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.

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

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!