The ridiculous meme of anti-incumbent anger

There has been a meme in the media in 2010 that voter anger is going to drive out a lot of incumbents. I know the story is generally focused on November, but, you would think, if voters were truly furious, a lot of congressmen would be losing the primaries.

Rachel Maddow pointed out the myth of this meme tonight, and I think it’s fascinating, another example of how the media is often just an giant echo chamber that fails to own up when their big story is wrong. Even NPR played it up. NPR’s headline last week:

…which, oddly enough, now, within Google, links to a different story now.

From tonight:

Rachel didn’t actually give raw numbers. I’ll do that, with the help of

Record of incumbents in Senate primaries thus far: 10-2 (83.3%)

W: Richard Burr (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV)
L: The two includes Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who lost in the Democratic party primary because he had been a Republican for 40 years, and Bob Bennett of Utah, who didn’t actually lose a GOP primary but lost a vote held by party activists at a state convention.

House of Representatives incumbents’ performance: (losers in parentheses)
Oregon: 5-0
Alabama: 4-1 (Griffith, R-5, party-switcher)
Arkansas: 0-0
Iowa: 5-0
California: 50-0
West Virginia: 2-1 (Oliverio, D-1)
North Carolina: 13-0
Illinois: 14-0
Maine: 2-0
Texas: 28-0
Indiana: 9-0
North Carolina: 11-0
Ohio: 18-0
Nebraska: 3-0
Kentucky: 6-0
Pennsylvania: 18-0
Idaho: 2-0
Mississippi: 4-0
New Mexico: 3-0
Montana: 1-0
Nevada: 3-0
New Jersey: 12-0
North Dakota: 1-0
South Carolina: 3-1 (Inglis, R-4, stll has run-off)
South Dakota: 1-0
Virginia: 1-0

Record of incumbents in House primaries thus far: 241-3 (98.8%)

But every media outlet is telling you that voter anger is th story to watch as primaries are held across the country.

UPDATE – Jon Stewart took on this silly narrative tonight, too. He brought up that, in all of the Governor, Senate, and House primaries yesterday in which there were incumbents, 82 out of 84 won. That’s 97.6%.

And then he took aim at the new narrative, that last night was “Ladies’ Night”. I thought Hillary Clinton had put those 18 million cracks in the ceiling so that pundits would no longer refer to the electoral success of women as a marketing tactic to get women liquored up.


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