Introduction xiii Services Committee.”4 Others, such as Barney Frank (D-MA), and Henry Waxman as well, faced challenges brought on by redistricting and campaign opposition that they were not likely to overcome. Forget being traded—they wanted out! At about the same time, eight Senators announced their retirements or resignations not a significant number, except that they came on the heels of ten the year before and eight the year before that, marking one of the “larg- est Senate turnover[s] in decades.”5 During the second half of the 20th cen- tury, the turnover in the Senate averaged six seats per year. However, there were periods when the number of turnovers spiked: between 1976 and 1980, on the heels of Watergate, 56 new Senators joined the chamber and between 1991 and 1996, 26 Senators retired. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) was the only Senator who voluntarily limited his stay to two terms even then, his last term was cut short after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. More recently, just eleven months into the 117th Congress (November 2021), 34 members had already announced they would not run for reelec- tion in 2022.6 Year after year, each successive Congress has been called “the worst ever.” Yet, unlike the Chicago Cubs, Congress doesn’t even come close to being “lovable losers.”7 Before the turn of the century, Congress’s approval ratings fluctuated between 20 percent and 50 percent. There was a quick dip below 20 percent in 1992 due to a scandal-plagued Republican Congress, which sparked a renewed public interest in term limits, but then the polls headed back to more favorable territory.8 Enter the new millennium and it all changed. With the only exceptions being a bout of patriotism in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001, and public optimism as Democrats took Congressional Job Approval Source: Gallup: Congress and the Public. -public.aspx.
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