The Marketplace of Democracy: Electoral Competition and American Politics

Capitol Hill Briefing
September 22, 2006 12:00PM
B-338 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Michael McDonald, George Mason University and The Brookings Institution, and John Samples, Director, Center for Representative Government Cato Institute.

Recently, almost all House members running have won reelection. Incumbent senators also enjoy remarkable success, and such results are not limited to Congress. Incumbents running in state elections have also seen their rates of reelection rise over time. This decline in electoral competition has fostered much talk of needed reform to restore competitive elections. Most recently, several states have considered or enacted reforms on redistricting. States have also imposed term limits on elected officials. The question of competition and incumbency also comes up often in arguments about campaign finance regulation. Has electoral competition declined in the United States? If so, what might be done about it? Please join us for a wide-ranging discussion of incumbents, challengers, and the future of American elections, based on the new book The Market of Democracy, edited by Michael McDonald and John Samples.