You might say: aren’t issues and elections equally important, since elections are about issues?… If only we could count on it!
Lately, many national and state elections have been largely about who has more money and who runs the nastier attack ads, while local elections have been more about who has a better network and does more walking of neighborhoods. And, of course, who belongs to what party.
Here’s what I think: we need to pay attention to the issues, their historical context, and what other people are saying. Then, when the election comes along, we try to hold the candidates to expressing themselves on what we have determined is important to us and those around us.
As the bumper sticker says: “Government is us: We the People.” We the People need to get the candidates to have the conversation we want to hear, not the other way around.
With that in mind, let me point out that we are dealing with two campaign years right now. On November 5 we have an election for several judge and DJ positions, half of county row offices, half of boards of superintendents or borough councils, half of school boards, and some others. This is important; these positions have a lot of influence over our lives and communities. You can see the non-local Dem candidates on the ballot here.
And then we’ll have a primary next spring to determine who gets the honor of running against incumbent governor Corbett. You can see here the Dem gubernatorial candidates who are already in campaign mode, 6 months before they even need to circulate their petitions to get on the ballot! (2014 also has congressional elections.)
Isn’t this confusing? No, because the 2013 and 2014 issues should be aligned, because We the People should decide what they are! Issues like these: education, jobs, energy, environment, and having functional state and local governments that represent us and not the oligarch class.
So, it’s good that the gubernatorial race is already heating up 15 months before the actual election!