Thursday, March 15, 2007

Is Politics Ever a Fair Race?

As the race for the President is heating up, it is also heating up my political side. I am someone who has always been interested in politics..and an avide voter. I have voted in every election since I have turned 18 and I just don't mean the Presidential ones. I vote every single local state national politics. I just think it is so important and as a woman, I feel an obligation to vote since women struggled for that right back in the day.

This Presidential election will be a little different though because there really isn't an incumbent, etc. Cheney won't be running for President and there will be new faces from the Dems side too.

There is a website out there called No More Incumbents which is calling for the removal of all incumbents from office. No More Incumbents is a movement to get political bloggers to cover the campaigns and political events in all 50 states during the upcoming election and beyond. The site talks about how there is an unfair advantage to incumbents when running for office...and that new voices don't get the chance to get into office.

Do I think that incumbents have an unfair advantage when it comes to getting elected? Kind of, but in reality I don't think that is the biggest problem in our political system. Yes, I think incumbents almost always have a leg up. I think it is natural that people are more likely to vote for someone who they know, who has already been in the job than someone they don't know. As people...we don't like change. We will stay with something broken before moving to change it. It's kind of sad, but it's how we work. I saw the re-election of President Bush as a prime example. The country was unsatisfied with Bush (he had horrible approval ratings during the re-election campaign), but he still won the election. I think people came out and voted for Bush because the evil they knew was better than the possible evil they didn't...and because they were terrified of gay marriage (but that's a topic for another day).

An example of an incumbent not winning happened here in New York with Kirsten Gillibrand beating John Sweeney. Sweeney had been in the House of Representative for years...decades, I think. Many people thought he was unbeatable, especially by a woman. Gillibrand and Sweeney both ran one of the dirtiest campaigns I have ever seen...and Gillibrand's dirt worked. Sweeney was ahead right up until early November...Gillibrand went ahead and never looked back. She won the election...and people were shocked. She worked hard and played dirty...and in reality, that is the only way she could win against someone with such experience and power as Sweeney.

Now...I mentioned that I didn't think incumbents was the problem. I don't, I think that money is the problem. Only those rich enough to afford a campaign can run...or those with enough connections to raise millions and millions of dollars. There is a reason why the front runners in the Presidential Election are Rudy, Hillary, Obama and the Johns...because they are stinkin' rich and they can raise millions and millions of dollars. So many people are locked out of running for office because they just can't afford to engage in the process.

How are we supposed to get a Congress or a President to truly represent us when only the rich can participate??? It just doesn't seem fair to me. I think that there should be fundraising and spending limits on campaigns, but I know...I am dreaming., I wouldn't vote every single incumbent out of office. In all honesty, I think that is silly. I think that I will always vote for the best candidate...whether it be an incumbent, a fresh face, a third party, etc. I think there are some people in politics who have been there for a long time and I would not want to see them go. The Bernie Sanders of the world...for example. He's an incumbent and I want him to stay right where he is.

What do y'all think?

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