Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Jumping Ship: Understanding Senator Arlen Specter's Party Switch

As his political party faces turmoil, Senator Arlen Specter has responded by jumping ship. Is his defection because of his principles or his political survival instincts? On this matter, I must side with Republican National Chairman, Michael Steele, who stated:

"Let's be honest: Senator Specter didn't leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record. Republicans look forward to beating Senator Specter in 2010, assuming the Democrats don't do it first."

It is pretty clear that Arlen Specter's weak polling numbers and his frequent disagreements with other Republican leaders led to his apostasy. This reminds me of David Mayhew's study, Congress: The Electoral Connection, where he described members of Congress as "single-minded seekers of reelection." Arlen Specter did what was expedient for Arlen Specter.
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