Incumbents Beware!

anti-incumbent vote

I don’t know about you, but the sorry state of affairs in State, Federal and some local governments has been giving me a sense that the next election will be a bad one for incumbents. Few people are happy with the performance of their elected officials. Add to that mix a stressed economy, high unemployment, what seems to be turning out to be bi-partisan “tea parties” accross the nation and growing concern for our economic future and you have a recipe for voter rebellion. At the federal level mix in the issue of health care/health insurance reform and a President who this past weekend seemed to say that we have not yet defined our mission in Afghanistan even though he has deployed more troops there and you see public confidence sliding downhill faster and faster.

Perhaps the first indicator that incumbents may not be very popular is the Democratic primary in New York City this past Tuesday. The New York Times reports under a headline of “Incumbency Fails, Cast of Newcomers to Council” that Democratic primary voters threw out at least four, and possibly six, incumbents. Note that this is Democrats tossing Democrats.In addition, there are eight open seats on the council that will be filled by first-time council members.

Could this happen at the Federal or State level? Where there are viable candidates proposing a different course than incumbents have been charting, you bet it could. Would that be healthy? It would probably be disruptive in the short term, but voters may be getting to the point of being so fed up that they just might do it.

Don’t forget, a recent poll found that 3 out of 5 California voters believe the State wastes a lot of money, only 23% trust the State government to do the right thing, and the current Governor’s popularity rating is down to only 30%. At the Federal level, polls also report public approval ratings are very low for Congress, and those of the President are trending down.  Elected officials are often treated like royalty and become accustomed to such treatment. Many of them may be in for a shock come the 2010 elections.

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.