PRIMARIES: Polities' High Price

Conventional wisdom has preached that Watergate will have a stunning impact on elections, converting incumbency from an asset into a liability and making this the year of the ethical amateur in politics. The analysis is logical enough, but politics often is not. Primaries in five states last week provided such mixed results that only one thing seemed certain: the electorate is still writing the 1974 political script.

Only in the Ohio Democratic Senate primary did the predicted pattern hold up. At stake was nomination for the seat vacated by Republican William Saxbe...