In the pantheon of political attacks on sitting legislators, probably none is more damaging than the charge that they’ve lost touch with the people back home. If they’re in Congress, it’s usually couched as having caught “Potomac Fever”; in a state legislature, that they don’t care about the views of the people who put them in office.

The ranks of ex-legislators are filled with people who faced this. Even Abe Lincoln, who served a single term in Congress, was accused as a freshman of having lost touch with the voters in Illinois after he questioned President James K. Polk on his motives and reasoning for the Mexican War.

Lee Hamilton is a senior advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a distinguished scholar at the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies.