Democracy Backfires

I think I’ve found a flaw in cunning plan to vote by absentee ballot: I now appear to be on just about every campaign’s mailing list. Oh joy.

(And lest you think I’m just being paranoid, more than one of the campaign letters I’ve received make explicit mention of the fact that they got my name from the absentee voter list.)

A few interesting observations (not to be confused with fun facts, as while these may be facts, they aren’t really fun) from the mailings:

  • The attack ads are purely negative, as in they avoid any mention of who they want you to vote for, just who they want you to vote against. And I’m cynical enough about politics to take this to mean that the candidate I’m supposed to not vote against has the exact same flaw he’s attacking in his opponent. (Especially when it’s a Republican ad accusing the Democratic candidate of increasing spending, when the Republicans of late haven’t exactly been paragons of fiscal responsibility themselves.)
  • All of the Republican ads have been pure attack ads. Only some of the Democrat ads have been pure attack ads.
  • All the Democrat ads are addressed to “Paul Kuliniewicz”, whereas all the Republican ads are addressed to “The Kuliniewicz Family”. I guess they didn’t get the memo; the former lives in Maryland, whereas the latter lives in Missouri, and I’m pretty sure the Maryland State Board of Elections wouldn’t like the latter voting in a Maryland state senate race. Plus, one of my cynical rules of thumb as far as politics go is to be suspicious as soon as someone says the word “family”.

(And lest you get the wrong impression from the above list, no, I’m not voting straight Democrat. And no, that’s not just because in one of the races a Republican is running unopposed (yes, in Maryland!). Who taught you to be so cynical about politics? Sheesh. It’s just that the Republican ads so far have been easier to poke at.)

Also, one thing you learn from perusing the ballot is the races with people you’ve never heard of for offices you never even knew existed. I mean, everyone knows about the races for governor or Congress or the state legislature, and even if they don’t, it’s pretty well-known what those people do. But then you run into something like electing the Register of Wills. I’m not entirely sure how that’s a partisan office. And wait, I’m supposed to pick three out of a pool of six people to be a Judge of the Orphans’ Court? Which doesn’t even have anything to do with children?

And if you think that’s weird, try this on for size: the Libertarians, Greens, and Populists are all backing the same candidate for the U.S. Senate! How exactly does a Libertarian, a Green, and a Populist agree on anything?