The Advantages Of Incumbency Essay

1850 words - 7 pages

The re-election rates in Congress are overwhelmingly favored to the incumbents of Congress. People who are running for re-election holds many advantages to winning opposed to whomever the challenger is running against them. Many authors and political science scholars support this theory including such people as Richard Fenno, Morris Fiorina, David Mayhew, and Timothy Cook.Richard Fenno explains some of the advantages an incumbent may have over any challenger in his article entitled Home Style. Many politicians in Washington are on the Tuesday through Thursday schedule. This means that members of Congress meet during the week and return home to their districts for long weekends. The "Tuesday through Thursday" crowd refers to these people who go home every weekend. At home is where the incumbents have the advantage over any challenger. Most of the time that a politician is away from Washington is spent making positive and good relationships with people throughout his or her voting district. The time is spent around town at grocery stores, banks, baseball games, local school, ect. The politician and their staff do as much as possible to serve their community by always trying to lend a helping hand. When the people actually see the politician in action helping the people it engraves an image in the people's minds that make them happy and will vote for that politician in the next election. The politician knows that in order to be successful and win another election they must get the trust of the people. The politicians spend a lot of time projecting out an image to the people that he is dependable, competent, and trustworthy. It takes a lot of effort to win the trust of the people, but once you got it, trust by the people is a key to winning an election. When a politician goes to vote in Congress they either can vote based on their own judgment or the wishes of their constituent. This is where the importance of the trust of the people comes into play. If the people trust the politician then they will be more likely to accept the way they voted and the reasoning they give for voting that particular way in Congress. Putting all of this together, the more trust a politician gains from his constituents the more leeway he will get when acting in representation of the people. The more leeway a politician gets, the more satisfied the people will be with the job performance of that person. This is because if the people always accept or never even ask for an explanation for why the politician voted a certain way than a positive relationship will thus result. From this positive relationship people will go back to the voting booths with a good mental thought about that politician and will vote to re-elect him. This is where the incumbents have the huge advantage over the challengers. They have years to develop relationships with the people so that when voting comes around the voters feel a personal positive connection with the incumbent candidate and check off...

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