By Jo Vaccarino
Our America Initiative Florida Outreach Coordinator
No matter how often voters say they want to replace the corrupt politicians running their local, state and federal governments, they will rarely follow through because they will be tricked into voting them back in. There are many ways the voters can be fooled; not the least of which is – by killing the viable candidates. It’s easy and it works like magic.
Exclusions are going to be your primary tool. You can use them to inflict ICS (Invisible Candidate Syndrome) on an unsuspecting newbie.
Here are step by step instructions for How to Kill a Viable Candidate:
1. You can hire the government to help.
You hire your county’s Supervisor of Elections to set up a mock election and invite the public. The SOE will print up the ballots for you and bring their polling stations and equipment to your local community center or church so your mock election looks just like the real thing. The only difference is – YOU get to choose which candidate’s names are printed on the ballots and which are not! If you choose to exclude a candidate from your ballot, the voters who participate are none the wiser; this is the first step in making candidates invisible. When you announce your mock election results, you create the fallacy that ONLY those candidates you included on your ballot are viable. Since this is all put on by the official government election agency, the voters will naturally assume that your ballot is the same as the one they’ll see on Election Day. Very few voters will ever seek the truth and find out that the candidate(s) you excluded actually submitted thousands of petitions or paid thousands of dollars (just like the candidates you favored) in order to be qualified to appear on the real ballots in the real election. When the real election comes, the invisible candidates’ names won’t look the least bit familiar to the voters and the candidates should receive very few votes.
2. You can use popular polls.
This works a lot like the mock election described above. You hire a professional agency to create surveys that only include some of the candidates’ names; they follow the standard “scientific method” and then publish the results. The voters will believe that only the candidates in your polls are viable. The favored candidates you included will get a score from the poll. The voters will become more familiar with your favored candidates each time you survey and publish the results. The invisible candidate you excluded will obviously get no score. No score equals no popularity. And, the more often you poll with their name excluded, the worse off that candidate becomes. (Don’t worry; no one will ever catch on to this game.)
3. You can use the media.
Now that you’ve rigged the survey game, the media will naturally follow your lead. They will not give any coverage to the candidate(s) you excluded because they have no popularity score. In fact, they will likely produce some polls just like yours that continue to exclude the same candidate(s) you did.
4. You can enjoy the natural effects of exclusion and diminished viability like:
a) Reduced ability to fundraise. Once you’ve diminished viability of a candidate via the above exclusionary tactics, the candidate will find it hideously difficult to fundraise. Who’s going to donate to a candidate who isn’t even polling at ANY percent? That lack of fundraising will help perpetuate the fallacy that the candidate is not viable, virtually eliminating any access they might have to media, making it nearly impossible for them to compete.
b) Inability to reach campaign finance thresholds. Many higher office elections give access to campaign fund matching, but the thresholds are usually set high enough to keep an invisible candidate with fundraising challenges from reaching them.
c) Exclusion from voter guides. Organizations that create voter guides often include only the most popular candidates. If your victim has been out of the contest for a while; even the League of Women Voters won’t take notice.
d) Candidates with no popularity scores get excluded from debates. Debates have “criteria” candidates must meet in order to be included. Popularity poll scores are one of the most common criteria. The Debate organizers will choose a percent that candidates must have achieved in order to participate in the debate. Of course, the invisible candidate hasn’t been included in the polls, so s/he has no score and thus does not qualify to be included in the debate. Any candidate who doesn’t participate in the debates is automatically disqualified in the voters’ minds.
5. Other election factors that will help kill a candidate:
a) The 2-party fallacy. If your candidate is running in a minor party, it makes it very easy to exclude that candidate from just about anything. Not a Republican? Not a Democrat? Not a factor. If you used all the exclusionary tactics above, you helped perpetuate this fallacy for future generations.
b) Gerrymandered districts. Chances are good, the two parties have already made an agreement about which way your district is going to swing. In fact, the reason your district outline looks like a snake that swallowed a TV antennae is because they had to finagle it a bit to make sure the agreement would work out. They know which party is most likely to win your district. It will take a miracle to change that.
That covers most of the bases. As you can see, you only have to jump in at the beginning and make sure the candidate is excluded from mock elections and surveys until the media is clearly ignoring that candidate. After that, your project will snowball into the monster you hoped for. The voters' impression of the invisible candidate’s viability will be diminished to the point of no return. No one will realize that the invisible candidate was viable all along; it was only the exclusion from all the “tests of viability” that made the IC appear to be a non-factor.
One last note on the fundraising aspect of viability – have you ever wondered why someone would spend millions of dollars to get a job that pays less than a few hundred thousand dollars per year? I think that person must be mentally unstable.
This election, instead of looking at the candidates presented to me on the silver platter, I’m going to go out of my way to seek the IC (invisible candidate). In fact, I might even vote for the candidate who raised the least amount of money in each race – because now I know, chances are really good that candidate is the real deal.
If you think only candidates with money can be elected, don’t be bought so easy. Go to your Supervisor of Election’s website, find out who qualified for the ballot and if there is a name there you haven’t seen in the news then visit his/her website, write a letter to that candidate, call that candidate, go to a meet and greet and find out why that candidate isn’t getting attention. Chances are good, that’s your real candidate in the real election.
If you do your job as a voter, then we can have good government.
And, remember: if your vote is your voice, then there is no such thing as a wasted vote.