The Advantages of Incumbency. My essay about how incumbents of congress have superior advantages over their opponents.

Essay by Satisfxn November 2003

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The re-election rates of members of Congress are very high because incumbents have enormous advantages over their challengers. Morris Fiorina, David Mayhew, Timothy Cook, Richard Fenno, and David Price are all political scientists who support this statement with their essays written on the topic.

Morris Fiorina's essay entitled "The Rise of the Washington Establishment" provides some insight into the advantages that incumbents have over their opponents. He stated that out of all things a congressman can do to win re-election, pork barreling and casework are the most powerful tools he can use. He went on to state that a congressman's lawmaking activities are programmatic and much more controversial than pork barreling or casework because people are divided on many major issues. Thus, when a congressman engages in lawmaking activities, he will make friends as well as enemies, and no matter how hard he tries to keep everyone satisfied, there will always be at least a few people who oppose his actions.

Fiorina wrote that word of mouth is still the most effective form of communication. When a constituent calls in to ask a favor of the congressman because the Bureaucracy is too slow or not giving them what they want, the congressman (or his staff) get right on it no matter what party the voter is loyal to because when the favor is done, that person will spread the word of the congressman's good deed. Fiorina stated that Pork barreling and casework are also more obvious and visible to constituents. They can see more jobs and new facilities and projects and favors being done for people. They can't always see how a law is affecting them. Also, he went on to make the point that a single congressman can take the credit for a project he got for...