Congressman Goodlatte is among a large and increasing number of federal legislators (mostly Republicans) who have announced that they won’t seek reelection this year. They are featured in an article at Politico.
While the retiring members expressed a number of different complaints about the way Congress functions (or malfunctions), Goodlatte was quoted as saying:
“One of the problems with the internet is it creates a sense on the part of some people that it’s all just a referendum.”
It’s not exactly clear what Goodlatte means, but it’s possible he is expressing frustration with the amount of online criticism he he has been receiving from Sixth District constituents since the 2016 election and his loyal support for President Trump’s agenda. While we have no idea of the ratio of support to opposition he receives via email (he never told us how many messages of opposition he got for his efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act compared to messages of support), his Facebook page and Twitter account are filled with overwhelmingly hostile comments on his positions on health care, taxes, net neutrality and other issues.
If Goodlatte is so unhappy with internet “referendums,” you might think he would long for face-to-face contact with his constituents so he can hear and respond to their concerns directly. But of course, he wants no such thing. He hasn’t held an in-person town hall since 2013 and has shown no signs of wanting to do so again before he leaves Congress.