Skip to comments.Incumbents Always Win
Posted on 10/29/2014 4:51:08 AM PDT by Kaslin
I'm told that the public is "angry" at today's politicians. Eighty-two percent disapprove of the job Congress is doing. So will Tuesday's election bring a big shakeup?
No. Congressional reelection rates never drop below 85 percent.
The last big "wave" election was 1994, when Democrats lost control of both houses. The media called it a "revolution," and the late Peter Jennings from ABC likened Americans to 2-year-olds throwing a tantrum.
Even that year, the reelection rate was 90 percent.
Matt Kibbe of the group FreedomWorks and Hadley Heath Manning of Independent Women's Forum came on my show to say they don't believe that this will be the year voters "throw the bums out."
Incumbents have all sorts of built-in advantages, said Manning: "Once you're in office, you have network ties, usually with a big party organization, usually with other officeholders. You have ties to donors who have helped you in your previous round of fundraising."
In the U.S., she says, "we don't have kings, (but) we still have political dynasties."
Politicians in office game the system to make it tougher for outsiders to challenge them. They always talk about getting money out of politics. They don't mean getting taxpayer money out of their own end of politics -- all those privileges such as government mailings and websites and broadcasting facilities right in the Capitol Building. No, the money they want to limit is outsiders' money.
When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) says "this money is suffocating the airwaves, silencing the voices of the many," she means she wants to prevent private groups funding political messages that sometimes criticize people like her. Expensive TV ads might allow unknown challengers to break through. Can't have that.
Manning says Democrats who now push the idea of a Constitutional amendment to limit campaign ads "want to rig the system so that their donors are still able to give -- whether that's labor unions or people who typically support Democrats -- but they want to silence the opposition."
They make it sound as if labor union donations are a natural part of the democratic process -- but money from corporations and independent interest groups, by contrast, "interferes" with elections.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) led the charge against evil "outside" money when he got what he and reporters called campaign finance "reform" passed a dozen years ago. The Supreme Court wisely threw much of that out, because it was an attack on free speech. But there are still a million rules left -- plenty to discourage "amateurs" from attempting to participate in politics.
"The problem with campaign finance regulation is it allows for an insane amount of discretion amongst the regulators," says Kibbe. "So they can pick and choose who is punished for what. And it's really just a way to control political speech."
A better way to get new blood into politics would be term limits on elected officials.
Several states have them, and the result has been more turnover in legislatures. That's good news for taxpayers because studies show that the longer politicians are in office, the more they spend.
Saying most incumbents will win is not saying that the election doesn't matter. It does. It would be good for America if Republicans won the Senate, taking away Sen. Harry Reid's (D., Nev.) power to pass absurd farm subsidies or fatten flood insurance while blocking votes on the things such as the Keystone oil pipeline, charter school expansion and Yucca Mountain nuclear disposal.
Reid will probably lose his position as majority leader. But he'll remain in Washington with all the other big-spending blowhards -- from both parties -- who grow old and powerful there.
UPDATE: Last week I wrote that federal prosecutor Kathryn Ruemmler, part of the team of Justice Department bullies who unfairly manipulated the legal system to jail four Merrill Lynch employees, was reportedly President Obama's choice to replace Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general. A few days later, Ruemmler asked the president to withdraw her name from consideration.
Misleading statistic. Doomed incumbents retire. Extreme version was LBJ in 1968. Perhaps the most power-hungry man to hold that office up to the time of his election, but he could read the writing on the wall.
Tell that to Eric Cantor.
Exactly. This is why Chambliss didn’t seek reelection. He KNEW that he would lose in a primary here.
There are always exceptions, aren’t there?
It shows you that most retiring politicians have the good enough sense to get while the getting is good. Cantor was too wrapped up in himself and his power to realize he was out.
I think primaries have become a serious threat to RINOs, and it has caused the power structure to have to spend more money in the affected races. I think the optimum strategy for conservatives is to target the two or three worst offending RINOs and to carpet bomb them, so to speak.
As we speak, Johnny Isakson is weighing his options and scoping probably primary competition - I expect he will face a very serious challenge when his time comes due.
TRANSLATION: In the Democrats' Me-First vernacular, Nancy means she wants to prevent private groups funding political messages that criticize people like her. Nancy fears TV ads might allow unknown challengers to break through...and push people like her out of office.
“Incumbents Always Win” except when they don’t.
Mostly due to name recognition, since most voters are woefully uninformed and have never heard of the other guy (or gal).
85-90% being reelected means 10% - 15% lose, retire or die.
That turnover rate is way too low. It should be no less than 60%. Term limits or smarter voters?
Term Limits? Supreme Court says term limit laws are unconstitutional for federal office, so you would need a Constitutional Amendment. Good luck with that one.
Smarter voters? Since the Federals have taken control of public schools and dumbed down the population to the lowest common denominator. Good luck there.
The system is rigged. Term limits or electoral reform of some sort needs to be part of the Convention of the States.
I’d like to see my congressman replaced. Bobby Scott of VA. But it won’t happen this time, nobody is running against him, and the district (which stretches from Norfolk to Richmond through mostly black areas, and isn’t even contiguous) wouldn’t vote him out anyway.
Unfortunately, we got his clone - Perdue.
There are FIVE Dem Senators who are NOT running for re election this year. Therefore they are no longer “incumbents” running for the seat.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.