Don’t fall for these ads relative to members’ voting records

We’re starting to get a LOT of political ads here in the Boston area with the upcoming midterms in November. We get a lot of ads designed for the southern New Hampshire audience, because many of the voters in southern New Hampshire tune in to the larger Boston area TV stations. And we’re getting those “Maggie Hassan votes with Joe Biden 97% of the time” ads, or “Chris Pappas votes with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time” ads.

Maggie Hassan votes with Joe Biden 97% of the time

This is nonsense.

First of all, Joe Biden doesn’t vote. And he hasn’t since he left the Senate, which was — checks notes — fourteen years ago. Maggie Hassan did not enter the Senate until 2017.

I’m sure that Hassan has supported many of Joe Biden’s policies — and she may even agree with him on most legislative issues — but it is simply factually untrue to claim that she “voted with Biden” 97% of the time.

Chris Pappas votes with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time

So, there are two problems here: first of all, what is the period of time that this statistic refers to, and second of all, most of these votes were procedural votes.

Pappas has been in office since the beginning of 2019, so he is a two-term representative. Is this ad claiming that in the entire four-year period he has been in office, Pappas has never voted differently from Speaker Pelosi? Or are we talking about the last two months?

More significantly, most of the votes that members take are procedural votes. They are votes like:

  • Accept a Committee Report
  • Adjournment
  • Adopt a Resolution
  • Adoption an  Emergency Preamble
  • Approval of a Reorganization Plan
  • Commit to a Special Committee
  • Discharge a bill from a Committee
  • Incorporate into the Record
  • Lay a motion on the Table
  • Motion to Adjourn
  • Order to a 3rd Reading
  • Postpone Debate
  • Quorum Call
  • Reconsideration of a Prior Vote
  • Refer a bill to Committee
  • Move to a Second Legislative Day
  • Suspend a Legislative Rule
  • Sustain a Ruling of the Chair

All the members vote with their party on these kinds of votes. That’s true for Republicans voting with Kevin McCarthy or Mitch McConnell as well. That’s why we have political parties. It skews the statistics, because while it may be factually true, it is factually true for virtually every member.

Heck, Bernie Sanders, who is technically an Independent, votes with the Democratic caucus most of the time.

So don’t fall for this statistical nonsense. It is basically meaningless, and doesn’t tell you anything interesting about their legislative records.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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