Don’t get too caught up in all of this holiday cheer. Currently, we’re in the nastiest part of Kansas City’s election season.
Long ago, Boss Tom Pendergast help put Kansas City’s elections in the coldest months of the year because he didn’t really like a lot of people voting. Also, the graveyard vote doesn’t complain about temperatures.
The legacy of that astute political move puts modern day City and Mayoral campaigns right in the middle of the holiday season. This is always hilarious because it forces people to pretend to be nice while slinging some really nasty rumors on background.
Nevertheless, not all political attacks are equal, so I’ve provided a quick guide to some of the most effective political strategies currently at play in the local political scene. Check it:
1. The attack has to be personal. Cowtown voters don’t care about issues, principles or differing philosophies of local governance. We want dirt. To wit, some of the very best political attacks are focused on personality. Right now voters in KC Proper are inundated with rumors about wives, girlfriends and long-ago business deals that don’t really have an impact on a candidate’s qualifications but serve only to tarnish a politician in a personal matter.
Double Bonus if an embarrassing detail involves anything even marginally related to sex.
2. If a candidate must deny or rebut the allegation, then the rumor mongers win. A quick rule in local politics: Never complain, never explain. Reaction is inherently weak and in really tense races even, fact checking shows that the opposition is taken seriously.
3. Repetition works, it really does, repetition works: In politics, something doesn’t have to be based on fact – it just has to be part of the conversation in order to succeed. President Obama is neither a citizen of Kenya nor an Islamo-fascist terrorist but these facts haven’t stopped the many ultra-right wing attacks that run along those lines.
Let’s review: The best hit piece attacks are just good fun for rumor mongers around the holiday season and even challenging them means they are effective.
The only drawback to this nasty situation is that so many mean-spirited attacks usually cancel each other out and result in voters choosing their candidate based on hairstyle, chance run-in or coin-flip — Given the current state of affairs in this cowtown I’ve always thought this is how most voters make their decision anyway.