Think About It: Your Election Responsibilities - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

July 26, 2012

Think About It: Your Election Responsibilities

MidWeek magazine did a nice job last week in offering a non-incumbent candidate guide to help local voters learn a little bit more about the challengers in many local races this August and November. It's not easy to be a challenger in a political race when an incumbent has so many tools at his or her disposal, like name recognition, news coverage, an assumedly organized re-election campaign strategy, an identified group of supporters and cash contributors, time to campaign, knowledge of the system, etc. Perhaps it is not surprising that over 90% of U.S. House representatives are re-elected every two years, and the Senate rate for re-election is well over 80% during the past 30-years. Money, and other advantages, certainly talk. Locally, a bunch of our state legislators don't even face an opponent when general election time comes around, thus winning by default.

It is a bit ironic that while a June Gallup poll shows that 79% of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, about 85% of those same disapproved legislators will be re-elected this November, if history is a guide. What that tells you is possibly that: a) people still vote simply on name recognition and who they are comfortable with vs. some newcomer;   b) the disapproval rating for Congress is for the entity as a whole, maybe not so much for my representative or senator; or c) the challengers either don't stack up or haven't gotten the message out there well enough to overtake the natural incumbent advantage. 

You owe it to yourself to read, go on-line, watch TV, and find out as much as you can about the people who vie to lead us locally and on the national level this year. Look for stated differences in the candidates, look for issues that are your hot buttons, dig beneath the rhetoric and pandering; then, make sure your voice is heard at the polls, and consider it an honor denied to far too many people in far too many countries. Think about it…



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