Sunday, October 29, 2006

If Competition Produces Excellence..........

......then the political system we have in Arkansas produces mediocrity, or worse.

Arkansas is not really a two-party state. It is a one party state, with the identity of the party varying by region. In NWA that would be Republican, in most of the rest of the state it would be Democrat. In both cases it means that the election winners are usually decided in primaries. And that means that those who will serve their party best, not their constitiuents best, usually carry the day.

In the 100 member house, we have only 32 contested races this November. Even that may be largely a result of term limits- only 10 incumbents face a challeger. In the 35 member senate, 17 seats could have been contested this November. Three are.

After the election, we need to talk about where we go from here. We need to talk about what we can do to fix a flawed system that produces so little responsiveness to the people. Instead, the money-folks at the capitol get all the response because once elected, there is almost no chance a legislator will even be challenged before they are term-limited out, much less beaten.

We have to change that. Come back here after the election and let's talk about how.


Blogger Mark White said...

I voted for term limits, but I have to admit they are probably part of the problem. With legislators limited to only 6 or 8 years, there is very little incentive for a qualified, competitive candidate to challenge an incumbent. And when you combine the short term with the low pay, you end up with a position that very few people in real life can afford to pursue even when the seat is open.

3:10 PM, October 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Term limits are part of the current problem. But let's not forget that elections pre-term limits had their share of problems, too.

Election law is constantly being modified in an ongoing effort to improve the process. But I think it's time for a major revision, not just a minor tweaking.

8:15 AM, November 02, 2006  

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