The Occupy Wall Street movement has gone viral. The core of the movement is centered on the singular perception that it is not healthy for the nation, or majority of Americans, if 1% of the population controls the economy for their own benefit, while the other 99% experience declines in their financial and employment status. It is a perception that is nearly impossible to argue against with a straight face. Where is this movement going, however?
Congress is back in session. Oh, how the speeches are flowing on C-Span 1 and 2. Some of it sounds wonderful. All of it sounds as deeply partisan as the Grand Canyon. But, there are clues that what is to come of it all, may have some real benefit for the American people and their future. Here are some positive things I am hearing in all that 'speechifying'.
It is proving to be a bad year for incumbents, and a good year of progress for the anti-incumbent movement. The political parties won't be able to ignore it for very much longer. Here is a review of incumbent effects in the 2010 elections and what they mean for the anti-incumbent movement.
Party leaders, analysts, and political pundits are trying to make sense of the polling data, but, they simply can't. They want to predict November's race outcomes, but, they can't. The growing anti-incumbent movement is the reason.
Gallup Poll has public confidence in Congress ranking last place of all major U.S. institutions. Like we needed a poll to tell us, the voters, that.
Update: July 11, 2010. Someone named Ed emailed me today to advise that the following statement in this article is incorrect: "FlushGov states it is a for-profit site founded by a Las Vegas developer, named Stephen Allen Wynn." Ed states Wynn has nothing to do with FlushGov and that FlushGov is a non-profit web site.
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.
The objective of Vote Out Incumbents Democracy is to force Congress to act more responsibly as representatives of the American people, present and future, as well as in their role as caretakers of our nation. It isn't much, but, it is something positive to see the U.S. Senate unanimously pass a bill depriving themselves of another pay raise this year. The bill still needs to pass the House, but, the prospect is looking good. The Washington Post has the low-down.
If we keep expressing our disappointment in their performance, and back it up with our votes for challengers instead of incumbents, we leave them no choice but to accept that our votes can't be bought for anything less than responsible governance and representation of the common interests of the American people.
There are a number of so-called anti-incumbent organizations springing up on the internet. We have discovered some are not what they appear to be. A legitimate anti-incumbent, citizen supported, organization like ours, is required to register with the IRS and Federal Elections Commission (FEC) as soon as they incur $1000 in expenditures in a single year, and to operate on a not for profit basis.
The PEW research group provided an excellent history of anti-incumbent sentiment polls, demonstrating that 2010 is shaping up to be a big anti-incumbent election year.
A man by the name of Noble Wise is purportedly to ride across America on horseback over 8 months time, to promote voting out career politicians. You can get the details at DoorSetters Inc. website.
Sen. Diane Feinstein canceled a campaign fundraiser after the Roll Call published a Lobbyist's invitation to constituents inviting them to attend. The invitation to donate to Feinstein's campaign listed Feinstein's various Committee roles as meal courses on the fundraiser's luncheon menu (i.e. power on the menu to be bought).
Iran appears to have an American voting problem. They can't seem to use their vote to remove politicians from office. Regardless of how the people vote, the incumbent wins. That is the claim of many in Iran.
This afternoon, at his televised California town hall meeting, Obama said he knows folks are angry about the AIG bonuses. He said he is angry about them. He says blame is flying everywhere, at Treasury, Democrats, and Republicans. He said if folks need to blame someone, blame him. He said, ultimately, I am responsible. I am the president. All well and good as far as it goes. His words, however, don't allude to the depth of the first major black mark on his presidency.
Bi-partisanship is alive and well in Congress as Democrats and Republicans alike stepped up to the pork spending trough funded by your and my tax dollars. Seems most blogs want to focus on Obama's willingness to sign the bill, rather than your and my representatives who put the pork in there in the first place. Many incumbent Democrats and Republicans ran in 2008 on cutting wasteful spending only to renege on their promise 4 months after election. Why do we continue to reelect them?
When the electorate, predominantly Republican, will elect a Democrat, rather than their convicted felon incumbent Sen. Ted Stevens, there is hope and reason to work within the Vote Out Incumbents Democracy movement and organization. Congratulations Alaska, on narrowly doing the right thing. We empathize with the only other choice being a Democrat.
From Michigan's Supreme Court race to the many incumbent losses in the House of Representatives, to the incumbent losses in the Senate (Oregon's Smith, N. Carolina's Dole, New Hampshire's Sununu), the anti-incumbent vote made its presence very visible in this election. It was decidedly an anti-incumbent vote against the GOP. However, both major parties can no longer ignore the power of the independent voters (6% of whom decided the Democratic direction of this race), nor the power of voters exercising their right and obligation to vote out incumbents when government disappoints the voters.
The details in some of the polls now show 12% of Republicans intending to vote for Barack Obama. This reflects an anti-incumbent target bigger than individual incumbents, aimed selectively at the Republican Party itself. Given Republican control of the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007, where all spending and tax law finds its beginning, and control of the Senate from 2001 to 2007, in addition to a Republican President from 2001 to the present, and given the dire economic condition of the country and world economy today, it is no great surprise that voters would focus anti-incumbent sentiment on the Republican Party and its incumbents primarily.
Ordinarily, this would not be considered a healthy anti-incumbent movement, but yet another round of musical chairs between the duopoly parties. One can logically argue that this switching of parties does not even reflect an anti-incumbent strategy, or movement. But, as with many logical arguments, that conclusion may prove to be false, if one or more of the premises is proven false. An explanation is in order.
It is a terrible year for America's economy. But, it may prove to be a great year for some challengers across the country. From civil service pensions thrown into jeopardy by squeezed state budget shortfalls, to the 3/4 trillion dollar credit bailout of financial institutions, challengers have never had a better platform upon which to challenge incumbents responsible for the failures to prevent these perilous events.
Congress' disapproval ratings now in the mid to high 70% range. But who thinks 70% of Congressional incumbents will be unelected this November? (See graphs below). No one! What is this incredible disconnect all about?
I received the following email from Jim in Florida:
Dear Editor of V.O.I.D.
Let me preface the remainder of this correspondence by stating I am an avid fan of VOID's political commentary and insight.
I thought you should know about one incumbent Congressman here in Florida that more than deserves a "V.O.I.D. Tag" as ripe for being ousted from office.
In light of the fact Florida's 23rd Congressional District contains some of the poorest cities and towns in the State of Florida with over 25% of the population barely surviving at or below the poverty level, 16 year incumbent Congressman Alcee "Corruptocrat" Hastings has spent the campain contributions he has received on "Flowers for Consituents" as well as Fine Dining at Upscale Hotels and Florida Resorts (according to FEC Disbursement Reports).
Hastings spent over $15,000.00 on Flowers, all purchased from one Florist in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, specifically "The Bashful Daisy" (strange spending eh?).
He also spent over $60,000.00 on Fine Dining & Catering, mostly spent at the luxurious Westin Resort & Country Club, Westin Florida.
Hastings' Democratic Challenger Dr. Ray Torres Sanchez (D), is on a "David v. Goliath" quest to oust incumbent Hastings during the upcoming August 26th Primary, but it is a politically heavy lift.
The supporting information can be found at: http://raytorressanchezforcongress2008.com/hastingsdiet.html
In closing, I'm wondering if V.O.I.D. would consider providing internet commentary on the aforementioned, to help replace Alcee Hastings with a new Congressman that I'm more than certain you would approve of ?
Jim in West Palm Beach FL
[Editors Note: VOID is a non-affiliated, non-partisan organization. Views of those submitting letters to the editor are posted only to reflect the views of the VOID supporter submitting the letter to the editor. VOID does not endorse any specific candidates for elected office.]
I have been informed and checked out a new anti-incumbent web site. It is very nicely done and provides very good coverage of the current event issues that warrant voters critically evaluating the vote for or against their representative this November.
The site is called "Good Bye Incumbents" and it is a very well laid out and easy site to read and navigate. My only criticism is they don't permit comments to their column articles. It is however a great information site with lots of photos for those who need them to keep the visual interest and attention span going. Very well done. Congratulations to Jack Walsh, the site designer. And welcome Jack to the anti-incumbent movement.
UPDATE: Jack Walsh has implemented comments to his articles on his site. Good move. Check it out.
Nelson Walker sent us the following email of interest:
Hi guys and gals, from tenurecorrupts.com
Now that the latest political buzzword is 'CHANGE', I guess I'm gonna have to get on the bandwagon...
I say the CHANGE that is needed in our country is to end the permanent status quo in Congress.
How many of you realize that the average reelection rate in the House of Representatives is over 98% ? And in the Senate it is over 92% ?
Do you really, really think that Congress does such a good job that it deserves to be reelected over and over again, ad infinitum ? Something is wrong !
Doesn't this sound like Congress has a real need for CHANGE ?
Since they are not likely to ever let us term limit them, we have to do it ourselves. And it is easy to do. We simply have to NEVER REELECT THEM !
During this Presidential Election, vote for whoever you want for president. But when it comes to your members of Congress in either House, or either party, vote only for challengers, never for incumbents.
If we succeed in knocking down their reelection rates to the low 70 or 80 percentile rates, they will get the message and let us have a constitutional amendment for term limits for Congress.
Now THAT would be REAL CHANGE !!!
--Nelson Walker, TenureCorrupts.Com
The following list was found at DefendUSA covering high profile government corruption from 2002 through 2005. But, the corruption continues in Washington with billions and billions of U.S. dollars stolen and misappropriated in Iraq, enormous losses to taxpayers as a result of continuing no-bid contracts, and the ever so subtle tactics of replacing taxes with user fees and stealing from our children's wages taxes for national debt being accumulated today. Not to mention Alaska's Jim Clark guilty plea, La. Dem. Jefferson's ongoing indictment, and this February's indictment of Rep. Rick Renzi (R) for extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other charges related to a land deal in Arizona.
The Primaries and Caucuses are the primary place for anti-incumbent voters to register their initial anti-incumbent vote. Far too many American voters assume the main ballot entry is for President. It is not. Take a look at how many seats are up for grabs in my own district. Your district has very similar ballot options for the Primary election. To vote anti-incumbent means voting for the challengers, and the place to do that first is in the Primary elections.
I am back in the swing of Googling the terms '2008 anti-incumbent' to take the pulse of the movement. The term is being bandied about many more folks than in previous cycles this decade. That's a good thing. But, their commentaries seem to miss the mark. They use the anti-incumbent term to support their incumbents, their incumbent party, or their incumbent ideological wishful dreams.
However, their comments don't reflect a genuine understanding of the anti-incumbent movement; obvious by their numerous references to an anti-incumbent mood. Mood and movement are two entirely different things. VOID is the only legitimate anti-incumbent movement, and all others miss the mark entirely as demonstrated in following paragraphs and quotes.
Tom Blakely's article at The Hill, Analysis: Incumbents At Risk This Year, is making the rounds at publications like Newsweek and Politico. But, we have seen such articles in past elections, and the risk was not realized. Blakely is marking one race, and writing about voter sentiment. But, VOID members know, it will take more than individual sentiments to make an anti-incumbent sentiment produce an anti-incumbent movement at the polls. It will take the growth of the VOID organization to contact and organize voters in that direction knowing they are acting in concert with each other by the millions.
The Rothenberg Political Report says:
Democratic voters are angry with Congress now for not taking Bush on strongly enough over the war in Iraq. That explains why Congress' job ratings are so low. But that anger is likely to dissipate, and it is difficult to imagine Democrats (or even independents) voting against Democratic House incumbents merely to make a point.
H.R. 4088, The SAVE Act of 2007 (Secure America with Verification and Enforcement, [pdf] is an outstanding piece of bipartisan legislation. No amnesty provisions; this Bill puts border security and enforcement of existing and new laws as the number one priority. Largely developed and co-sponsored by freshman Congresspersons, this Bill is the best evidence yet, that voting out incumbents can bring the changes that America needs.
The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed comments today with the Federal Elections Commission opposing a new attempt by Members of Congress to circumvent McCain-Feingold, correctly known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, by raising soft money for ballot initiatives.
Just another reason to vote out these incumbents who continuously put power and politics ahead of the people and the nation.
In the clearest sign yet that the 2008 elections will continue the growth of the anti-incumbent sentiment, a new Reuters / Zogby poll demonstrates Americans are extremely disappointed in current politicians, but, hopeful about the future. Logically, that sentiment portends removing more of the current politicians and bringing in new ones campaigning on change.
Our politicians just can't seem to resist throwing tax payer's dollars away and increasing the national debt. You are not going to believe this. They can't seem to get much else right, either.
Stephen Barr writes about the President's advisory board on federal employees pay having recommended a 2.5% across the board pay raise for the coming year. So, what do you think Pres. Bush and Congress do with that information? Reject it, of course, and propose a 3% and 3.5% raise respectively, instead.
Mississippi is a state with a tradition of almost never voting out incumbents. Change is not a positive word in Mississippi politics, traditionally. But, Katrina altered that in a big way. A record number of incumbents are losing their primary races to challengers as Mississippians have recognized the value and power of their vote to remove incompetence, ineptitude, and corruption from offices of power.
The Clarion Ledger has the details in their article, Anti-incumbent sentiment throws out some veterans.
In a bizarre bit of irony, the Wash. Times reports, the GOP, unseated in 2006 by an anti-incumbent wave, is being told by Republican Pollster Frank Luntz, to embrace the anti-incumbent wave and use it now against Democrats, in light of Congress' 18% approval rating.
Increasingly, a measure by which many Independent voters determine whether or not to vote for an incumbent or their challenger, is based on who is funding their campaign, and in what amount. One American hero is largely responsible for the public having that ability. His name is Fred Wertheimer. It is a name VOID supporters, Independents, and all voters concerned with responsible, ethical, and accountable government should get acquainted with.
This YouTube video of Dick Cheney on invading Iraq in 1994 is absolutely unbelievable considering his diametrically opposite lies and deceptions after becoming Vice President. His defenders say his 1994 views on how invading Iraq would be the greatest of mistakes and lead us to a quagmire with no exit, was altered by 9/11. But, that is both false and illogical. Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11.
When the so called "Immigration Bill" died on the Senate floor last week, as it should have according to polls, Congress threw up their hands and literally abdicated responsibility for fixing the problem. It is as if Congress is saying to the American public, "OK, you didn't like what we tried to shove your way, now live with nothing being done about border security or illegal immigration. We will show you." This is not acceptable.
One of VOID's supporters, Nelson Walker, has a video on YouTube, you may want to check out if term limits appeals to you. VOID takes no position one way or another on term limits, but, many of VOID's supporters sincerely believe term limits are the best way to prevent politicians from becoming corrupted by their positions of power. If you are a supporter of Term Limits, check out Walker's YouTube video, and receive a free bumper sticker advocating term limits.
Pres. Bush wants our soldiers to fight Iraq's civil war with them. Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has a vested interest in seeing the numbers of our soldiers fighting his battles grow, not decrease. A very large number of Iraqi's believe a lot of the violence is due to America's presence in Iraq. If, however, our presence is reduced, then al-Maliki becomes the person to blame for violence, not the Americans.
Independent parties are springing up like dandelions after a warm Spring rain. Some are very religiously based spin offs of the Constitution Party like the Independent American Party and the American Independent Party of California. Some take a very non-ideological approach like the oldest Independent Party which has been around since 1934. And some are very democratic (small 'd') oriented, focusing intensely on restoring democratic processes and principles, like the Independence Party of New York.
An opinion piece in the NY Times, reports:
This is what happens when governments hide their money under a rock: On the eve of what is supposed to be a new day in Albany, another New York state senator has been indicted, this time charged with diverting to his own pocket more than $400,000 in state money that he earmarked for charities in his district.
State Senator Efrain González Jr., a Democrat from the Bronx, has told reporters that he is innocent of charges that he routed the funds to such things on the prosecutor's list as his cigar company, his daughter's college tuition, jewelry, home renovations and Yankee tickets. Mr. González is scheduled for arraignment today and is said to be looking forward to his day in court.
After spending 10 hours glued to the TV watching the election results, it became obvious none of the politicians, or the pundits for that matter, understood what was taking place. The change in leadership in the House of Representatives, and likely the Senate, was a result of a growing anti-incumbent movement amongst voters, which decided to hold incumbents responsible for lack of results and solutions to America's growing list of problems.
By 2:15 AM this morning, the spin had already begun. James Carville (D) said this was not an anti-incumbent election, but an anti-Republican one. Halley Barbour (R) said this switching of parties was just part of the cycle, which voters go through every 12 to 16 years. Others said this was all about Iraq. But, they missed the central theme of yesterday's elections.
- Charley Reese, a syndicated columnist for LewRockwell.com has written an excellent article on the rationale for voting out incumbents, entitled: Incumbents Out.
We at VOID thank Mr. Reese for adding his voice to the Vote Out Incumbents mission and goal of restoring efficiency, integrity, and responsibility to our government.
Anti-incumbent fever, aimed mostly at Republicans, seems to be continuing to gain momentum. If Republican incumbents in Kentucky are in trouble, then perhaps no incumbent Republican is safe. According to a WHAS-TV-sponsored SurveyUSA poll Democratic challenger John Yarmuth has edged ahead of incumbent Republican Anne Northup.
Jack Cafferty hosted a CNN special entitled "Broken Government" this evening. In that show, he called for ousting ALL incumbents in response to our broken government. We thank you Jack for adding your voice to the VOID mission and highlighting our strategy to replace ineffective, corrupt, and irresponsible incumbents who have broken our government and lied about what they were doing every inch of the way.
Among others, some of the evidence of our broken government which Jack cited are: skyrocketing debt, broken and unaccountable voting systems, war based on lies, lack of resources and commitment to win the war, open borders 5 years after 9/11, corruption rampant throughout Congress, corruption in the White House with no bid contracts and hidden projects, illegal immigration without action, and defiance and circumvention of our Constitution by the highest leaders in our government.
Certainly sounds like Jack Cafferty has been reading our web site. Thanks again, Jack. We appreciate very much your taking our Vote Out Incumbents message to prime time TV. It is about time.
In a poll conducted by Zogby International for the Buffalo News since the revelations of the Foley scandal 50% of those voters polled think less favorably regarding Representative Reynolds than they did before the scandal.
Other poll results show soft support for Foley from Republicans, where he leads only by a 50 to 30 percent score. The converse being that 30% of Republicans polled favored the challenger, Democrat Jack Davis. The overall numbers show Davis leading Reynolds 48% to 33. For further breakdown of the poll numbers, click here.
The latest USA Today/Gallup poll shows a continuing downward trend in incumbency support. This poll shows that voters' support for their incumbent representative is rapidly approaching the 50% mark, down from 63 to 57% in the latest polling, while exactly 50% feel that incumbents overall deserve reelection.
According to an Oct. 2nd poll by the Lycoming College Polling Institute, incumbent Representative Don Sherwood is trailing in the 10th Congressional District race by nearly 10 points to Democratic challenger Christopher Carney. To me one of the more compelling numbers in their breakdown as published in KeystonePolitics.com is that Carney had 26% of the Republican vote. Can we conclude from that number that there's anti-incumbent sentiment in that district?
The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that approval of the job done by Congress is at its lowest in a decade, 32%, and that Americans now trust Democrats over Republicans by 19%. Is this indicative of anti-incumbent sentiments or anti-majority?
Pollster John Zogby's analysis of the latest Reuters/Zogby polling indicates that born-again Christians polled 15-20% less likely to vote Republican in races currently lead by Democrats, but that Democrats are not getting that bump. Read more of his analysis in Undecided America - Key to Control of Congress?
With only about 4 weeks until the general election on November 7, the Ohio senate race pitting Republican incumbent Mike DeWine and his Democratic challenger Congressman Sherrod Brown is not looking good for the incumbent.
There may be a huge backfiring strategy in play in many states and districts. The Washington Post writes about a strategy by both the DNC and RNC to bring voters who don't care about any candidates on the ballot to the polls using ballot initiatives. The hope is that these candidate neutral voters will show up to vote on initiatives like banning smoking, limiting taxes, or stem cell research, in the hope that by virtue of their affinity with that conservative or liberal initiative, they will also vote party ticket for the conservative or liberal candidate.
This has all the makings of a whopping backfire in an election climate of huge anti-incumbent sentiment. These ballot initiatives may very well bring out far more anti-incumbent voters who otherwise would have stayed home for lack of appeal to either of the candidates. If this ballot initiative strategy is as ill-conceived a strategy as I think it is, we could actually see some surprise reversals in some races, where the anti-incumbent voter's turnout became far higher than strategists expected, thanks to the ballot initiatives.
Incumbent Clay Shaw Jr. (R-FL) has seen his lead over Democratic challenger State Senator Ron Klein evaporate. Senator Klein leads Shaw 43 to 42 percent in the most recent poll by Anzalone Liszt Research. The poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.
Ohio incumbent Senator Mike DeWine's (R) poll numbers show his seat to be in potential jeopardy against Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown. This is according to a new Mason Dixon poll. While the poll shows them virtually tied, the unfavorable numbers for DeWine are souring against Brown's.
The key to this race is likely to be the votes of independents. In this poll, Brown leads among independents by a 52 percent to 33 percent margin.
The latest Mason Dixon poll of the Senate race in Montana shows Republican incumbent Conrad Burns trailing his Democratic opponent Jon Tester by a 47 percent to 40 percent margin. 3 percent support a third party candidate and 10 percent undecided. Margin of error is 3%. Montana is a traditionally Republican state.
MSNBC reports on a new Mason Dixon poll, the most highly regarded polling organization in the country, which shows incumbent Republican Senator George Allen losing huge ground to Democratic challenger Jim Webb. In July, Sen. Allen held a 16 point lead over Webb. Today, they are in a dead heat at 43% each.
This could become one of the 6 seats Democrats need to take control of the U.S. Senate.
The Washington Post reports internal polling has incumbent John Hostettler (R) trailing not only in the polls, but, significantly in fund raising as well. The challenger, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) who is spending some of his larger fundraising on radio advertising, appears to gaining traction with those ads as he moves ahead in the polls for District 8.
This would may be one of the 15 seats Democrats are hoping for to take control of the House of Representatives.
A recent MSNBC/McClatchy poll finds the contest between Republican incumbent George Allen and Democrat James Webb tied with both men polling at 43%. This is a significant setback for the Republicans, who at one time saw Allen leading in the polls by as much as 16 percent.
The race for the US Senate seat for Pennsylvania currently occupied by Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) is looking very promising for anti-incumbent advocates. Democratic challenger Bob Casey, has opened a 12 point marigin according to the latest Qunnipiac University poll of likely voters.
MSNBC has an article about the anti-incumbent sentiment which includes a number of quotes from voters. MSNBC's article, Anti-incumbent Sentiment Widespread, projects a stage set for another rout at the polls on Nov. 7, as anti-incumbent poll numbers at this time are greater than in 1994, which swept Republican challengers into the majority of Congress.
CBS News reports that the spot for US Senator for New Jersey that is currently occupied by Robert Menendez is a toss up according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll. Republican challenger Thomas Kean Jr., the son of popular former New Jersey Tom Kean, has moved into a 48% - 45% lead with only a few weeks left until the November election. The poll has a 3.5 percent margin of error.
The senate seat held by Conrand Burns (R-Montana) looks promising for anti-incumbent advocates this November. Senator Burns has fallen behind his challenger, Jon Tester (D), by 9 points. Tester - is at 52%, while the incumbent, Burns - is at 43%.
Allison Stevens, Washington Bureau Chief for Women's News writes: Anti-Incumbent Mood May Aid Women in 66 Primaries.
New poll shows dramatic increases in anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the nation. The corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence of our federal government and the nation have finally awakened the sleeping giant that was the silent masses, if these polls are at all accurate. Fox News found similar results in their poll reported on Aug. 11.
The big question is how this sentiment will carry through the "Hoodwink Cycle in Full Spin Mode" and into the ballot booths on Nov. 7. Some very strange things are happening. Democrats are running competitive races in places like Wyoming and Idaho, where 30% of the vote used to be considered good for a Democrat. Similar results in reverse can be found in some Southern Democratic strongholds like Louisiana. Harold Ford Jr. even appears to have a shot at being the first black Senator from his state.
I discovered a very finely reasoned article on the anti-incumbency movement which references VOID at the Independent Voter Project. James Leroy Wilson, the author, really did a fine job of making the case. Check it out.
Assoc. Press' M.L. Johnson wrote an article entitled, Conservative Group Sets Sights on Chafee. In it, Johnson writes:
Fresh off their first victory over a Republican incumbent, GOP conservatives seeking party purity on taxes and spending are focused on ousting moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.
Ned Lamont has won the Democratic primary election to run as the party's Senate candidate on November's ballot. With 97% of the vote counted, Lamont held a lead by less than 3.5%. My mild disappointment is not that Lamont won, but the small margin. If Connecticut were in the throes of an anti-incumbent fever, Lamont would have won over Sen. Joseph Lieberman by a landslide. On the flip side, another incumbent lost tonight, Rep. Cynthia McKinney lost her bid.
I will go on record now and say, November's race between Lamont as Democrat, and Lieberman as Democratic Independent, will go one of two ways. Either, Lamont will succeed in painting Lieberman as a divider of Connecticut and the Democratic Party, and a man who doesn't like playing by the party's rules. Or, Lieberman will succeed with a lot of help from Independent and Republican voters who see more conservative prospects from Sen. Joe than their own Republican candidate (who has little chance in this predominantly Democratic state). You can hold me to this call.
Over at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, David Wasserman and Larry J. Sabato
of the U.Va. Center for Politics, write: "To be certain, the 2006 midterm election cycle promises to feature the most strongly anti-incumbent mood since 1994, a fact Republicans might argue cuts both ways, though the Crystal Ball maintains it will disproportionately debilitate the ruling party."
The evidence I am seeing in the polls confirms this view. However, in the Sabato article entitled: The 2006 Midterms: Guilt by Association?, Wasserman and Sabato indicate victory for Democrat majority in one or both houses of Congress may depend on their ability to link their GOP opponents to Bush policy and doctrine. While that may or may not be true, I believe this view masks an underlying extreme dissastisfaction on the part of voters toward Congress regardless of party. Further, it masks the poll results showing a dramatic numeric rise in self-identified independent voters, and an exodus of voters from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Byron has a fine article entitled, Political Changes are Possible this Year. He does an excellent job of talking up the fact that it will only take a small number of us to make a world of difference in November's elections. I will quote his first paragraph, but, I recommend reading his short essay.
The reason it is possible is that just 5 - 10% of us voting in concert could swing almost every Congressional seat up for grabs in the November election. Most races are decided by less than 5% of the total vote; therefore a few percent of us basing our votes on a single criterion could control the outcome of most congressional contests.
I discovered an outstanding political information web site, founded by political leaders of all persuasions like Michael Dukakis, Barry Goldwater, Geraldine Ferraro, and John McCain. Your vote in November and elections to come, could not be more important to the future of your community, state, our nation, or the world. Huge problems lie ahead. Making this year's vote decision an intelligent one requires, like all intelligent decisions, reliable, truthful, and factual information. There is no better site for acquiring that information than Project Vote Smart.
On the issues you care about most, is your incumbent representative a keeper? Or does your incumbent deserve a VOID at the ballot box? The answer can be found at Project Vote Smart. Major issues, and how your incumbent voted on them, what the issues were/are, and how the bills to be voted on were constructed are all essential information to determining if your incumbent is to be VOIDed or kept. It's all here at Project Vote Smart.
Warning: do not expect to acquire this information in 2 minutes at their site. They cover all the incumbents, and major issue bills, which will require you to download a pdf file or two, and looking up the information by district or representative or issue bill. But, it will be an invaluable 10 or 15 minutes spent acquiring the essential information needed to cast an intelligent vote this November and beyond.
Donna Cassata of the AP, writes about a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll in which voters prefer Democrats to Republicans this November. In her article it states:
The AP-Ipsos survey asked 789 registered voters if the election for the House were held today, would they vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district. Democrats were favored 51 percent to 40 percent.
Not surprisingly, 81 percent of self-described liberals said they would vote for the Democrat. Among moderates, though, 56 percent backed a Democrat in their district and almost a quarter of conservatives - 24 percent - said they will vote Democratic.
The Washington Post writes in an article today entitled: Lawmaker Criticized for PAC Fees Paid to Wife
In the past two years, campaign and political action committees controlled by Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) paid ever-larger commissions to his wife's one-person company and spent tens of thousands of dollars on gifts at stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. and a Ritz-Carlton day spa.
The use of such committees, especially "leadership" PACs, for purposes other than electing politicians to Congress is a common and growing phenomenon, but campaign finance watchdogs say Doolittle has taken it to new heights.
Sen. Joe Lieberman is willing to run anyway he can. And he is willing to reject the voter's choice at the Democratic primary in Connecticut, if necessary, to preserve his incumbency. He says he is doing it for the good of the people.
If the voters choose Liberman's challenger in the primary, Ned Lamont, Sen. Lieberman announced he will reject the voter's choice and run in November as an independent. This is precisely the kind of behavior that demonstrates how little respect far too many incumbents have for our political system, our democracy, and our government. Winning is everything, and everyone else's concerns are secondary.
In a somewhat biased article, Paul Rogat Loeb, writes about Lieberman's loyalties. Loeb's article misses the mark though, pointing to Lieberman's loyalty to the Republican leadership, when reality appears to reflect Lieberman's loyalty to the preservation of his own power, regardless of which party's voters he must pander to.
David Shribman wrote one of the most honest and politically neutral reviews of current political polls I have read in years in an article entitled: Public Disgust With Congress May Show in Elections. Here is a quote:
Right now (considering the Vermont independents as Democrats for the purpose of this conversation), the Republicans have a 29-seat bulge in the House and a 10-seat bulge in the Senate. That is, to be sure, a fair amount of ground to make up. But it's not out of the question that we could look back in the fall and say that the groundwork for revolution on Capitol Hill had been prepared by the spring.
AP story at Examiner.Com reports a new challenger some will recognize in an article titled: Va. to Hold Primary Race for Senate Seat.
Republican-turned-Democrat James Webb, a former Reagan administration Navy secretary, is seeking the nomination for Senate on Tuesday in a bruising primary battle against a Democratic Party stalwart.
The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) has written an article this week calling for the pull out of Iraq. Whether or not you believe we should pull out in an orderly way, it is significant that the CSM is changing its stance. This may portend the Iraq War playing heavily against incumbents in November's elections. To date, high profiled Christian publications have backed the war in Iraq. This marks a potentially significant change in a high profile Christian media position.
This week saw 8 states run primaries. While it would have been great news if all incumbents lost to challengers, the fact that this did not occur says little about November's elections. The reasons are simple, few voters vote in primaries and those who do tend to be party loyalists. Republicans and Democrats are makiing hay of the results, but, its all fluff and little substance at this point.
Many Democrats and Republicans argue a democracy cannot lead to tyranny by definition. But, I would counter with the following current facts and reality demonstrating how wrong they are:
Elect means 'to choose'. Hence democratic elections MUST by definition provide voters with a choice. However, the reality is the voters in America have no choice in vastly increasing numbers of so called elections. Here is case in point. From the Boston Globe on Massachusett's coming elections:
The NY Times reports on May 19 - "For months, even in the face of an avalanche of bad news for Republicans, Democratic ambitions for capturing Congress have collided with an electoral map created to protect Republicans from ouster. Despite polls showing rising support for Democrats and scorn for Republicans, analysts have said Democratic hopes for big gains remain remote, because so few seats are in contention. That appears to be changing.
Over the past week, a handful of once-safe Republican Congressional seats have come into play, and other Republican incumbents are facing increasingly stiff re-election battles, according to analysts, pollsters and officials in both parties. The change amounts to a slight but significant shift in the playing field, and a potentially pivotal change in the dynamics of this midterm election."
Republicans blame Democrats. Democrats blame Republicans. Nothing gets fixed.
* running for political office yourself
Liberty Post has an article on how Republicans are replacing GOP incumbents with new Republicans. This is very encouraging news for our democracy and for ending the corruption, and abuse of office including the deficits and debt now completely out of control. Appears Republican primary voters are demanding incumbents return their hijacked party back to true conservative Republicans. Thank you Republican voters for kicking some GOP incumbent ass, and finally demanding your conservative values be restored to your party.
Here is an article about the anti-incumbent movement in Pennsylvania entitled: Voters may use primary for payback: Uproar over legislative pay raise puts some incumbents in danger.
Ashley Tate has a great article called Vote None of the Incumbents here. Way to go Ashley.
Indie Castle's James Leroy Wilson has an article Against Incumbents of Both Parties, which touts the virtues of Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy.
Thank you James.
Washington Post has an excellent map of the races for Senate and House and where the major contests are likely to fall.
The sweep of the House in 1994 by Republicans by a gain of 54 seats demonstrates how fragile the GOP's hold is on the House this November with Democrats only needing 15 seats to take control. Given polls and public sentiment, it is appearing more and more as if a number of incumbents will be getting the boot in November, IF voters turn out to vote.
USATODAY.com News - Top Stories: "The poll showed Democrats leading 54%-39% among registered voters who were asked which party they would prefer in a congressional race."
Now that is what you call Anti-incumbent Sentiment. Be sure to spread some of it around to the Democrats as well, and we just might actually get better government for our tax dollar. -- Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy.
Instapundit has this:
The playground bully in the Senate _ the Appropriations Committee _ actually took a loss last week at the hands of senators determined to strip so-called pork barrel projects from a bill that's supposed to be devoted to the war in Iraq and hurricane relief.
And the House this week will vote on requiring members to attach their names to "earmarks" _ those hometown projects slipped into spending bills. The idea is that the sunshine of public scrutiny will mean fewer wasteful, silly sounding projects like $500,000 for a teapot museum in Sparta, N.C.
The Washington Post has an article about the effects of energy prices already fueling anti-incumbent sentiment. And these prices are only going to get worse over the summer.
"This is ridiculous," said Jackie Tarone, a retired homemaker and Bush voter who was filling up a Mercedes SL500. "The oil companies keep giving money to the politicians to keep them in there -- that's the way the system works. It's a shame."
Hard to say if she will vote against her incumbent representative, but, compared to blue collar workers taking the hit at the pump just to keep their low wages coming in, or small business owners struggling to keep their bills paid, Ms. Tarone is doing good to keep her Mercedes.
CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer, wrote Sunday:
NEW ORLEANS - Contrary to speculation that incumbents could be thrown out wholesale after Hurricane Katrina, voters on Saturday held steady for many of the leaders they had before the disaster.
Old habits die hard, apparently.
The Christian Science Monitor writes about possible warning signs of economic trouble ahead, partly due to Congress.
The economy is switching from an expansion led by husky consumer spending to one led by business investment, says economist Nicocles Michas of Alexandros Partners LLC in Waltham, Mass. He sees the rate of real growth falling to a low 2 percent later this year. Then foreigners could become "more cautious" with investing in dollar-denominated bonds, etc. The dollar could tumble, interest rates rise, and stock-market prices could weaken.
Not to mention the huge increase in taxes resulting from rising interest rates on our coming 11 Trillion dollar national debt, and the effect that could have on finding new foreign investors to float our riskier national debt. It is debatable whether the President has done enough to resolve our foreign trade deficits. But, there is little question anymore that the President and Congress are directly responsible for our national debt climbing to 11 Trillion dollars, double its 1999 level, by the end of the President's term. BTW, the 11 Trillion is a conservative estimate.
ABC News reports: "Newt Gingrich Worries About GOP Chances in November, Saying Americans Seem to Want Change"
Newt Gingrich was certainly right the last time he saw America ripe for change in power. But it is my hope Democrats too feel the sting of losing 10% or more of their incumbents to a VOID vision spreading among voters throughout the land. No other single event will have the same potential to motivate bi-partisan real life solutions to our nation's problems. No other election event or outcome holds the same promise for Congress solving more problems than it creates.
I just heard Chris Matthews report on the Scarborough Show on MSNBC, that Rep. Tom DeLay will announce tomorrow that he will not seek reelection in November. The poll numbers no longer give him a 50-50 chance given the trials he will be going through between now and then.
This is a victory for the anti-incumbent sentiment that is growing across the country and being reflected in poll after poll. Some folks here at Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy should be dancing a jig tomorrow, as the organization is all about forcing politicians who put government up for sale to the highest bidder out of office. As a member of that organization, I see this as a small victory for the movement.
The RNC and DNC will be paying far more attention to independents this year than ever before or, they will regret it in a number of key races. These last 5 years have seen a huge growth in Independent voter organizations springing up at the state level, and now there is CUIP, Committee for a Unified Independent Party. Watch Out, they are growing.
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is bowing to political pressure and ignoring evidence that one of the nation's biggest utilities, Southern Company, is using anticompetitive practices in blatant violation of FERC regulations, a FERC investigator and Government Accountability Project (GAP) client charged today. The whistleblower, Rich Heidorn, Jr., today also filed a Whistleblower Protection Act retaliation complaint charging that he has been exiled from the case for challenging the underlying breach of public trust.
The above was cited from, and can be read in full at, the Government Accountability Project at WhistleBlower.Org. Incumbents are responsible for supporting the system that allows these political pressures to bend and break laws for political expedience.
Sabato's Crystal Ball site (highly recommended) has an excellent article on potential upset districts to watch during 2006 primaries, now underway, and in November.
2006 is shaping up to be a battle between redistricting (favoring incumbents) and anti-incumbent senitment as much as between Republicans and Democrats.
Sabato's Crystal Ball still sees Senate as rolling boulder uphill for Democratic majority. But, as more seats open, things become more unpredictable. Democrats need to win 6 seats in the Senate to take control. Gerrymandering is less important for Senate races however, and that is good news for some challengers especially if the anti-incumbents show up at the polls in unpredicted large numbers.
But the allegations swirling around Congress may be fueling the political discontent of independents, who are unhappy with Congress in general and, in many cases, with their own representative in particular.
Student Voices, Philadelphia reports:
At least 11 Philadelphia legislators face opposition in the May 16 primary, the largest number of intraparty challenges since 1988.
But the deadline for candidates to seek spots on the May primary ballot passed yesterday without the widespread anti-incumbent fervor described in other parts of the state.
Out of 26 state House and Senate members seeking re-election, it appears fewer than half will face primary challenges, according to an unofficial list of candidates posted on the Internet last night by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
I have seen other signs around the country that the anti-incumbent movement may be limited by a lack of challengers. A lack of challengers means voters staying at home for want of a candidate to vote for.
The Daily Kos at the end of January called for throwing Democratic incumbents out! Here' an excerpt:
There's a third way: let's stay in the Democratic party but let's start seriously thinking about replacing the current batch of Capitol Hill Democrats (along with the entire Democratic leadership) with a better batch. We are the shareholders here. Let's fire management and get ourselves a new one.
RhodesCook.Com has an excellent page with charts and dates for the nation's Primary races.
The size and strength of Hurricane Katrina resulted in one of the largest natural disasters in our nation's history. Unfortunately, the catastrophe raised major questions about our nation's readiness and ability to respond both in a timely and organized manner. Four major issues have emerged from the Government Accountability Office's recent preliminary work:
A majority of the Senators on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Reform Committee rejected the Collins-Lieberman proposal to create an Office of Public Integrity in Congress. Thank you to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) for their outstanding leadership. Also, Senator Barak Obama (D-IL) proposed the creation of a Congressional Ethics Enforcement Commission, an alternative solution to control our Congress' unethical actions.
Using the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles standard of accounting, as most American businesses must use, the recent years' U.S. budgets were far worse than what the politicians have been saying they were. For 2005, the deficit was really $760 billion. For 2004, it was $616 billion.
Our federal government's fiscally-irresponsible spending spree in the last few decades has resulted in a lowing of the United States' financial standing with the rest of the global economy.
A business tax credit originally put into law in 1980, has been abused by the synthetic-fuel industry to fleece the American taxpayers billions of dollars each year! From 2003 through 2005, TIME magazine estimates the synfuel industry raked in $9 billion in tax credits. Intended at the beginning to help the United States become more energy independent, lobbyists are now spending millions per year perpetuating the scam.
Washington is "broken" right now, according to former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Michael Powell; he says the current "brutal partisanship" dims the chance for political leadership in many arenas.
According to the Congressional Ethics Coalition, an ideologically diverse group of leading government reform organizations, the scandal surrounding lobbyist Jack Abramoff is one of the biggest issues facing the 109th Congress. Yet both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate ethics committees say they have no plans to investigate!
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The main game for our representatives in Washington, and in states, too, is to remain in office. This corrupts the legislative and executive decision making process.
Ruy Teixeira at Mother Jones writes the following.
"What it means, though, is that the GOP is unlikely to get dislodged unless an intense anti-incumbent mood moves a significant number of races from the noncompetitive to competitive category. Could that happen? Possibly. Because one thing that does seem to be developing is just such an intense anti-incumbent mood unlike anything seen in American politics since-you guessed it-1994."
I found this excellent web site called OpenSecrets.org, which displays graphically one of the major reasons incumbents win. Follow the PAC money. (Note, the data is from 2002 but the money volume has only increased since then.)
As of January 26, 2006, our national debt was $8,190,567,748,779.48-- that's $8.191 trillion. Yet the US national debt 'ceiling' stands at $8.184 trillion - a full seven billion dollars less. Although our congress has been called upon by US Treasury Secretary John Snow, it has not passed an expansion of the debt ceiling, and so the US government is now operating in technical default.
Nearly a dozen House and Senate members who control federal spending, have hired lobbying veterans to raise campaign funds for them in return for lucrative favors. These favors, or "earmarks", have become so consuming to our incumbents seeking re-election, that they are neglecting their official duties.
Our long-term United States budget forecast is gloomy, particularly if President Bush and Congress agree to extend the tax cuts ready to expire after 2010; Bush wants Congress to make the tax cuts permanent before he leaves office in 2009. This means that in 2016, the annual federal budget deficit would be nearly $400 billion. Beyond that, the costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are projected to rise to a level that "economic growth alone is unlikely to alleviate," according to the Congressional Budget Office.
What does the word "politician" mean to you? Personally, we at VOID would rather have "public servants", a very politically-correct word, mind you! Take a look at Washington, DC on just one day, January 24, 2006, through the lens of Political Moneyline in their weekly newsletter:
CNN reports on a new poll. Though Americans hold an anti-incumbent mood, they won't be voting anti-incumbent. So, why do they think anything will improve? From CNN:
The issue of corruption ranked high on Americans' list of concerns in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey, taken Friday through Sunday.
But with the entire House of Representatives and a third of the Senate up for grabs in November, most of the 1,003 adults polled said they don't think their own lawmakers are corrupt.
For the ninth year running, the federal government failed to achieve a clean financial audit; this was due mostly to serious financial management problems at the U.S. Department of Defense. The DoD was not alone in receiving a disclaimer, or failing mark from the Government Accounting Office last December, 2005, however. It was joined by NASA, the Energy Department and the Homeland Security Department; together, these agencies represent 58 percent of the government's total reported assets.
One congressman in the race for Majority Leader of the U.S. House is Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio. He maintains the lobbyist-financed Freedom Project, with a lobbyist as treasurer and an all-lobbyist executive board. It has raised $5.94 million over 10 years and has contributed $3.26 million to fellow Republicans. Some 2003-2004 expenditures include $21,990 at Sam and Harry's steakhouse, $16,189 in fees at Manassas's Robert Trent Jones Golf Club and $5,990 for lodging at La Quinta Resort & Club near Palm Springs. This, by no means, clears the histories of the other congressmen running for the same leadership position.
Thirty-three states will conduct elections in late 2006 to determine the individual by party affiliation that will represent them in the U.S. Senate for the next six years. These thirty three (33) seats are currently held by Democrats (17), Republicans (15) and (1) Independent.
As early as June and as late as September, states that have the need will be conducting primary elections. If we use the 2002 data reflecting votes cast for the U.S. Senate by party as a recent barometer of voter turnout and sentiment, only 20.59% of the voters who went to the polls in the general election voted in the primary election. In terms of what trends were indicated, we get an array of mixed signals. In the primaries, 58.95% of the voters indicated a preference for the Democratic candidates, 40.45% chose Republican candidates and 0.06% chose "other" candidates. When the general election took place 46.06% of the voters came out for the Democratic candidates, 49.36% voted for Republican candidates and 4.58% chose "other" candidates. In round numbers, less than thirty percent of the age eligible voters vote in the mid-term election years than do in the Presidential election years.
According to Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the US Congress added about 14,000 earmarks to bills in 2005, totalling $27 billion.
There will be a great number of people, businesses, ideologies and other special interests writing contribution checks of many thousands of dollars each, to political candidates this election year. They will be sending them to "527" organizations, because the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has neglected to curb their abuses. To go further, many congressmen and women own "leadership PACs" (also fund-raising groups) to contribute monies to their respective political parties' candidates for congress and state office.
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and other congressmen, are stepping up and dispensing of financial contributions relating to corrupt Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. These are good, moral decisions, of course. However, unethical contributions to both candidates and elected officials should never have been accepted in the first place; congress is now worried that many more instances of corruption will surface.
CNN: Politics: "Read full story for latest details."
AP Politics: "AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn turned her back on the Republican Party and announced Monday she will run for governor as an independent."
ABC News: Politics: "Vermont County Senator Mark Shepard Gets Into U.S. House Race"
AP Politics: "HOUSTON - Former U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson said Monday that he has filed paperwork to run for the congressional seat held by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."
Roger Tauss over at Laying It On The Line has an examination of how Congressional Democrats oppose a push by the AFL-CIO for raising the minimum wage due to comparisons to the 7 salary increases Democrats have voted themselves since the last minimum wage increase.
Univ. of Washington research predicts highest costs yet for Senate campaigns. There research paper (PDF) is entitled,
Assessment of US Senate Campaign Expenditures in 2000, 2002 and 2004, with Predictions for 2006 and points to ever increasing wealth as prerequisite to run for U.S. Senate. Should the power brokers of our government be exclusively reserved for the highest bidders and wealthiest among us?
12/6/2005 - Abstract
The cost of political campaigning always seems to rise. Trends suggest that US Senate campaigns will average around 10 million dollars around the country in the 2006 election season, and that none will spend less than about 3 million dollars. In recent years, challenger candidates have had to spend twice as much as incumbents to win the seat away from the incumbent. In 2006, the major candidates for US Senate will spend in excess of 450 million dollars in campaigning.
Meadville Tribune -- Russ Diamond paced the floor of the Libertarian Headquarters here for more than 90 minutes to get his message across: "Vote 'Em All Out."
The "Em" he was referring to are the state legislators and all government officials.
ABC News: Politics: "Republican Senators McCain and Graham Warn Republicans Must 'Adjust' to Reach Voters in 2006"...
New York (D) Sen. Charles Schumer eyes GOP-held Senate seats in 2006: Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee, and Arizona.
The Senate currently has 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and one Democratic-voting independent. In 2006, there are five open Senate seats, as well as 14 Democratic senators seeking re-election and 14 Republicans seeking re-election.
ABC News: Politics: "Pa. Senate Race Between Santorum and Casey Among Most Watched Campaigns for 2006"
The lobbying industry in Washington financially contributes to candidates and elected public officials and their staff in a manner that is questionable, at best. For instance, dozens of registered lobbyists were among the Pioneers ($100,000) and Rangers ($200,000) who contributed to our president's campaigns. Lobbyists have paid daily for meals and entertainment. For favored charities. Presidential libraries. Lavish golf junckets and skyboxes at sporting events. And lobbyist clients paid the tab for many travel expenses.
Revelations on the use of the Patriot Act by the federal government include spying on many American citizens and tracking them with cell phones, without the issuing of search warrants. Federal intelligence personnel have conducted domestic spying on at least hundreds of their fellow Americans, in the interest of detecting potential terrorism.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans say that political corruption is a serious problem, according to a recent AP-Ipsos poll. "The House has completely abdicated its constitutional responsibility to police itself," says Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW).
David Weller, a name one sees frequently here at VOID, is introducing Fred Jones, Libertarian candidate for Congress, later today in Lubbock, Tx. VOID support and action can take many forms, and David Weller is demonstrating one of those ways today. Mr. Weller shared his short introduction speech which appears below:
Ford Motor Company is soon to consider a major downsizing of its production capacity; presently it is at 75%. In addition, General Motors has recently downsized its production capacity, by shutting down some of its plants in America.
Robin Toner wrote an excellent review of the conditions and constraints upon an anti-incumbency movement in 2006, entitled, Change in control of House a big 'if'. There is no question, there are structural impediments to an anti-incumbent sweep in 2006. But, with as many as 100 million previously non-voting Americans up for grabs, those impediments may not be insurmountable.
Josh Gerstein of the New York Sun writes: A longtime adviser to GOP candidates, Michael Murphy, said Republicans running for office at the state level might escape voters' wrath, but the party's congressional candidates could experience an anti-incumbent rout on par with that suffered by Democrats in 1994. "Federally, it could be very bad," Mr. Murphy predicted. He described as "horrible" current poll numbers about the country's direction.
Poll regarding Utah's Senator Orin Hatch:
Re-Elect Hatch: 45%
Someone New: 48%
DavidNYC writes at the Swing State Project: "What this poll tells me is simply that there is a potentially very strong anti-incumbent wind a-brewin'. It won't be enough to knock down Orrin Hatch, but it'll leave a lot of weaker GOP politicians flat on their behinds."
AP writer Susan Haigh reports:
The races had separate issues, such as Middletown's troubled $80 million high school building project, but a political scientist believes something larger is happening in Connecticut and across the country.
"I do believe there is an anti-incumbent mood that is setting in, which is probably at work," said Gary L. Rose, chairman of the Department of Government and Politics at Sacred Heart University.
"New Jersey's daily newspapers have declined to endorse seventeen incumbents seeking re-election to the State Assembly". This item and details can be found at The Inside Edge.
The Christian Science Monitor has an outstanding article on "A Culture of Bribery in Congress" in today's edition. This articles strikes one of the most important themes held, and written about, by staff and volunteers of the Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy organization. The Monitor opens their article with the following two paragraphs:
Almost every US lawmaker takes big money aimed at helping private interests win favorable government action. If they stash the cash for themselves, it's illegal. If they use it to get reelected, keep their job, and help the private interests, it's generally legal.
David Weller pointed me to an article in the Washington Post by David S. Broder entitled, A Pox on Both Parties. Provides an excellent summary of public opinion sentiment toward Democrats and Republicans since the Reagan years to the present, in response to each party's performance in leadership in Wash. D.C. Broder concludes asking, "When both parties have lost public confidence, where do voters turn?"
James Silver and Sue Ellis produced an outstanding program on the effects of Gerrymandering's erosion of the foundations of democracy. American RadioWorks has the program called Carving Up The Vote, with audio, but, you can read their excellent article, entitled, How Much Is Too Much, here.
Charley Reese, a journalist and former political campaign activist has a great article entitled, Incumbents Out, posted over at Bella Ciao. The man is singing our tune!
The United States' negative trade balance with other countries reached over $60 billion in September, 2005 alone. The personal savings rate in the United States is negative. What is happening is the American consumer is purchasing a lot more than he/she is producing. This is not sustainable. As the US trade deficits accumulate over time, naturally the country will lose its credit standing with its foreign lenders; two of the largest purchasers of our Treasury securities are Japan and China. This comfortable convenience cannot be sustained.
AP Politics: SALT LAKE CITY - Five-term incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, will face a challenge from a distant member of his own family, Green Party candidate Julian Hatch, in the November 2006 election.
HARRISBURG, Pa. Nov 16, 2005 - ABC News/Associated Press reports: After bringing four months of abuse down on their heads, Pennsylvania lawmakers Wednesday repealed a pay raise they gave themselves in the middle of the night.
Our congressional Republicans, who have a majority of members in the U.S. House, have a low approval rating in most recent polls. In one poll, Democrats and Republicans in Congress approval is now at 31.8 percent, the direction of the country is at 61 percent negative and the Democrats' advantage on the generic Congressional vote number at 7.2 percent. If the public's esteem for President Bush and the Republican Congress remains as low as it is now, Democrats could win back control of the House -- barely.
"Most Americans Want a New Member of Congress
An overlooked finding in the new WSJ/NBC poll:(PDF) For the first time since 1994, a majority of voters would like to see their individual member of Congress defeated for re-election.
Q. In the 2006 election for US Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance?
Deserves to be reelected: 37%
Give new person a chance: 51%"
Higher oil prices and Americans' unquenchable thirst for imports of all kinds pushed the U.S. trade deficit to a record $66.1-billion in September.
The trade deficit included a record monthly gap with China (up 8.9 per cent to $20.1-billion), according to the U.S. Commerce Department; it was the largest imbalance the United States has ever recorded with a single country.
The trade deficit in the third quarter represented a record 5.7 per cent of U.S. gross domestic product.
Reuters: Top News: "Michael Sessions, an 18-year-old student at Hillsdale High School, won by a mere two votes over 51-year-old incumbent Douglas Ingles, instead of the 64-vote victory initially reported. Hillsdale County officials declared the final tally of 670 to 668 on Thursday."
Often, people's decision on which party to support comes early in life. For others the decision does not come until well into adulthood. Sadly, I know people today who are still uncertain of their political affiliation; just "going with the flow" from election to election hoping for the best and longing for their candidate to be the one to accomplish as many of their "wish list" items as possible.
In addition to state and federal candidate campaign contributions, state and federal advocacy group contributions, state and national party committee contributions, state and federal convention contributions, presidential inauguration contributions, leadership PAC contributions, lobbying, and legal defence fund contributions, national and international corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals are more than happy to assist your public officials in travel expenses. For instance, Minnesota Senator Norman Coleman, who serves on the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, received a free jet trip to Pebble Beach, California, to speak at the Hormel Foods Annual Fall Board Retreat (Hormel Food Corp.) Senator Coleman's room cost for one night was $545 (at the corporate rate!) The thirty-five loyal Americans were gracious enough to the distinguished Senator by being host to the $8,598 Board banquet! Is this why the hard working people of Minnesota elected their own representative?
By 2002, the large tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush, combined with the effects of an economic slowdown and increased expenditures on national security following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, led to new deficits and an increase in the national debt.
One of the reasons why America's third parties and independents have a difficult road toward representing we the people, is because the two major parties in power, the Democrats and Republicans, are of a corrupt system of money-changing. The constant flow of big money is most entrenched with incumbents.
Elizabeth Wilner has this to say among other things:
Just as news of accounting scams and lavish perks toppled corporate titans, the slow drip of revelations about how special interests influence Congress could yet galvanize the electorate to blast some of the top wheeler-dealers out of their fortified luxury bunkers.
The Daily Kos has this to report about a possible anti-incumbent wave in 2006.
Stat of the Week
Hotline: "GOPers "have a vested interest in" Bush's "job approval ratings, as their jobs could be in jeopardy if his numbers don't climb back to near" 50% by 11/06. "From" '62 to '02, the pres.'s "party lost an average of 43 House seats in an off-year election whenever his approval rating dipped below" 50%."
Daily Kos has another great snippet at the same link above, on questions voters should be asking when considering what challenger to support if the incumbent must be booted, entitled: Newsie's Questions to Ask When Getting to Know Lesser Known Candidates.
MSNBC, First Read - 10/13/05
Poll finds pessimism about U.S. direction - USA Today
Incumbents failed to score impressive tallies in primary vote - Seattle
North Canton residents should vote out incumbents
Primary 2005: Baldwin Borough voters throw out incumbents
It Ain't That Difficult ! - by Byron C. Diehl
Anti-incumbent fever getting hotter - Pittsburgh
Vote Against Incumbent Politicians
The Miami Cracker - Campaign Finance Reform
State NAACP sweeps out incumbents
Group: Vote them all out, Matt Coughlin
Incumbents failed to score impressive tallies in primary vote - Seattle
Vote out all incumbents - Scott Duran
Vernon Hill - Vote incumbents out
Greedsux, New Jersey
Veteran: Vote Out All Incumbents
Vote no to incumbents, proposed income tax, Edward G. Williamson
Voters send clear warning to both parties' incumbents, USA Today
Dogs in the manger, Mark U
Partnership won't endorse legislative incumbents
Peter Savodnik has a very encouraging article in The Hill, the newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress, entitled, Challengers vacuum up campaign money. He writes:
The Washington Post's Jim VandeHei published an article on Sept. 11, speculating on a Katrina effect on incumbents in 2006.
Hurricane Katrina has the potential to foment change in Washington like the terrorist strikes did four years ago, altering the government's priorities for the foreseeable future and darkening the mood of an electorate that was already anxious before the storm hit shore, according to lawmakers, pollsters and strategists from both parties.
The Campaign Finance Institute reports: Democratic Challengers Financially Stronger than Two Years Ago in Potentially Competitive House Districts
But Republican Challengers Maintain Their Past Competitiveness
Democrats Field More Candidates for 2006 House, Republicans Less