According to a new Rasmussen Reports survey, 48% of Republicans would rather cast their vote for a political newcomer than someone with years of experience. Released this week, the survey also shows that only 10% of all voters think it’s a good thing to be considered a “career politician.”
The Democrats, however, have much more tolerance for political insiders. 73% of Democrats surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for someone with experience, which could take some of the sting out of the poll for someone like Hillary Clinton. Of course, even her biggest challenge right now – Senator Bernie Sanders – can only be described as a “career politician.” Still, he’s managed to convince voters that he’s an outsider somehow.
Political experience is one of those things where it’s nice if a candidate has it, but it’s hardly a liability if they don’t. Especially in an environment like this one. Far more important than experience is what the individual did with that experience. If “experience” means settling in to an unchallenged life-term in the House of Representatives, it’s hard to see how that recommends you for the presidency. If “experience” means riding your husband’s name to your own political ambitions, same. If your Washington experience has blinded you to the realities of what it’s like to actually live in America, that experience can actually prove a detriment.
Voters are wise to the game. This country wasn’t founded by career politicians. This country thrives when political outsiders bring their experience in the field of law, the military, and the world of business to bear on the bizarro world of Washington D.C. When you just keep electing the same names from the same families, you get more of the same. That’s why so many Republicans are willing to look for a newcomer. It’s not that we don’t value experience, it’s that we realize that the people on Capitol Hill have all of the experience they could possibly have. And look where our country is as a result.
Is there a tinge of hypocrisy to it? After all, Republicans ripped into Obama for being a first-term senator when he launched his campaign for the White House.
Far from it. That only proves the point. It’s not about experience or lack thereof. It’s about judgment. It’s about character. You can hold office from the day you graduate from college to the day you die, but if you filled those years with one bad decision after another…well, hell yes, we would prefer an outsider!
Bottom line is that we need a big change in Washington. Another Bush. Another Clinton. Another career politician. That’s just not the way forward.