In a recent column, Thomas Sowell argues that voters should not vote unless they prepare. I agree.
According to Dr. Sowell, if we’re going to pull that lever, as some of us just did, we should take the trouble to inform ourselves on the issues. Otherwise we’re “blind Samsons,” with power that we don’t apply. But Sowell and I might not agree about whether the voter always has that power in point of fact.
Sowell says he often hears from readers who feel helpless “to do anything about the negative trends in politics and society. Yet the people who make those laments have the ultimate power in the most powerful nation on earth. All they have to do is exercise that power in the voting booth.”
Um, well, yes. True as far as it goes. But the good doctor neglects to mention that in all too many cases, there is no practical alternative for voters, thanks to the stranglehold of incumbency. A few hard-fought contests for high-profile U.S. Senate seats obscure the fact that for most incumbents in the House, reelection is a cakewalk.
In a big chunk of the election so-called contests, the incumbent is unchallenged. The power of the vote fades. But I bet Dr. Sowell would concede as much if I managed to catch him after a lecture.
After all, in previous commentary he’s come out in favor of term limits himself, saying that “the last person to trust with power is someone who is dying to have it.” I certainly don’t dispute him there.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.