Positive election prognostics from Ken Silverstein

Ken Silverstein, Washington editor at Harpers, has some good news for Dems. He’s examined the advantages of incumbency — and just maybe, that particular corrupt aspect of our system may work in their favor this year:

The scenario for the midterm elections remains grim for Democrats, but they have two factors working in their favor. First, the pathetic state of the GOP and second, and more importantly, the advantages of incumbency. In American politics, it’s nearly impossible to lose a reelection race … The main reasons for that are gerrymandered districts and the fundraising edge incumbents enjoy. “There are two parties now, the Ins and the Outs,” a congressional staffer told me. “The Ins can command huge sums of special interest money to finance their re-elections” …

As to gerrymandering, the same staffer said: “Thanks to increased computer capability and experience in drawing boundary lines, state legislatures and campaign professionals have perfected the art. There’s a whole industry dedicated to drawing district lines so politicians can pick their own voters. If you raise the requisite money to communicate with them and hit them with four weeks of ads before the election, there’s not much a challenger can do. Victory is almost mechanical.”

But just how big of an edge does incumbency offer? Take a look at the numbers (provided to me by Fair Vote)[.]

Click through for the numbers. This may not be such a bad year after all. Or, as Silverstein concludes:

So congratulations, Nancy Pelosi: You’ve headed one of the worst congresses in recent memory (except, in fairness, virtually every one that came before it) but if your colleagues listen to Edwin Edwards the results in November may not be quite as bleak as it looks now.

A ringing endorsement.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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