I probably won’t win any math awards, but it’s pretty clear that the amount of blogging one does is directly proportional to how busy a person is at their employment. And as of this week, I think I’m officially on overload.
Big project at my day job, combined with my busiest primary ever for political work, plus not one, but two listings popping up for me at once, and trying to get a home sale put together successfully. And since I’m on overload, it’s a great time for the family dog to… um, go away, & have a kid get into a car accident at the exact same time I’m trying to get my dad to a doctor’s appointment.
I have to admit I was starting to have a panic attack today that the Minnehaha County Lincoln Day dinner I’d committed to attending was tonight. (Thankfully, it’s next week – Whew!)
That leaves me finally tapping things out on my iPad at midnight – 1 AM now, as I try to settle in to recharge my batteries. Because I’m off to Sioux Falls, Madison, and parts unknown up north all before Friday.
That’s not a lot of time to read, contemplate and “philosophize” about politics in general.
So, what do I have time to notice? What has punched through the chatter? Stuff..
Foremost, negative campaigning seems to have taken sway in a few races, but (mostly) not from campaigns. It mainly seems to be coming from PACs designed for attacks.
Stan Adelstein shook off the cobwebs, and wrote a check or two and had someone do a piece for one of his several PACs. Rich Hilgemann’s PAC in Aberdeen did Stace Nelson’s bidding, and went hard negative using photos of Nelson’s opponent at a charity fundraiser at SDSU. As mentioned in an earlier post, the Lautensclager gun group is attacking from Colorado, and a South Dakota Right to Life affiliated PAC is sending out attack postcards.
Some are poorly done, but the tone may lead us back to the primary of 2014, where much of that started to backfire. The only negative piece I was commissioned to design last primary ended up being pulled before it went to homes because it could have cost the candidate the lead. The candidate won, so, it may have been a good call.
This spring, I haven’t been asked to prepare any pieces to take the bark off of any fellow Republicans, and I’m ok with that. It just may be because of public distaste for it is growing, as some of what’s being used seems to have gotten more personal, some are outright falsehoods, and some of what they’re using is less related to the job performance of politicians.
We’ll see in the two weeks left.
The other thing that is getting my attention is the amount of complaining I’ve been hearing about what had once been a good read on candidates, but seems to have fallen on hard times in recent years – the South Dakota Right to Life Voters Guide.
Like the 2014 primary election edition, this years’ primary edition in at least one case seriously misrepresented a candidate’s position using questionable sources. Again. When they very easily could have picked up a phone.
Last election in one instance, they relied on a NARAL website (of all sources) to comment about a GOP candidate. And they got the candidate’s position flat wrong. This year, it was sourcing a candidate assessment from a pro-choice, liberal atheist Democrat State Senate candidate. And again they badly missed the mark.
But it’s not just questionable sources when a candidate doesn’t respond. Legislators themselves are grumbling that SDRTL is rating them on legislation SDRTL took no public position on, but omitting bills that they did. As one legislator noted to me “how can you support them on their legislation when you don’t know what it is?”
Yet, an affiliated PAC is sending out negative postcards based on that same potentially flawed rating.
I asked one of their longest time legislative supporters over the years – one who had carried a lot of water for them – about it. He remarked that he personally got busy an election ago, and forgot to send his survey in. SDRTL ended up with a statement of support for his opponent, because he didn’t get the survey in, despite a decade of being one of their more vocal advocates. Suffice it to say he was not impressed when a survey negated a decade of activism.
SDRTL needs to take a hard look at their legislative outreach, as well as how they survey lawmakers. When they correctly list “did not respond” for some, and whether intentional or not, instead do a hit job on others who did the same thing, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
Lest they find out what a loss of prestige & moral authority costs them when they really need to count on it.
And that’s what I know tonight.