2006 Election: Asses and Elephants?

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You may have thought the November elections would be about Democrats trying to unseat Republicans for a majority in the House or Senate. But, that could turn out to be only the side story. The elections this fall, according to the media and polls, are shaping up to be a battle between district gerrymandering and anti-incumbent sentiment. The gerrymandering was supposed to insure incumbents reelection. But, the polls show an ever growing anti-incumbent sentiment toward Republicans and Democrats.

This anti-incumbent sentiment could hurt Republicans more than Democrats when all is said and done for the simple reason that they hold more incumbent seats than Democrats. On the other hand, the gerrymandering in 2000 through 2004 accomodated more Republicans who held control of more of the state's gerrymandering process. But, Democrats should be very concerned when The Daily Kos at the end of January called for throwing Democratic incumbents out! Here' an excerpt:

There's a third way: let's stay in the Democratic party but let's start seriously thinking about replacing the current batch of Capitol Hill Democrats (along with the entire Democratic leadership) with a better batch. We are the shareholders here. Let's fire management and get ourselves a new one.

Asses and Elephants however, should be looking with growing concern toward the Independent voters. The PEW Research Center reports:

But the allegations swirling around Congress may be fueling the political discontent of independents, who are unhappy with Congress in general and, in many cases, with their own representative in particular.
Last month, 36% of independent voters said they don't want to see the incumbent in their district reelected. This is as high as in October 1994 (34%), shortly before the historic 1994 midterm when Democrats lost control of Congress.
Independents, often referred to as a major component of the so called 'swing vote' are showing up in the numbers as 70% opposed to the Republican dominated government's performance. This leaves a lot of room for growth in the swing vote's numbers voting anti-incumbent in November.

Sabato's Crystal Ball still sees the Senate race as rolling a boulder uphill for Democrats. However, a growing number of incumbents are dropping out. As more seats open, things become more unpredictable. Democrats need to win 6 seats in the Senate to take control. Gerrymandering is less important for Senate races however, and that is good news for some challengers especially if the anti-incumbents show up at the polls in unpredicted large numbers.

In reality, it is of little importance whether Democrats or Republicans win majorities in Congress in November, if the election turns into a referendum on incumbents as a whole. The greatest and most important outcome for America's future would be an anti-incumbent outpouring that saw Republican and Democrats dropping like flies in a sandstorm after the votes are counted. Such an outcome would serve notice to the remaining incumbents and newly elected freshmen, that the voters will have their say. And they want problems solved, and are no longer interested in the party political war of ideologies, which only serve to put America's most pressing problems in the back seat.

The 2006 elections will hopefully not be about Asses and Elephants. With luck and voter foresight, it will be an election about the American people's right to a government that solves more problems than it creates. The American people want secure borders, they want a balanced budget, they want job security, they want an end to pork barrel spending. They want an end to the practice of slipping laws that favor a few elites under reams of major legislation. They want an end to lawmaking for the benefit of the highest bidders. They want the Iraq war to end. They want their children's education to be the best in the world again. They want their children to pay less taxes than we do now, not more. They want to be assured that tomorrow will be safer, more prosperous, and more peaceful, not less.

If the American people are smart, they will dump a hundred or so incumbents in November and put the fear of the voter back into the hearts of our politicians. Then, and only then, will the American people get a government that solves more problems than it creates. A government that serves the people's needs instead of the politician's.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on March 19, 2006 1:22 AM.

What is a Billion? was the previous entry in this blog.

Bush v. The World, The Cost of Iraq is the next entry in this blog.

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