Evidence of voters pulled toward anti-incumbent voting is mounting. Years ago, VOID came out strongly for the proposition that the most effective anti-incumbent vote is cast in the primaries, where voter turnout is low, and the anti-incumbent vote carries a lot more weight. The potential for the primary anti-incumbent vote is huge, because voters don't have to vote for the opposition party to vote anti-incumbent. They can vote anti-incumbent in their own party's primary election. Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) was defeated Saturday, and his defeat marks only the beginning of the primary season.
Politico offers a small list of incumbents they think should be looking over their shoulders at challengers fixing to oust them through the voter's favorable disposition toward challengers in this election year. Their list includes:
- Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.),
- Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah)
- Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.)
- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
- Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.)
- Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.)
- Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.)
- Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.)
- Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.)
- Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)
The key to insuring that list grows by leaps is voter turnout; disappointment and mistrust of Congress in mind. An April 27, 2010 Wash. Post-ABC Poll indicates less than a third of all voters say they are inclined to support their representatives in November. If these potential voters don't show up to vote, however, the potential for a banner anti-incumbent year is diminished. VOID highly recommends to its members and supporters that they make a conscious effort to persuade their friends and family to turn out to vote in both the primary and general election. The higher the turnout, the greater the anti-incumbent results.
The greater the anti-incumbent results, the more likely incumbent replacements and remaining incumbents are, to view the election as a mandate that Congress must clean up its act, its budgets, its spending sprees, and its corporate and wealthy campaign donor favoritism, using the voter's tax dollars. Like George Jean Nathan once said: "Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."
Voter dissatisfaction with government is fickle. In 2000 to 2004, dissatisfaction lowered voter turnout, overall. However, in 2008, dissatisfaction dramatically increased voter turnout. I haven't seen any research on the matter, but, I suspect that voter dissatisfaction lowers voter turnout until a threshold of dissatisfaction is reached, at which point, voter turnout rises dramatically, in presidential election years. The dynamics in mid-term elections are no doubt more variable in light of the overall lower turnout compared to presidential election years.
Voter dissatisfaction today is reported to be as high or higher than in 1994 when Republicans routed Democrats. However, this is a mid-term election, and if primary results so far, are any indication, turnout is going to be lower than average in November as well. All the more incentive and reason for anti-incumbent voters to take advantage of these dynamics, and not only insure their vote is registered, but, that their family and friends turnout as well, especially if they are inclined to vote for a challenger instead of an incumbent. Remember, when voter turnout is low, the anti-incumbent vote has more effect on the numbers and statistics, and in many races, even the outcome.
When people see signs of a popular movement everywhere they look, they have a strong tendency to want to identify with that movement. That is why VOID is doing everything it can to plaster America with Vote Out Incumbent signs on car bumpers and windows, on yard signs in neighborhoods across America, and in articles in the media. The more the Vote Out Incumbents message is viewed, the more people will be motivated to take action in the primaries and general election as part of that social movement. Help us spread the word.
Get your yard sign or window/bumper stickers today. Display them prominently and proudly. Write the editor of your newspaper and tell them why you are voting anti-incumbent this year, so readers can follow your rationale. Your and our actions today can, and will, influence the actions of many more on election day.