Kelly Riordan: “I Hate Politics”

I hate politics, now more than ever. I don’t watch political shows. I don’t watch debates. I mute the political ads during election season. The entire process has become so distasteful and ridiculous, it’s insulting. I simply want to make an informed decision when I cast my vote.  Up until the last few years, I would have labeled myself as a typical apathetic American voter.  But in the current state our country is in, being uninformed is no longer an option.  Picking up bits and pieces of news, as much as you can stomach, isn’t enough.  So I created this website.  Not some big corporate entity, just me.  The creation of this website has been financed through my last three tax returns, credit cards, and a lot of overtime.  I still have my day job.  I came up with this idea a long time ago, while attempting to research candidates.  I became convinced this website was desperately needed during the 2016 presidential primaries, well before it came down to the final two.  “What a rogues’ gallery,” I thought.  I honestly would have been more comfortable had any of my next door neighbors been running.

Why is there a $3 a month charge?  For two very good reasons.  First, this is an advertising free site and always will be.  I’m completely sick of advertising, and particularly when I’m attempting to pay attention to the content I’m researching. Also, in the interest of keeping this site as unbiased as possible, and you will probably agree, products have a lean to them.  Think of an hybrid import car versus an American built truck.  And frankly, I don’t feel like playing detective and trying to find out if some company or other has nefarious dealings.  The second reason is really the main reason.  I mean to make this website free for every high school teacher, college professor, and college student in the country.  Our kids need to be smarter than us.  That programming will require vast amounts of data entry and maintenance.  This part of the site will take longer to get up and running.  I will begin in my home town of San Diego to work out the kinks and then it will be launched nationwide.  I see that taking a good year or two.  I do apologize for there currently being no phone app, I ran out of money.  But that’s the very next project once I have the users to finance it.

While I hate politics, I love numbers. I’d like to share some numbers with you that I find very interesting. In 2014, according to multiple Gallup polls, the congressional approval rating varied between a low of 12% to a brief high of 20%, averaging out to around 15%. The congressional re-election rate that year was 96.4%. In 2016, the average approval rating had improved marginally to 17%. The overall congressional re-election rate for that year was 95%. Gallup polls reported a congressional job approval rating of 19% for 2017. Based on approval ratings in recent years, it seems clear that most voters, Republicans and Democrats alike, are less than thrilled. 2018 is an election year. Now what? Are we destined to repeat the mistakes of the past and be trapped in this never-ending disaster that is our government? With your help, I hope not.

While this site is teeming with more information than you may use, you have only one job: to form your own opinion based on fact. This program is deceivingly simple. You vote on the same bills that your congressmen do, then this site compares the two to give you your personalized approval rating. That’s it. If you use none of the other tools and information contained in this site, you have done your job. Can the average American do this? ABSOLUTELY. How do I know this? Our American sports. Is there anything we like better, as a nation, than keeping score? From Fantasy Football to March Madness to any other multitude of sports I am constantly amazed listening to the vast amount of statistics and scores and that I hear fans rattle off. As I’ve listened to fans discuss a recent game I’ve wondered if they had the inside track on every vote inside Congress, might those conversations sometimes include this or that bill and its outcome spoken about with the same passion that occurs every Monday morning in any elevator or any lunchroom during football season.

My first and most fervent wish, is to give you, the user, the gift of smugly ignoring every bit of annoying congressional political advertising that you are accosted with. Mute the TV. Ignore it all, because you will have done your due diligence and you will know, based on actual numbers, exactly how you feel about an incumbent versus another candidate. Any serious candidate will be casting their votes on this site just as you do. Aside from the $3 monthly fee, no politician is charged to be represented on this website. When a candidate officially announces his or her candidacy, regardless of political affiliation, you will be able to view their “score” compared to the “score” of the incumbent. While I realize that a candidate’s voting history isn’t official, it should give some measure of their views on the issues. And if it doesn’t, may they enjoy their single term in office, because we, the public, are now watching.  I hope that this site may make available candidates that perhaps don’t have the giant money machines behind them. In this current stormy political climate, we have seen some senators and representatives that are brave enough to voice their own opinions and vote their conscience. Unfortunately, we all know that the almighty dollar determines who our politicians are. The term “public servant” has become something of an oxymoron. When we cast our votes in congressional elections we have limited choices; Republican or Democrat and maybe some other party that we know nothing about. I have no illusions; most people vote along party lines. But if you don’t know their voting history, and whether or not their views are close you yours, are you making any kind of an informed choice?

Will our senators and representatives vote differently knowing their every vote is scrutinized?
Will we see other candidates that perhaps don’t toe the official party line running for office?
Will our next Congressional election see the same re-election rates as seen in previous years?

I have no idea, but I created this website so we can all find out.

Kelly Riordan

P.S. Yes, I made the instructional video myself, in case it’s not painfully obvious. Please forgive the unsolicited commentary by my cat, Chance, in the background.