The Incumbent Advantage Myth


There has been a long-standing myth in political elections called the “Incumbent Advantage.” Accordingly, in any given race, the incumbent has an inherent edge over any challengers and is usually safe in their seat despite negative approval ratings from constituents. However, given the groundwork that has been laid and the success achieved by Young Americans for Liberty, we are happy to announce that this particular myth is currently being busted. 


For context, many supporters of the Republican Party subscribe to the belief that the state has a limited role to play in the lives of American citizens and that government should overall be reduced and operate in a much smaller capacity than is currently the case. However, an unfortunate reality is that there exists within the GOP a type of politician known as the “Republican in Name Only,” or RINO for short. While paying lip service to the principles of limited government, RINOs usually vote in the opposite fashion, often with their Democrat opponents in the legislature. They are the epitome of the Establishment, and for the longest time, they have held control over the GOP and its platform. 


In contrast, the Liberty Movement within the party comprises individuals who strive to defend and reestablish the principles of limited government, drafting legislation to diminish, repeal, and abolish the state where it exists beyond Constitutional parameters. Much like the great Ron Paul, these politicians believe in the philosophy of our Founders, and they desire no control over the lives of their fellow citizens. 


Until very recently, the RINO puppets of the Establishment seemingly had complete control over the party, with no chance in sight to wrestle it out of their corrupt hands. Then, Young Americans for Liberty decided to develop a way to take the party’s power and put it back into the hands of champions for liberty. The path to be taken was not an easy one, but after years of hard work, with the help of our supporters, we have accomplished something that many thought was impossible:


We have an effective model for advancing the cause of the Liberty Movement, and our primary victories so far prove this. 


According to Ballotpedia, incumbents historically have an 88% reelection rate, with 12% losing their primary races. When YAL began building its National Coalition of Liberty Legislators in 2018, GOP incumbents were ousted by liberty champions at a mere rate of 7.95%. Fast forward to 2024, and liberty candidates are ousting incumbents at an incredible 56.25%, meaning that more than half of these Establishment incumbents are falling against the incredible work that young activists have accomplished to help elect those who believe in our Nation’s Founding Principles


This should come as no surprise since the model that we have developed via Operation Win at the Door (OWD) has allowed us to: 


  • Help elect over 300 liberty legislators at the state level nationwide
  • Assisted 66 legislators outspent by their opponents and helped them win anyway!
  • Swung elections in a 6-15% margin
  • Help candidates get elected in 72 counties carried by Biden in 2020!
  • Boosted 128 candidates to victory with a 5% margin! 


One can’t help but be blown away by the impressive results these young activists have made with their tireless efforts. By going door-to-door and meeting directly with voters, they can connect with them on a personal level concerning the issues that they most care about in their state. I believe this personal connection makes all the difference and is why Ignoring Washington and Focusing on the States is the best political strategy per dollar spent.


This article was written by Jeff Frazee, Founder & Chairman at Young Americans for Liberty

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