Experienced politicians do not need to apply
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Experienced politicians do not need to apply: Before running for governor of Arizona, Kari Lake spent more than two decades covering the news for a Phoenix television station. Next door in New Mexico, Mark Ronchetti was a meteorologist before becoming the GOP’s nominee for governor this year (as well as running an unsuccessful Senate two years ago). Another meteorologist, Eric Sorensen, is the Democratic candidate in a close race for Congress in Illinois.
It’s not just broadcasters who are finding a second life as candidates. The last elections saw a large number of amateur politicians seeking high-level positions. They are more successful than newcomers in the past. “From 1980 to 2014, US House candidates with political experience who ran in the primaries without an incumbent beat amateurs nearly 80% of the time,” according to political scientists Rachel Porter and Tyler S. Steelman. “Since 2016, however, quality candidates have lost to amateurs in almost half of these non-incumbent primaries.”
Donald Trump – the only man in American history to win the White House without prior political or military experience – clearly helped lead the way. There was a huge spike in Republicans running for the House with no prior experience in 2016, the year Trump was elected, notes Porter, who teaches at Notre Dame. But in 2018, Democrats were naming even more rookies. “When we think of amateurs or foreign candidates, we naturally think of Republican businessmen running around and ’emptying the swamp,'” Porter says, “but it’s both parties.”
There are a few factors that fuel their success. On the one hand, political enthusiasts now have a much easier time raising funds than before. Once upon a time, candidates had to get along with their local parties, but today’s candidates are more likely to be self-reliant, able to tap into their own national and online donor networks. “If amateurs raise a lot of money and fundraise in the right places, they will do as well as quality contestants,” Porter says.
Newcomers who topple incumbents — like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat a member of the House Democratic leadership team four years ago, or Harriet Hageman, who ousted Republican Rep. Liz Cheney a few years ago weeks – tend to get the most media coverage. But most amateurs thrive in open races where there is no starting race.
Due to the highly polarized nature of contemporary politics – with most districts safe for one party or the other – candidates with seemingly minimal qualifications who are nominated often end up winning in the fall. “It’s clear at this point, out of four elections now, that there’s a shift in the way we think about the type of successful candidates, and that’s something that needs to be taken seriously,” Porter said. .
It’s a sign of the times – and the public mood – that even seasoned politicians are seeking to position themselves as outsiders, even if they’ve been in office for years. This was certainly the case with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s main rival for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. There have been many examples since then, such as Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania , who presents himself as a new broom ready to clean up Harrisburg, even though he now holds his position as a sitting senator there.
But there’s no such thing as being a true underdog. Politicians with long resumes will never have the same credibility on “making things happen” as rank amateurs, no matter how much they attack “Washington values.”
Of course, not all amateurs are created equal. Some come to campaigns with higher levels of skill or name recognition or fundraising ability, such as the large number of former CEOs and other businessmen who have been elected governor in recent years, including Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Doug Burgum of North Dakota and JB Pritzker. from Illinois. Having been a well-known broadcaster can also create a huge advantage, says Kyle Kondik, director of communications at the University of Virginia Center for Policy.
“Being a TV personality gets you a favorable name ID and a real name ID,” says Kondik. “Although it looks like for Dr. Oz, not so much.”
Don’t count your chickens yet, Democrats: Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US Senate, has openly lamented that his party could not take control of the chamber this year, due to the poor “quality of candidates”, including Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania.
One of the other rookie Senate candidates who have struggled this year is Herschel Walker, the former soccer star who won Trump’s blessing and Georgia’s May primary. Walker has made a number of political statements that sound like so much word salad, while dealing with scandals over fathering previously unrecognized children and lies about his law enforcement and background. academics.
Nonetheless, two polls released Tuesday showed Walker leading in his race against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Narrow threads of a and two percentage points, but leads nonetheless.
Also on Tuesday, Reuters/Ipsos released a poll showing President Biden’s approval rating – which has risen in other surveys – is still down, hitting an anemic 38%. Now, polls are certainly imperfect measures, but the reality is that in recent election cycles, Democrats have fared better in the polls than they did on Election Day. This was certainly the case for Biden himself in 2020.
There’s been a lot of noise lately that Democrats have regained their footing and may actually have some momentum heading into the midterms. It’s certainly possible they can avoid being wiped out in November, in part because Republicans named so many rookies in key races.
But the president’s party almost invariably ends up suffering midterm losses, and the big waves in recent cycles have tended to form late. “The question is no longer whether the environment has changed,” said Meredith Kelly, Democratic agent. Washington Post“but if it can stay that way for 70 days, an eternity in politics.”
When election deniers hold elections: The question of who will lead the elections in Wyoming has become interesting lately. On the surface, the answer seems clear. State Rep. Chuck Gray won the GOP nomination for secretary of state last month. Not only is Wyoming solidly Republican, but no Democrats even bothered to run. Monday was the last day someone could apply as a freelancer, and no one did.
Then Gray will win and take the job. Gray is a Trump-backed Holocaust denier who claims the 2020 contest was “clearly rigged.” Last week, a legislative committee decided to limit the power of the secretary of state to hold elections, transferring power to a new body made up of the five statewide office holders. This bill is far from having the force of law, but the committee’s quick action showed that it was worried about giving Gray a free hand.
In the meantime, there will be a vacuum ahead of this year’s election. Ed Buchanan, the current secretary of state, plans to step down on September 15, days before taking up his duties as a judge. That gives Gov. Mark Gordon some time to appoint an acting secretary to oversee the November election. Wyoming rules appear to be preventing Gray, as a sitting lawmaker, from taking the job sooner.
The governor will have to choose from three potential replacements put forward by Wyoming’s Republican Central Committee, which is led by state party chairman Frank Ehorne – who participated in the January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol.
What the courts have to say: Arizona has been a prominent battleground in the still-ongoing fight for the 2020 election, with the state Senate sponsoring a lengthy audit of the results in Maricopa County. A progressive coalition has garnered nearly half a million signatures for an initiative that would have banned partisan audits, as well as created same-day registration and improved early voting. Last week, however, the state Supreme Court upheld an order that had rejected more than 238,000 signatures, so the measure will not be on the ballot.
Also last week, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Jim Crow-era law that permanently disenfranchises people who commit certain crimes. It was the understanding of the framers of the Mississippi constitution of 1890, which was explicitly intended “to secure permanent white rule”, that the “persons” convicted of such crimes would be black people.
“The court’s conservative majority admitted Jim Crow law was ‘steeped in racism,’ but said the state had made enough changes in the 132 years since to override its white supremacist taint” , said the Mississippi Free Press reported. “A 2018 analysis found that the law still disproportionately disenfranchises black Mississippians in Mississippi compared to white residents. »