Americans are disillusioned and disappointed with Congress. The rock-bottom approval ratings confirm that.
With that in mind, what would you think about a candidate who promises to return or donate to charity any campaign contributions from sources that “taint" the candidate's integrity?
Who refuses to do anything that attacks the character of his or her opponent?
Who, if elected, promises to sit down with someone from an opposing party at least once a month and to sponsor at least one bipartisan bill each year?
In other words: to put principles before politics.
A new political group called With Honor believes there are candidates who can do that: veterans.
Military veteran Peter Meijer is on the board of this new cross-partisan political group. He's the grandson of the late Fred Meijer and yes, his name is on more than 200 stores.
Meijer joined Stateside today to explain With Honor's goals.
Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.
The veteran difference
“Veterans share one unique trait that really only people who have forcibly served on jury duty have, and that’s having to work together with a team of folks who are unlike you, come from different backgrounds, different experiences, but are united with a sense of purpose and sharing the same mission. And I think it’s that sense of mission focus that’s really been lost in Congress. And I think veterans can really bring more to the table if we increase their participation.”
“Veteran participation in Congress has been declining steadily from a high in the immediate post-WWII generation of around 75 percent, to lows around 20 percent today. And this is coming as we’ve seen a lot of disillusion of trust in our institutions. And, while we can’t make a direct causation, the correlation there is pretty clear. If you have folks in office that you don’t trust have the nation’s best interests in their hearts, that aren’t willing to put the country above their party, then you’re going to see a decline as well in faith in that institution.”
“Oftentimes, the way some of the political financing goes, bipartisanship and compromising are seen as negatives and are punished.”
“The main thing we’re trying to address is the increasing political polarization in the country. … We’re hoping to bring more veterans into Congress with a can-do attitude and a willingness to reach across the aisle to help our country work again.”
How funding works
“We’re aiming to raise $30 million for the 2018 congressional cycle, and that could filter down to around $1 million per candidate, and our goal is to evenly distribute that across both Republican and Democrat races and also keeping an eye open for Independents. So, we’re truly a cross-partisan organization and seeking to make a meaningful difference in the elections in which we’re engaged.”
“Our main step will be supporting a dozen to two dozen candidates in the 2018 congressional elections for the House. A lot of times in the early stages of an election, especially in a primary, narrow interests will win out and pull candidates to the extreme. We want to be a force to help candidates stay true to their principles, so that they don’t have to go chasing endorsements on the fringes, but can feel secure in surviving that primary so that they’re there for the general.”
“As we begin to announce candidates in the coming months, maybe look up somebody who’s not on your side of the aisle and figure out if their values align closer to you than you thought, to really just do what we ask of Congressmen as well, and that’s to put the country ahead of party.”