National Politics Taint Local Races And Lay Waste To Societal Norms

This is part of LEO’s expanded commentary before the Nov. 5 election. For more, click here.

In past election seasons, I have knocked on doors of little pink houses belonging to prospective voters in small Indiana towns. I have been told, even by reliable Democratic voters, that they were voting Republican in an upcoming primary because the sheriff’s race is between five people running on the Republican ticket, and each person has their favorite neighbor, or buddy from high school, or neighbor’s buddy from high school, on the ballot. Or, maybe they have a vendetta against one (or more) of the five and want to make sure they cast a vote against them. In a way, within the confines of the damnable two-party system we’ve got, this is as it should be: vote for — or against — the devil you actually know. 

By way of contrast, a friend running for town council in a comparably sized municipality with comparably pink houses reports that his canvassing efforts were met with constant questions not about sewer bills and potholes, but about abortion and immigration. Those voters did not care to know this devil; the knowledge that he was a devil was enough. I’m afraid that this is the direction we’re headed in.

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