with useful information and commentary on policy issues effecting Michigan citizens and lets the "folks back home" know how their representatives and senators are actually voting on bills.