Sunday, November 06, 2011

Evaluating The Campaign Mailers: City Council At-Large

Campaign pros call the final weekend before a Tuesday election GOTV (get out the vote) weekend. It's when campaigns focus on reminding their supporters the election is, in fact, happening, and to get to the polls to vote. Fundamentally, elections are pretty simple things. The candidate who gets more votes wins. So the job of GOTV is, literally, getting voters to vote.

This year is a pretty slow election year, because it's only a municipal election in the City of Boston. I say *only*, which is kind of sad, because Tuesday really, really matters to many candidates running for office. Yet because it's a municipal race, the number of people who actually vote will be pathetically small.

This year, it appears, campaigns have taken a breather from the robo calls. I have yet to receive one. But I have gotten a mountain of mailers. So I thought I would take a step back, look across the mailers, and see if I can spot any trends. So in reviewing the mailers I have received from candidates running for Boston City Council At Large, here goes:

1) Have your children's book handy: Two of the at-large candidates include a picture on their mailer of themselves reading a book to a group of kids. All the mailers have at least one picture of the candidate with a group of kids.

2) Endorsement parade: I guess it's a requirement to list at least one endorsement on each piece of literature, if for no other reason than to be able to put a logo of a local newspaper somewhere on the page?

3) More than one pol can "lead" on an issue. I noticed that more than one candidate included the exact same language on their mailer: "Led the fight to save branch libraries." I guess it should be "co-led"?

4) Family photo required. Dogs a plus. Where applicable, there is at least one photo of the candidate with their families. Curiously, none is a picture of the candidate reading a book to their kids. One candidate has a picture with his two rescued dogs.

5) Be tough. Three candidates are pictured at least once with either their arms crossed or pointing from a podium.

6) Friends in high places. One candidate includes a photo of him and the Governor; another candidate has she with the Mayor.

7) The only common language on all of the mailers? Not a trick question. It's the date of the election (November 8) with a plea for the reader to vote.

And I end with that same plea to all of you. Get out and vote!

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