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... and we will do this again in four years | Editorial
The 2012 general election was a lot of things. It was an exercise in democracy, a peaceful transition of power and as annoying as ever. The cliches alone are enough to make you want to throw something at the TV.
We heard a lot of the same lines over and over again. The candidates even threw out many of the same tired old campaign lines.
One cliche that we are used to hearing every four years is “this is the most important election of our lifetime.” How can every election be the most important?
The election was also nasty, mean and full of annoying ads and robocalls. But that is what we say every four years. The fact of the matter is that negative campaigning works.
The race for Attorney General was specifically nasty. The ads for both sides were misleading at best and downright offensive in other cases.
More local races even went negative. One of the worst was the 1st District Senate race between longtime incumbent Rosemary McAuliffe and Dawn McCravey. The negative campaigning in this race was not just from the candidates but also from their supporters. The Kirkland, Bothell and Kenmore Reporters received more letters on this race than any other and most were pretty nasty. In fact, the Reporter newspapers received more letters on this race than another topic during the past four months.
Name calling, digging up sketchy links between the candidates and outside groups and other attacks were sometimes worse than the commercials on TV or the mailers.
The Reporter even received some nasty phone calls for an innocuous story on the 1st Congressional District race. The story was initiated when the Suzan DelBene campaign contacted the Reporter to cover a rally in Bothell with Sen. Patty Murray. Not wanting to profile one singular candidate or espouse their views four days before the election, Reporter staff attempted to contact the John Koster campaign and to find a more balanced approach.
The story was ultimately written on how the race was being viewed by the nation and what heavy hitters had campaigned for the candidates. The Reporter called and left numerous messages for the Koster campaign during a 10-day period with no response. As most newspapers do, we let the readers know that we attempted to get an interview for the story with no response to the inquiry. We also attempted to make the story as balanced as possible. For some readers it was not enough, leaving phone messages to let us know that the story was unbalanced because we failed to reach the Koster campaign.
Then number of robocalls this year seemed to go up exponentially from four years ago. But it was inaccurate robocalls in other states, telling people they had until Wednesday, Nov. 7 to vote, that got many up in arms on election day.
And while it seemed in Washington state that the TV election ads would never end, it was worse elsewhere in the United States.
We in Washington State did not get the barrage that those in swing states received for the Presidential election. In Ohio alone, the Romney and Obama campaigns combined to buy nearly 220,000 TV ads. Florida came in second with nearly 200,000 TV ads.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the overall spending on the Presidential election through Oct. 17 was nearly $2 billion.
And in another four years we will subject ourselves to more robocalls, nasty TV ads, underhanded tactics and “the most important election of our lifetime.”
But when you think of the alternative to democracy, we would all agree this isn’t bad at all - unless your candidate lost.