Tags: elections | primaries | incumbents

Our Political Class Discourages Recruitment

Our Political Class Discourages Recruitment

By with Michael R. Shannon Saturday, 24 March 2018 09:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Fellow Newsmax Insider Columnist Scott Rasmussen has done some number crunching and he reports in the 2018 midterm elections 48 congressional seats held by Democrats have no Republican opposition in the fall. On the other side of the aisle, in the districts currently held by Republicans, only nine lack a Democrat opponent.

That is worse than 2014, which, according to Roll Call, had 30 Congressmen running unopposed in the general election.

Even then many of the candidates who were running in 2016 were what Janet Shannon terms “plane crash candidates.” Meaning their only hope of victory was if a plane carrying the incumbent crashed.

USA Today bears her out as it reported in 2016 that only 40 of the 435 congressional races that year were competitive, with the rest being incumbent shoo-ins. Why is there so little competition for well-paid indoor jobs with no heavy lifting?

In a word: Gerrymandering. In our modern world voters no longer pick their congressmen. Instead the congressmen pick their voters through the redistricting process where the lines of congressional districts are drawn.

If Republicans control the state legislature, then the cartographers map the districts to pack as many GOP voters as possible into each district. If Democrats control, they do exactly the same thing. This is why congressional districts most often resemble Rorschach blots, rather than any recognizable geographic entity.

Optimists will contend that even in a heavily GOP or Democrat district there must be spirited competition in the primaries that will give voters at least some candidate choice. Unfortunately, that’s wrong, too. Incumbents have such a massive fundraising advantage that absent some scandal, challengers usually lack the resources to get their campaign off the ground.

Stalwart conservative Dave Brat’s upset primary victory over the incumbent Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia was temporarily earth-shaking for just that reason. The usual outcome of a primary challenge is defeat for the challenger as is proven by the fact that in 2016 only five incumbents lost their primary races, which is a 1.3 percent turnover rate.

If you’re getting the feeling the deck is stacked against the voter in favor of the politician, welcome to the club. It is stacked against the voter.

What’s the solution? Term limits would help because politicians wouldn’t have decades to build up war chests, name identification, and recruit tame lobbyist donors. At the very least we would have enforced turnover every few years.

Competitive district lines would encourage competition in November. The catch is who draws the maps? We know what we get when politicians do it. Giving the task to a "non-partisan" do-gooder group risks the group being captured by social justice warriors as happened to the League of Women Voters, which is now indistinguishable from the Democratic Party.

Let a computer draw the map? Then who programs the computer? Maybe the best solution would be a redistricting panel composed of an equal number of Democrat and Republican members nominated by their respective parties. Panel members could only serve for one redrawing effort. With an equal number, any maps have to appeal to at least one member of the opposing party to be approved.

It’s worth a try. I doubt that system would be any worse than what we endure now.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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If you’re getting the feeling the deck is stacked against the voter in favor of the politician, welcome to the club. It is stacked against the voter.
elections, primaries, incumbents
Saturday, 24 March 2018 09:30 AM
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