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Sun Feb 2, 2020, 07:49 PM

Why incumbent presidents have the advantage in re-election... [View all]

Bear with me, but I've been thinking of this as a major, if not the main, reason why incumbent presidents tend to have an advantage.

And it's not just because they are already in office.

Rather, it is because their party is united behind them at the start of the campaign season. Their opposition, on the other hand, has to wage a long series of primary campaign battles. This cannot help but splinter the opposition party. And perhaps more important than that splintering, is the psychological effect it can have on the electorate. The opposition party is seen as fractious and unsteady. This not only demoralizes the opposition party when it comes to the general election, but discourages independents from voting for the opposition candidate.

I've convinced myself this is the major problem in voting out an incumbent president. And the times when the opposition has succeeded in defeating the incumbent seems to be mainly when the incumbent is seen as weak and aimless. Examples: Carter in 1980; GHW Bush in 1992.

I'm not sure there is a good way to combat this problem. The GOP seems well aware of this issue, and has been busy shutting down primary elections and caucuses - in seven states so far. The Dems, so far, have little choice but to duke it out among themselves, and suffer the consequences in the general. Meanwhile conservatives seem delighted by the chaos on the Left.

Any ideas?

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Reply Why incumbent presidents have the advantage in re-election... [View all]
Rollo Feb 2020 OP
csziggy Feb 2020 #1
Phoenix61 Feb 2020 #2
Butterflylady Feb 2020 #3
Rollo Feb 2020 #4
albacore Feb 2020 #5