After November, it will likely be noted that many incumbents held on to their seats. In fact, Steven Taylor at Outside the Beltway argues that the 85%-plus re-election rate for incumbents is proof that the anti-incumbent fervor being reported is overblown.

Even if we have a result that is “historical” and is in the 80% range, it is hard to make the case that an incumbent re-election rate of that magnitude demonstrates a massive amount of voter anger.  The bottom line is that a substantially large percentage of the current House is returning in January (and in the Senate too, although the numbers under discussion are for the House only).

For those who are wondering, the Senate re-election rate is lower than for the House.  The range over the same period of time is 55%-96%.

This argument, however, seems logically flawed, and Ken Silverstein of Harper’s says the whole thing is bogus.

Yes, the overwhelming majority of congress is going to be re-elected, because the rules are so heavily rigged in favor of incumbents–unless the member of congress is stupid enough to get caught in bed with a hooker or taking bribes, he or she is almost certainly going to win reelection. But concluding that this means that voters aren’t angry and frustrated misses the point by a million miles.

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