This election season has been the most negative, most vitriolic, most slimy primary I can easily recall. There might have been worse, but it's buried somewhere in the past. It started early, too. Our Presidential Preference primary was back in March. The ballot was simply presidential preference: no other offices were present. This Tuesday's primary (or for the last two weeks for those who do early voting) is for our local state representatives, senator, judges, school board, and then for US senator and one of the constitutional amendment votes Florida is justifiably infamous for. For example, have a look at the 2002 pregnant pig amendment story an amendment to the state constitution to outlaw a practice used by two farmers in the entire state. That's right: two.
The most vicious races have been for the state senate and representative, with the state senate race being the worst. With a primary at the end of August, it was a surprise when we started getting attack mailings in early June, aimed at our current representative who's now running for "promotion" to the senate. There was no mention who the ads were promoting, but they all were from a PAC apparently dedicated to keeping him out of the senate. He's a two term representative, first winning a seat in 2008, and while he's not what I'd call stellar as conservative/libertarian, he's a "4 out of 5" to me. Naturally, I assume that a PAC dedicated to destroying a candidate is either funded by, affiliated with, or in other ways connected with his political opponent, so I started looking into who that was.
The story gets needlessly complicated here (what? more needlessly complicated than it already is?) with redistricting, the opponent and state rep. actually having been friends (I'd add "at one time"), the state rep's wife and ex-wife getting dragged through the mud, and then doing a commercial to support him, the same three or four politicians running against each other every election, and more. My "issue" is that I've never seen the volume of glossy photo cards attack mailers (11x14 size postcards) that this race is generating, nor have we gotten the number of junk phones calls as we have this election.
Long ago, like 35 years or so, I decided that a good rule of thumb was to not vote for the first candidate to sling mud. Like all "zero tolerance policies" or rules of thumb, it's not right all the time, and should be used with some commonsense, but it's a pretty good indicator. In this case, the state rep actually comes out on top. He has released some negative ads about his opponent, but nowhere near the volume of slime she has generated against him.
Comparatively, the race for the state representative has been a model of decorum. Two of the four candidates for that race have actually knocked on our door and wanted to meet us - if only to give us another glossy photo card. That race is marred by a "carpetbagger" - in this case, not a northerner coming to take advantage of us, but someone from south Florida coming to take advantage of us - and a candidate who has been a fixture in Tallahassee government, going from job to job, getting term limited out only to be elected to another, all while being our local model of the GOP Establishment. The favorite trick is to pass a large amount of taxes, then pass another bill cutting some other taxes so that they can say they cut taxes while the total tax bill has gone up. We get about a quarter of the junk phone calls for this race.
The candidates all act like there's a template they're filling out. They all act like if they just say the same handful of buzzwords, or buzz phrases, they win. This year's buzz phrases include:
- I'm against Illegal immigration
- I'm against Common Core
- I'm pro-Second amendment (having the NRA ratings to back it up adds cred)
- I'm against supporting illegal immigrants in any way, or doing anything that might benefit them
I'm looking for the slime to ease up once Tuesday is over with. Of course, then we transition to the mud slinging for the presidential election in another two months. I'm going to move the recycling bin right next to the mailbox so that campaign literature can just be directly dumped from the mailbox into the recycling can.
Indonesian mud volcano has nothing on us).