Voter sentiment appears to have become a conspiracy against incumbents and, if the primary election results 2010, are any indication, these office-holders are put on notice. Why is an incumbent hard to defeat, and why does it seem somehow easier right now?
Anti-incumbent Sentiment by the Numbers
In February 2010, CNN interviewed 1,023 Americans, of whom 954 were registered voters. Of these, 50 percent disapproved of the job President Obama does, while only 49 percent approved (one percent had no opinion). A short year ago, 67 percent approved, while only 29 percent disapproved (and four percent had no opinion). In fact, only 44 percent suggested that the president deserved to be voted back in, while 52 percent opposed this idea. It is interesting to note that the numbers of self-identifying Republicans and Democrats were even, at 46 percent each.
When it came to handing out report cards to U.S. representatives in the respondents’ individual congressional districts, the (dis)approval numbers were just as poignant. While 50 percent thought that the representatives deserved re-election, 44 percent argued that the incumbents did not deserve to go back to work. In fact, when asked about most congressional representatives (as opposed to their own), only 35 percent thought that incumbents should be voted back in, while 62 percent favored the idea to vote out incumbents altogether.
California Election Results 2010: Conspiracy against the Incumbents?
From the Californian point of view, Senator Barbara Boxer is the kind of incumbent who is hard to defeat but whose decision to search out a fourth term is worthy of a battle cry. Her success (although likely) is considered to be another four-year term with more partisan politicking and general disconnect from the electorate from a self-important liberal.
This sentiment was underscored in 2009, when Senator Boxer lectured Army Brigadier General Michael Walsh from the Army Corps of Engineers on his use of the address “ma’am.” The Washington Times outlined the exchanges, during which an offended Boxer interrupted the general in the midst of his testimony before a congressional committee only to state:
“Do me a favor, can you say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am’? It’s just a thing. I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it. Thank you.”
Why Vote Out Incumbents?
A small matter, to be sure, but it is nevertheless one that stands out to voters – such as myself – who are tired of the politicians who are in it to win it, but only for themselves. Above and beyond the movement to vote out incumbents who are out of touch with the everyday voter, who is more worried about failing businesses and rising costs of living, the California primary election results 2010 also showcase that partisanship is becoming an antiquated concept.
Republicans and Democrats alike shoulder the blame for California’s budget crisis. While negotiating lucrative union contracts that virtually keep all public service workers at their jobs, the private sector sees consistent layoffs, pay cuts, losses of benefits and overall workplace closures. The disconnect between Sacramento and the inner city of Los Angeles could be no more glaring than the many storefronts that are boarded up and the empty homes that were lost to foreclosure. At the same time, political backroom deals resulted in a bipartisan raise of “fees” on Californians, which had the same effect as higher taxes.
Adding insult to injury, Sacramento’s Democratic establishment is now suggesting tax hikes, especially on the businesses that are still operating within the state. The L.A. Times reported that incumbent Senator Gil Cedillo – famous for championing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens – avidly opposes any cuts to current services and instead speaks out in favor of another vehicle license fee hike, personal income tax increases and also dependent-care tax credit reductions.
At the end of the day, the primary election results 2010 point less to a conspiracy against the incumbents and more to a California electorate that recognizes in the incumbent the career politician who has lost touch with the constituency.