Ah, women . . . you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.
What’s that got to do with anything? Not much, just thought I’d use an easy trick to get men shaking their heads in agreement.
I’m not much for the battle of the sexes. I’m generally for peace. But while I don’t think a person’s gender matters when picking the best candidate to represent us in public office, it is troubling to consider how difficult it is for new people to break into politics.
Numerous studies show that women do as well as men once incumbency is taken into account. One study by the National Women’s Political Caucus found, “[O]ur political system is tremendously biased in favor of incumbents. . . . Since at one time all officeholders were men, women did not start with a level playing field.”
In states without term limits, there is less turnover and far fewer open seats, so women candidates constantly have to overcome the power of incumbency.
Take New Jersey, for example. The state has fallen from 10th in female representation back in 1974 to 43rd today. Without term limits, every member of the State Assembly ran for reelection two years ago. Not a single seat was open.
Term limits break up entrenched incumbency the good ole boy network. So is there any indication term limits help women? Sure, under term limits Arkansas and Missouri have set records for the number of women legislators. Four of the five states with the highest percentage of women in the legislature have term limits.
Just a coincidence? Hardly.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.