Since the Republic was conceived, communication technologies have rapidly evolved to reduce the time and distance that separate Congress from the public. But as the most recent poll results show, at least in this case, familiarity breeds contempt.
Too many of Congress’s procedures and practices have remained trapped in a time warp. To reverse the slide in its credibility, Congress needs to create a new connection between citizens and their representatives. It should start that process by adopting some of the millennial generation’s (born 1982-2003) favorite technologies, especially social media, to build a more transparent, open and participatory legislative process.
Congress needs to make a brand new connection with the American electorate, one that uses these new tools to fully involve the public in the legislative decision-making process - not just to tweet the latest press release. The new bargain would require Congress to increase public participation in the legislative process rather than relying on the current trade of access and constituency services in return for campaign contributions. For any of this to happen, Congress will have to throw off its generational blinders and begin to fully use a new technology that opens it to the ideas and collaborative behavior of a new generation.