by Dave Zornow
Now that the election is behind us, can I share a few complaints?
- Vote to change the vote. I can think of more than a handful of local candidates who “mailed it in” for this election. Why can’t voters do the same? It’s time that New York allow early voting by mail. And maybe early voting at polling places, too as they do in Florida and other states. Come on, pols, it’s easy. And do you REALLY think the new voting system works so well that you shouldn’t try something new?
- Campaign Advertising. As someone who works with media research, I’m always amazed at the detail and depth that pollsters have on potential voters. But I’m flummoxed by how stupid the creative executions of their campaign ads. Has anyone ever been swayed by a last minute phone call? Or the dozens of pieces of literature at the last minute which flood mail boxes and fill recycling bins? Or by any TV ad? And even if they had, what the ROI on the minority that flips based on that massive over-exposure? Com on, there’s got to be a better way. Campaign mangers let’s admit it: you are only doing this stuff not because you think it is effective, but because you are convinced that your opponent is going to do the same thing and you don’t want to be left out. There’s GOT to be a better way.If you saw any campaign ad, negative or positive, which helped form your opinion on a candidate, please click the comment link and share that experience.
- Negative campaigning. Political consultants say these ads work. But that’s in the short run. What I’ve never heard reported is an analysis of how they lower the credibility of both parties and all candidates. You’ve been elected, congratulations. Now what? Do you think consumers/voters can really tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys if all they remember from the election is the attack ads? Saying Albany is dysfunctional and then joining the dysfunction is a recipe for bad PR. Even Groucho Marx knew better than to go that route.
- Republicans — where are thou? It would be nice if Rockland County Republicans knew where Nyack was located. There seems to be an assumption that they can’t win in Nyack because it’s heavily Democratic and it’s not worth their time. Here’s a new campaign strategy: try talking to us. Really. People in Nyack may disagree with what Republicans stand for nationally, but it’s naive to think we agree with everything that Democrats say, either. There was a time when “liberal Republican” wasn’t an oxymoron. We even had one in NYS once as governor. NyackNewsAndViews offered both NYS Senatorial candidates free space to talk about the issues and run ads. Carlucci didn’t need to do this and chose to spend his resources elsewhere; but it was weird that Vanderhoef’s people didn’t even respond after several attempts. If Vanderhoef had responded Carlucci would have been forced to reciprocate. And we’d have an opportunity to learn more about both of these candidates who are likely to be around for a long time.Regardless of who wins, we all benefit by having an open-to-all-talk-to-the-voters discussion. It’s good for democracy. And in New York state, democracy can use all of the help it can get!
- The invisible Tea Party. Over 3500 angry Republicans voted for Carl Paladino in the September primary in Rockland County narrowing edging out the party’s chosen candidate, Rick Lazio. There’s a message there — because 3500 people who made it a point to vote in a primary in a county as small as Rockland is a big number. I’m assuming they are still angry, because no one spoke to them or any of their issues locally during the general election. Yeah, some of them may be anarchists. OK, a lot of them. But if there are 3500 that voted, you know there were many more that didn’t vote who are fed up with how NYS government works (do I see any hands raised for the slogan, “I’m as mad as hell, but not quite ready to vote for the Tea Party…yet?”)
- “Great ideas, Mr/Ms Candidate. Now how are you going to pay for all of that?” Rockland County commuters are on board with getting off the MTA Tax train. And everyone who campaigned in the county agreed to repeal or review the tax. But these same commuters are not going to accept service cuts, either. So when you tell us you want to change the MTA, please also share your alternative financing scheme, too. Ibid for any other program you want to add as well.
- Talk to us about local issues — and show you know the facts. The replacement TZB is a big deal with a big vision for the future of the 287 corridor. It’s impact on Rockland, Westchester NYS commerce and immense — and that’s before the first shovel hits the ground. When you come visit us, please know what our issues are — and show some knowledge beyond what we read in the papers (or at least read the paper before you get here). When we send you to Washington we want to know you know what we know about where we live.
- Just because you are running unopposed it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for our votes. One of the biggest mistakes a pol can make is to think they are anointed because no one is running. It’s a lost opportunity to put up some signs and build political capital. If you take it for granted and don’t ask for our vote, why should we give you our support after the election when you need the community’s help?
- What’s the plan, Stan? Everyone says that Albany is dysfunctional and that the “three men in a room” paradigm dominates NYS politics. We were bombarded with messaging from candidates who promised to change that. It would have been nice to hear some specifics on how they intended to do that.
- It’s about the vote, stupid. In almost every election — especially a low turnout affair like the mid-terms — there are more than enough voters who vote with their feet to change an outcome. Where’s the messaging that encourages people to vote? We have banners over Broadway reminding us about Street Fairs and other local events — isn’t an election worthy of the same reminder? A generic VOTE TUESDAY banner could also be used for school board, library and fire district elections which share the same anemic voter turnout stats. Seems like something both parties might chip in to buy for their communities. Unless of course, it’s only about winning, not that whole democratic process thing.
OK, that’s my list of ten. What’s yours? Click on the Comments link to share your views.
Dave Zornow is editor of NyackNewsAndViews.com