Negative Campaigns: Deciding Who to Vote Against
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
Ah, political season, and the time to decide whom to vote against. That’s right. Against. Very few politicians seem noble enough to encourage me to cast a vote for them. The only political poll that counts (for me) is the one I take next to my home phone.
A really nasty habit has developed among political candidates and their campaigners over the past few years. Two years ago, I stopped answering the phone because every other call wanted to identify some awful something the other candidate had done, pretend to be an “independent survey” and then give me a dozen did-you-knows about the other candidate, or—what I most hate—an automated, pre-recorded call asking for my sup- port, usually while I’m in the bath, in the middle of cooking dinner, or furiously writing a chapter of my next book.
This year, I’m doing what I said I’d do 2 years ago: I’m keeping a record of which candidates annoy me most by intruding on my private time and I’m voting against them. All other things being equal (and they pretty much have been in regard to my own assessments), my home intrusion poll will decide who doesn’t get my vote this year.
For example, local Okaloosa School Superintendent candidate Alexis Tibbetts won’t get my vote solely because her supporters showed up on my front doorstep in a no-soliciting neighborhood where non-residents are specifically not allowed to be without permission. They frightened my young teen, who wouldn’t let them in. I doubt Alexis herself was on my doorstep but her sup- porters were acting as her agents and her website specifically asks for her supporter’s help, including neighbor- hood and telephone activities.
So far right now, it looks like I’m voting for Charlie Crist for Governor of Florida. That was determined last night when my Caller ID specified a “private caller” and I panicked, thinking of only a few people it could be and had to wonder who was dying now. I’m on all the do-not- call lists, which of course doesn’t apply to politicians, go figure.
This call pissed me off worse than any others I’ve received because of the attempts at deception. First, they wouldn’t identify who they were or their telephone number. They’d rendered my Caller ID service useless. Otherwise, I never would have answered, but I guess that was the point.
Second, they claimed to be an independent survey company conducting an important survey (what? 4 days before the election?) not affiliated with either candidate. But still wouldn’t identify themselves, though the caller told me she could give me the telephone number of the president, if I liked. Huh? Not the number she’s calling from? Huh?
Third, the independent survey (define “independent”)turned out to be a list of Did-you-knows about bad stuff Crist has supposedly done. I don’t know if he did, I don’t remember what they were, and I couldn’t bring myself to care because my aggravation at the tactics employed by his adversary was so strong that it overrode any political opinions.
So the negative attack on Crist actually backfired where I’m concerned. I associate it not with him but with his adversaries. The efforts to deceive me into answering the phone by blocking the source of the call, to deceive me into taking the call by inventing its purpose, and then to deceive me into listening to their agenda…all that deception and evasiveness is what gives politicians a bad name!
Ah, but we still have tonight and all day tomorrow for more candidates and their supporters to interrupt me at home and give me a chance to vote against them!