I’ve heard several complaints from Walker County citizens that they are tired of seeing these mailouts, mostly because they tend to be so negative in nature. I’ve seen a handful of the mailouts, and for the most part, negative would be the perfect word to describe them. The brochures typically expound on how wonderful a particular candidate is, while portraying their opponent as almost purely evil.
National and state campaigns have become more and more divisive over the years, but that divisiveness has now dwindled its way down to the local level.
With the loads of negativity that have filled folks mailboxes recently, I was surprised by a mailout I received last week.
The brochure was for a judicial candidate in Jefferson County.
The first positive I found with the information was the fact the words “liberal” or “conservative” were nowhere to be found.
I then noticed that I couldn’t find the candidate’s political affiliation.
The mailout was full of positive information about the candidate, mostly a list of his accomplishments.
What a strange idea!
This candidate wasn’t compelled to let me know if he was left-leaning or right-leaning. This candidate’s Facebook page didn’t even reveal if he was a GOP or a Dem. It took a few minutes of searching the Internet to find that information.
If this person hadn’t already earned my vote, he certainly picked it up with the last piece of information I found on the brochure — a recipe for “Mom’s Peanut Butter Pie.” Being a diabetic, I should probably vote against him for providing a recipe for sweets on his mailout, but in my mind it showed some humility and a sense of humor that I feel elected officials need.
I think the only way to stop negative campaigning is to show people that it doesn’t work. I’d much rather receive information about a candidate’s strengths than a constant flow of badmouthing towards their opponent.
In my humble opinion, the only thing that can top positive campaigning is a great recipe. If a politician can add to my wife’s already great culinary skills, I’m ready to give them my vote.
While my mind isn’t set just yet on all the races on the ballot Tuesday, I’m 99 percent sure at this point that I’ll be voting for the candidate that I mentioned earlier. The only thing that might change my mind is if the pie tastes terrible.
James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.