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Should town hall attendees be vetted?

May 9, 2017

Is all the furor at their town halls back home about the House finally passing something dealing with Obamacare truly reflecting local concerns? If not, what if anything can be done about it?

Given the impact of paid agitators on everything else, some House members are beginning to suggest that town hall attendees should have to show that they actually live in the representative’s district.

Case in point. The national news is robo-playing the somewhat inartful response by Idaho Congressional District 1’s  Raul Labrador (R-ID) to one of the Obamacare propaganda talking points shouted out by a Lewiston (population, about 33,000) town hall attendee.

This isn’t meant to pick on Rep. Labrador, but rather to show that the question isn’t as simple as it sounds, even in a relatively small state (in population) like Idaho.

What the national media  doesn’t play is the loud and angry declaration by a female attendee that “everyone in this room is for single-payer health insurance.” It’s unknown where her place of residency might be, and maybe it doesn’t matter.

Still, there were a lot of people in that room.  If everyone was for single payer, then it looks like the deck was stacked a bit, particularly in deep red Idaho.

Idaho only has two Congressional districts. Congressional District 1 encompasses the entire western part of the state, and is home to a majority of the state’s liberal voters. Eastern Idaho, Congressional District 2, is far more conservative.

Representative Labrador’s constituency is technically in state voting District 14, seat B, one of Idaho’s smallest but most politically saturated voting blocs, since it includes the state capital, Boise.

So, should the town hall have only been open to residents of that geographical area, or should anyone in District 1 have been included? Should it have been closed to any nonresident of the state?

Since Idaho only has two U.S. Representatives, it can be fairly argued that even if attendees are vetted for residency, the entire western half of the state should be able to attend Rep. Labrador’s town halls. It could even be fair for any Idaho resident to attend, given the impact each representative’s vote has at the local levels.

At the very least, it would seem that people from outside the state should not be able to skew the public reaction with the intent of influencing Rep. Labrador’s vote.

But what about a state like California, or New York, or other high population voting districts? Is the liberal opposition to President Trump, which is now bordering on clinical insanity, intimidating non-liberal voters into staying at home? Are those officials getting honest feedback or have these town halls just turned into anti-Trump rallies?

That’s a question each elected official will have to decide for themselves.

From an outsiders point of view, it’s just not credible that only liberals attend town halls, but at least as the MSM portrays it, that’s how it looks.

That’s not democracy.

From → op-ed

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