The Kindness Of Strangers
I saw more than one headline on how Blanche Lincoln defied the anti-incumbent trend. Certainly she beat union-backed Democrat Bill Halter in an Arkansas run-off, but did she defy the trend? I think that would be misunderstanding the trend.
I usually complain about trendmongering, where pundits promote non-existent trends, or trends so slight as to not be statistically significant. But the anti-incumbent mood among the voters does seem to be meaningful.
Still, that doesn't mean incumbents will simply lose. It means that incumbents who normally have nothing to fear, now do. Lincoln, in a regular year, would have breezed to her party's nomination, rather than require a run-off which she won by a margin too close for comfort. If anything, the headline should be "Lincoln wins squeaker, confirming anti-incumbent mood."
In fact, she better hope that mood has lessened by November.
PS Speaking of trendmongering, a lot of people have been noting how many women won on Tuesday. Coincidence.