“Never in American history has Congress been popular” with the American public, Mitchell said, but the current level of public unhappiness with lawmakers is unprecedented.
Mitchell said redistricting of Congress has, over the years, made very few House seats competitive. That increases the importance of primary elections, he said, and those elections attract lower levels of voter turnout than the general election. That, he said, increases the influence of partisan extremists – who tend to play a greater role in the primaries – and creates a more partisan Congress.
Mitchell also blamed the increasing importance of money in congressional elections, particularly since the Supreme Court loosened restrictions on corporate donations to political campaigns.