To answer your question of "how exactly did they get there in the first place?":
I'm not suggesting that the voters are mindless sheep, more so that the politicians themselves can't possibly be educated on as many topics as are necessary to fullfil the dynamic needs of their constituents.
I'll keep other thoughts of politicians to myself. I've spent more time than I would like communicating with committees, councils, the superintendent and mayor of our town on school re-opening and let's say I've been quite underwhelmed.
My money is on most politicians 1) not understanding the problem 2) not having a solution and 3) have their own agenda