Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Politics makes smart people dumb

Philly had an election yesterday. Nope, it's not November yet, but this is a Democratic town, so the primary is the main event in local politics. There was a complicated and lackluster field running for mayor, but the best option won there, so no complaints. Well, complaints about the lacklusterness, but not the result.

In our district, we had four candidates for city council: our lazy and miserable current councilwoman, and three perfectly fine alternatives, one of whom matched the racial/gender demographics of the incumbent and another of whom actually ran a good campaign. What happened? They split the vote. Which has happened in every councilmanic election since I moved to the district. The three challengers combined received more than twice the votes the incumbent did, but she won the plurality, so she's going back to the council without so much as putting up a single lawn sign in my neck of the woods. If even one of the challengers had bowed out of the race in acknowledgement that not only was winning impossible (something obvious to everyone not running) but the very fact of his/her campaign was going to land the incumbent back in office, we wouldn't have to put up with her for another term.

3 comments:

niobe said...

I'm impressed, since I pay no attention whatsoever to local politics.

S. said...

I mostly only pay attention to local and presidential, a result of growing up in DC there's nothing in between.

I still think it's actually funny that I vote for governor, and only notice state politics insofar as they impinge on Philadelphia. I'm completely infuriated that people who don't live in my city control many of its laws (i.e., the state legislature). I felt that way about the federal government to a lesser degree--they could mess with DC's home rule but they had to live with the impact of what they did. Not surprisingly, DC has excellent handgun laws.

liz said...

Good for you for paying attention to local politics since that's what affects most people's day-to-day life!