If the gods smile, as many as 20 percent may vote in next month’s Frederick City primary elections. Four registered voters will walk by every one that marches into the voting booth. Fellow columnist George Wenschhoff puts the blame on the system that created Frederick’s stand-alone elections.
George, there’s more: What’s going on now is a bore.
Of course, that’s usually true. Most men and women have more interesting things in their lives than paying attention to politicians’ prattle; they view everything associated with the elective process as slightly dirty. Where some people see truth and democracy, other folks find nothing but lies – and add party labels. That’s called partisanship and both parties spend entirely too much time in its practice.
A staunch Republican and former White House staffer when the elder Bush was president said on the radio this week: The GOP legislators ganging up on the Clunkers for Cash program were destructive for their party and its future. Too many people benefit, not only autoworkers but the thousands of companies that supply them. George W. Bush and Barack Obama handed over billions to bankers to try to shore up the economy. The widespread, bipartisan support for the Clunkers for Cash comes about because it is the first program that individuals can control and receive direct rewards.
No local candidate, incumbent or not, can offer anything like it. I’m not talking about the money but the excitement. Other than those running for office and their family and friends, the general reaction is a yawn. I understand some candidates are saving their “fireworks” for when “it really matters.” The date arrives in the middle of next month.
You can be very sure the Good Ol’ Boys count on your inattention; they’re conniving very hard to get their selections selected. Since they are now hardcore GOP stalwarts they should have minimal impact on the Democratic primaries. By the way, I don’t fault the GOB; they are doing what everyone else should do. But they chiefly operate below the general public’s radar scan. That irritates me and should anger everybody else, too. They make decisions that directly affect the state of local democracy in very undemocratic ways.
Your indifference is the true secret of the GOB strength. The current attitude toward primaries simply reflects how most Americans feel toward politicians. During an election the feeling becomes worse: people really don’t want to be bothered. Interviews, speeches and ads turn them off.
The answer, of course, is to hold all elections in a single year: national and state, county and city. The interactions among all candidates are guaranteed to generate excitement. This is the best way to please – and not inconvenience – the constituency. Four years apart elections will enable all citizens to have a holiday.
Standing in the way are politicians like Frederick Alderman Donna Kuzemchak who insists that she wants voters who know about the issues. What she really means, she’s afraid of new people that might judge the grandstanding she stages as an act that truly mirrors her embarrassing personality.