The Pros And Cons Of Electoral Reform

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Of all the principles that define the American system, the ideals of a democratic republican system are among the most cherished. The idea that average Americans have a choice in their leadership, that the people elevate the best among them, remains central to American political thought to this day. Just as important as the elevation, Americans firmly hold that power given to elected officials must be temporary. The power entrusted to the representatives must be graciously returned following electoral defeat, when the politician’s service is done. Idealistic Americans cherish this concept, and government teachers across the country impress on the nation’s students that this is how the process works. However, this view badly misrepresents how…show more content…
Under current models, legislative incumbents enjoy an advantage of seven to eight percentage points on their challengers, measures of candidate quality held constant (Ban 161). While this might seem at first glance to be underwhelming, the effect of the cumulative bias is not. For individuals considering running for office, these numbers represent a practical obstacle to them. To overcome this built-in disadvantage, candidates hoping to unseat incumbents must work harder, spend more, and fight just to eliminate the automatic lead given to incumbents. By its nature, the fact that our electoral system skews towards incumbents disincentives challengers, particularly quality challengers. When a serious and practical person (someone with the makings of a good legislator) prepares to run for office, their analysis of their odds of success certainly weigh into their decision to run. The causes are complex, but the result is simple: worse candidates and worse officials. While there are many factors at play that create this effect, one of the most obvious and longstanding advantages incumbents have is in the realm of
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