How would you like to pick a fight with someone who has a million dollars sitting in the bank to wage war against you and big connections with the federal government? Would it create any hardship if you had to quit your job?
Anyone who dares to run for Congress against an incumbent must answer these questions. It’s not just that incumbents have the money to pulverize a challenger with 30-second character assassination TV ads. It’s more.
All at the taxpayers’ expense, they mail to voters in their district, use radio and television studios in the capitol, and have a big staff working day-in, day-out, for the congressman’s reelection. Even these advantages are only the tip of the iceberg.
In 1998, 98.5 percent of incumbents were re-elected. For those in office more than two terms, the re-election rate was 100 percent. Not a single old bull was defeated. In fact, more than 1 in 5 congressmen had no opponent at all denying voters even a protest vote. Wonder why politicians don’t listen to you?
Eric O’Keefe in his new book “Who Rules America” points out: “They don’t have to. By discarding rotation in office, we have inherited a Congress free to flout the opinions of the folks back in the district. After all, what are they going to do about it: run against the frank-cranking, staff-fattened incumbent? Lotsa luck.”
Professional politicians are monopolizing our political process. In the economy, monopolies cause higher prices and lower quality. Well, they wreck havoc in politics, too. The longer folks stay in Washington, the less competition they face, and the less they listen to us.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.