When the leaves begin to float down this year the local campaign signs will begin sprouting in population. It’s also the season when the partisans of various political candidates agonize waaaay too much over who has more lawn signs. In fact some campaigns think of little else but their signs—at the expense of the actual work of winning over voters.
The annual sign routine is predictable:
- Candidate Joe gets his signs up first, causing the supporters of Candidate Jane to freak out.
- Jane overcompensates by trying to put up twice as many signs as Joe, escalating the sign wars.
- Now it’s Joe’s supporters’ turn to freak out, so Joe orders another 100 signs to catch up, making Joe and Jane roughly even.
- Both teams suddenly realize that if they put TWO signs on each property, it looks like they have double the support! Then they realize that three is better than two. And four is better than three. (Five, however, makes the property owner look crazy.)
- Jane’s cousin gets caught with a trunk load of stolen Joe signs, creating a bunch of bad publicity for Jane.
- Meanwhile, the local zoning enforcement officer (a member of Jane’s campaign committee) decides to enforce a little-known local law, requiring Joe to take down his signs because they are 3.25 inches too tall.
After the first week of this annual ritual, voters stop even seeing the signs, as they become just another feature of the roadscape.
Finally, after months of sign wars, your local election occurs. The votes are tallied. Turns out that having more signs had nothing to do with who actually won. The outcome could be predicted as reliably with a coin flip. Because no one—well, almost no one—decides which candidate to support because of a sign. Or do they? Maybe yes or maybe no… What’s your comment?
Vote for Linda Seccaspina