One of the amazing stories from the 2008 Presidential campaign was the awakening of young people into our political environment and their willingness to get involved. And then the events in Madison just over a year ago again brought out young people in droves to protest around the Capitol. And with this election cycle we’ve seen a bumper crop of young people and new faces getting involved in local politics at any number of levels. This is fun and exciting stuff…and it should be new and clean and fresh…except when it isn’t. Under their aegis, during the past six months, we’ve see some of the same ugliness in politics that we’ve suffered during several recent election cycles. Sigh!
We’ve seen a young campaign manager acquire an internal document about dirt on an opponent and hand it off to a third party friend for dissemination.
We’ve seen a young party official pass off questionably acquired documents and leak them to a known antagonist media source.
We’ve then seen someone anonymously notify party officials and bloggers about the publication of the information.
We’ve seen young political activists then point fingers at one another.
We’ve heard of young campaign managers released because of purported campaign expense irregularities.
We’ve heard young candidates ask if we can find dirt on an opponent and publish it.
We see several local candidates have decided negative campaigns are to their advantage while insisting they are talking about the issues.
We’ve watched a good cop bad cop campaign where the candidate runs the high road and someone else from the campaign takes the low…and who will get there before ye?
We’ve listened while a young candidate has adopted ageism as a campaign strategy proclaiming that old people are out of touch with reality.
I am sure that if I thought about it a bit longer that their are more examples.
The promise of these new campaigns and these new entrants to our electoral process is the involvement of the citizenry, the grass roots, the desire to debate/discuss the issues, and the declaration to run clean and open campaigns.
When we accept candidates who are just more of the same, we short change ourselves. Don’t accept the mediocre just because it’s a new face or a new name. Let all of our candidates know that we deserve and demand better.
And my thanks to Emerge Wisconsin and DemTeam for working to educate new and inexperienced candidates so that they can start out with the knowledge and confidence to run clean and effective campaigns when they are ready to make their mark!