August primaries: a good night for incumbents | Human Events

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)

The most interesting feature of the 2014 primary season is spotlighted in this line from Fox News‘ primary-night roundup: “Despite Congress’ abysmal approval ratings, only three incumbents have lost this election cycle — [Michigan Rep. Kerry] Bentivolio and fellow Republican Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Ralph Hall of Texas.”

That’s remarkable given the “voters hate everybody” mood supposedly revealed in polls, isn’t it?  Chins have been wagging inside the  Beltway over an apocalyptic NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll that says everything sucks and everybody stinks:

Six in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy, more than 70 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 80 percent are down on the country’s political system, according to the latest NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll.

The frustration carries over to the nation’s political leaders, with President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating hitting a new low at 40 percent, and a mere 14 percent of the public giving Congress a thumbs up.

“We’re in the summer of our discontent,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. “Americans are cranky, unhappy… It is with everything going on the world.”

And yet, only one incumbent lost in this round of Republican primaries.  Only one lost in the round before that, and only one in the primaries before that.  (It should have been two incumbents last time, but supporters of Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi pulled out all the stops and used outrageous tactics to get him re-elected, and keep the pork-barrel money flowing.)  And the Democrats don’t have anything comparable to the Establishment vs. Tea Party battle going on in their ranks.

For all the discontent people claim to feel, they keep sending the same people back to Washington, where they march under the banners of a shaken but largely intact GOP Establishment.  In the past, this has commonly been ascribed to the “everyone else’s representative is bad but my guy is okay” attitude, but a recent ABC News / Washington Post poll suggested that for the first time in the history of their survey, a majority of voters disapprove of their own representatives.  Somehow those frowns turn upside down when it’s time to actually cast a vote.

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