House and Senate Races

House and Senate Races - 4.07 House and Senate Races Do you...

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4.07 – House and Senate Races Do you think the advantage of incumbency is fair? Fairness is very relative, and I don’t believe I know enough about politics to make an informed judgment. My instinct is to argue the incumbency advantage is unfair: to use taxpayer money for the benefit of one candidate at the expense of another (franking privilege, large subordinate staff, Congressional Campaign Committee) and the natural advantage received by an incumbent’s increased visibility and press coverage seem like undemocratic restraints on political competition. However, the benefits of retaining experienced incumbents in office might far outstrip the potential benefits from unrestrained competition, and years of experience in office could well deserve the added edge as a reward; I simply don’t think I know enough about an incumbent’s effectiveness as compared to that of an inexperienced candidate to make a sound enough judgment on this matter. Can you think of some other advantages politicians may have? The people’s greater familiarity with the incumbent’s name, even if subconscious, might well tip the scale in the favor of the incumbents, at least when it comes to relatively uninformed voters. Connections acquired while on the job might also make an incumbent’s campaign far more effective than those of non-incumbents. Can you think of an example where being the incumbent was not helpful? In the 1992 election, after redistricting took place, several incumbents were pitted against
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House and Senate Races - 4.07 House and Senate Races Do you...

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