Monday, June 21, 2010

Anti-incumbent? No. Anti-Democrat.

I first touched on the debate of whether or not 2010 is more likely to be anti-incumbent or anti-Democrat back in November of last year. I argued that all signs were pointing towards the election being much more difficult on Democrats than incumbents in general.

I contest that it's less about a national sense of anti-incumbency, and instead a simple growing rejection of left wing policy.

What have been the major policy issues over the past ten months?

A massive, pork-laden stimulus bill, a national job crisis, and Obamacare.

These are two liberal-led policy initiatives and a job crisis firmly in the hands of the Party in power.
And now it seems I finally have some big names in political analysis coming to my side.

From the universally well-respected Stuart Rothenberg:
If this is such an “anti-incumbent” or “anti-establishment” year, then why do some — most — incumbents and establishment-backed candidates win easily? So far this year, 98 percent of Congressional incumbents seeking re-election have been renominated.

And as I have already noted, incumbency, support from Washington, D.C., or being a Member of Congress aren’t the assets this cycle that they have been in previous cycles. That is clear. But fitting every result into an exaggerated narrative doesn’t help anyone understand what is happening.

Conservatives certainly are angrier and more mobilized than I’ve seen them in years, and in many races they are lining up behind conservative candidates who criticize incumbent Republicans for not being conservative or confrontational enough.

And in a few Democratic primaries, more liberal voters and activists have taken on incumbents not identified with the party’s left (Specter and Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, for example).

But come November, we will have a rather traditional midterm election. Angry voters will turn out to vote against the party in charge. And that’s why, ultimately, 2010 will be remembered as a Republican wave election, not an anti-incumbent year.
And why are they angry? See my reasons above.

But now you can add, "disastrous management of an environmental crisis in the Gulf of Mexico" to the list. Yes, that mostly damages Obama, but what damages Obama damages the President's Party as a whole.

And that's good for Republicans. Incumbent or not.

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