Annals of electioneering

Yesterday was the mayoral and city council primary in town– now, Boston’s had the same mayor for sixteen years. We do that– unless something’s horribly broken, we muddle along. Hell, I sometimes think Ray Flynn would still be mayor if he hadn’t been gunning for that Vatican Ambassador thing– though really, and not to slam on the Catholics, but … Vatican Ambassador? Not sexy, Ray.

During the last mayoral race, there was one challenger, a long-time councillor whose theme was essentially “We can do better.”

Eh. She didn’t get many votes.

This time, though, there were almost a half-dozen challengers for the mayoral seat, including a republican (a thing hardly heard of in municipal politics) and a young councillor-at-large whose election was exciting when he first got his seat four years ago, simply because he’s the first Asian-American to get a seat in Boston, as well as a teacher by profession. We’re a pretty white town when it comes to the politicians who get elected, so it was exciting to elect him and then see him be re-elected two years later. There were a number of other candidates, clearly, and for the first time in a while the councillor-at-large position was also contested enough to be subject to the primary, because this man was running for mayor.

He didn’t make the cut for the general election– the more established city councillor running did that, and now Boston’s out a minority at-large councillor who (so far as these things go, which isn’t far, Boston’s executive is very, very strong) did some good work for the neighborhoods and was at least a young voice with a different perspective. There’s perhaps a longer post in here about experience or hubris or perhaps racism beyond a certain layer of politics, but to me, the factor was this– he just hadn’t been doing this long enough for me to want to put him in as mayor.

I also didn’t vote for him, though, for the same reason I didn’t vote for other candidates.

I have had 56 pre-recorded telephone calls from that candidate and several other mayoral candidates as well as some of the at-large contenders in the last month. 56. Including twice a day from this “young, exciting” mayoral candidate and another man running for the at-large position.

You know– the Do Not Call list exists for a reason, and just because you’re a non-profit caller doesn’t mean people don’t find repeated calls extremely annoying. A pre-recorded message asking me to vote for you is not impressive. A pre-recorded message asking me to vote for you featuring voice recordings from “ordinary people” that are cut off or garbled or nonsensical in their content? I’m going to tell people what a pain in the ass your campaign is– which I also did when some of these supporters accosted me on the way into my polling place.

“No, I won’t be voting for X,” I said when they asked. “Your campaign’s been ringing my phone off the hook and it’s a nuisance.” The volunteer pooh-poohed it, but when I said “Twice a day,” she did look a little concerned.

Okay– I am being a bit of a crank here. As I said, I voted for somebody else because I didn’t think Exciting Young Man had the experience (and yes, the BH did crack on the comparison with our President, but still, this candidate was no Barack Obama)– but honestly? If I don’t know anything about you except what you put out there in the media? The phone calls are a strikeout.

Rah. Damned electioneering kids on my lawn, clogging my phone lines.

And … though experience counts, I will note that the people who came out on top in yesterday’s voting were not the ones who were calling morning, noon and night.

So– dear city election candidates– Do Not Call with automated messages. The old ways of signs and personal calls and volunteers ringing on doorbells isn’t nearly so annoying. Mmkay?

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4 thoughts on “Annals of electioneering

  1. Robert Modean

    **
    “Damned electioneering kids on my lawn, clogging my phone lines.”
    **
    Preach it sista! Seriously, I’m right there with you in the front lines with a pair of wire cutters willing to cut my landline if it’ll make a bit of difference. Of course now the buggers have my cell # too so there’s no escaping them. I’m normally a reticent man when it comes to politics but the last few elction cycles are changing that and not in the way the pols would like.

    One day I’ll get one too many calls about candidate X and how they are needed in Washington (as if that cesspool needed another toadying sycophant suckling at the public teat) or worse about how candidate Y is going to destroy this country (If the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Vietnam, and the Joe McArthy couldn’t do it then I doubt the flavor of the day in DC stands much of a chance) and that will be the last straw. There are those who talk doom and gloom about the coming revolution, I for one believe it will start when good people pushed too far by push polls and fund raising calls finally yield to their inner demons and shout “Enough!”, only, you know, with pitchforks, tar, and feathers. I’m stocking up now, don’t want to get caught short when the need for tar arises.

    Godspeed Erika,

    Robert

    Reply
  2. Dawn

    Sounds a little like Chicago (the mayor in for life, just about, machine politics, etcs). As the EYM/Obama comparison, well, that’s why I didn’t want to vote for him the primary at least–man not even finished with one term as Senator… But I digress.
    Once I got a call for a local politician on a Sunday morning, no later than 9am as I recall it. A recorded one, so I couldn’t tell them off–but just as I was hanging up, I realized I wasn’t even in his district! I’m not sure what was the worst about that. And I am the person who reported the campaign worker who tried to follow me into the polling place–really bad form, that. There’s a reason the signs are all clustered however many feet away from the door, you know?
    *sigh* And it all starts again for me come the new year; I believe our local stuff–county, city, and maybe state–are this March. Lots of bastards to throw out, though God only knows if we’ll get even half. (yes, I’m a cynic about Chicago/Cook Co politics).

    Reply

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