Logo for Joe Sobran's newsletter: Sobran's -- The Real News of the Month

 Thou Shalt Not Reelect 

September 26, 2006 
paragraph indentThis year, 2006, is widely described as an “election year.” I think it would be more accurate to call it a “reelection year.” This time Today's column is "Thou Shalt Not Reelect" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.the future of our nation will be at stake, as they say.

indent ReelectThe voters are really angry. They are angry at both parties, at the president, and at Congress. They are sick and tired of the status quo — war, high taxes, corruption, runaway spending, soaring gasoline prices, and poisoned spinach. They’re mad as hell and they’re not going to stand for it anymore. They are demanding change in Washington. And in a democracy like our own, the voters are sovereign.

indent ReelectSo, this November, the voters, in their awful fury, are going to rise up and send the incumbents back to Washington. That’s what they always do. This is how a vibrant democracy works.

indent ReelectIs there any cure for it? Yes. That’s why I’m writing. When the voters have made such a hash of democracy, the only hope lies with the nonvoters.

indent ReelectSuperficially, the nonvoters would appear to be the brainiest part of the electorate: the elite 50 per cent or so who are too sensible to bother thinking about whether to elect Tweedle-Dee or Tweedle-Dum. So they leave us at the mercy of those who imagine they see crucial differences between the two candidates — clones who pretend they are diametric opposites.

indent ReelectThen Tweedle-Dee gets elected, and then reelected, and reelected again, per omnia saecula saeculorum. He becomes what we now call a “career politician,” something that would have horrified the Founding Fathers, who hoped for frequent “rotation in office.”

indent ReelectThe obvious solution is for nonvoters to start voting, or for a few voters to get smart. The rule should be simply this: Never vote for an incumbent. Always vote for the challenger, even if he looks worse than the incumbent.

indent ReelectThis would achieve several things. It would put an end to the career politician, it would nullify the power of money in elections, and it would weaken both major parties. “Reelection Day” would be a thing of the past.

[Breaker quote for Thou Shalt Not Reelect: A simple way to reform]indent ReelectIf only a tenth of the vote regularly went against the incumbent, we would have “rotation in office” and the advantages of incumbency would be wiped out. The ability of politicians and, especially, their parties to accumulate power would be severely reduced. This would also mean that few politicians would be worth bribing, directly or indirectly.

indent ReelectAfter all, most elections are decided by less than 10 per cent of the vote. The regular defeat of most incumbents would be a healthy development. Let Tweedle-Dum rule — for one term. Then throw him out too.

indent ReelectEven now, voters are by no means entirely dumb, though they are usually confused. Many of them realize instinctively that voting means choosing the lesser evil and that government is most bearable when neither party has a monopoly of power. “Gridlock,” with both parties frustrating each other, is the nearest approximation we have to constitutional government.

indent ReelectAn incumbent is a man who already has more power than he should. As a rule he should be replaced at the first opportunity. The few exceptions don’t matter enough to modify the rule.

indent ReelectThe American political genius has always lain in its instinct to limit government, to divide and disperse power. The powers of the Federal Government are listed, defined, specified; some are denied to it, some are positively assigned to the states, some are distributed among the three branches. At the state level, we have similar divisions, along with county and municipal levels and their specific jurisdictions. And then there are courts and juries.

indent ReelectPower can always be abused, tyranny can never be entirely done away with, and some people will always see the increase and concentration of political power as “progressive” or at least advantageous to themselves. Maybe the best we can do is to cultivate the habit of resistance.

indent ReelectAnd one way to achieve this is to keep reminding ourselves that keeping a political office is not a sort of property right. The seat now held by Senator Tweedle-Dee is not “his” seat. If the people have any political right, it is the right to change their rulers, and they should exercise this right as often as they can.

indent ReelectAgain: If only a tenth of the eligible voters determined to vote against every incumbent in every election, American politics could be peacefully revolutionized.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2006 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate

small Griffin logo
Send this article to a friend.

Recipient’s e-mail address:
(You may have multiple e-mail addresses; separate them by spaces.)

Your e-mail address:

Enter a subject for your e-mail:

Mailarticle © 2001 by Gavin Spomer
Archive Table of Contents

Current Column

Return to the SOBRANS home page.

FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.

Search This Site

Search the Web     Search SOBRANS

What’s New?

Articles and Columns by Joe Sobran
 FGF E-Package “Reactionary Utopian” Columns 
  Wanderer column (“Washington Watch”) 
 Essays and Articles | Biography of Joe Sobran | Sobran’s Cynosure 
 The Shakespeare Library | The Hive
 WebLinks | Books by Joe 
 Subscribe to Joe Sobran’s Columns 

Other FGF E-Package Columns and Articles
 Sam Francis Classics | Paul Gottfried, “The Ornery Observer” 
 Mark Wegierski, “View from the North” 
 Chilton Williamson Jr., “At a Distance” 
 Kevin Lamb, “Lamb amongst Wolves” 
 Subscribe to the FGF E-Package 

Products and Gift Ideas
Back to the home page 


SOBRANS and Joe Sobran’s columns are available by subscription. Details are available on-line; or call 800-513-5053; or write Fran Griffin.

Reprinted with permission
This page is copyright © 2006 by The Vere Company
and may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of The Vere Company.