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Monday, May 21, 2012

DR's Guide, Part II

Democracy Rising PA (www.democracyrisingpa.com) provided to me their 2012 Political Survival Guide. DR is an organization working hard to improve governance in PA.
Find out what candidates are for, not what they are against
Nothing motivates a politician like threats to their reelection. Getting specific about issues risks making enemies. In local politics, major party positions are typically useless. The responsibility of the official is very limited. This is why the positive messages revolved around keeping taxes low and protecting the environment. The candidates with nothing to offer, spend their time attacking the candidates who do. The voters’ job is to force politicians to be specific about what they will do while in office. Hold them to it. Don’t let them grow old in office. Careerism is the venomous enemy of good government. End their careers at the next election.
Listen to everyone’s ideas
This is rarely done these days. People prefer to listen to whatever source reinforces their own beliefs and judgments. If you listen—really listen—to opposing views, you’re sure to learn something new. At the very least, you’ll have better arguments for your position. In local elections, it’s hard to find out about local issues. The media pays little or no attention. Officials like to keep it that way. Don’t let them.
There are no easy solutions to hard problems
The fact that we have two major opposing parties—and a bunch of small ones—should indicate to us that nothing is easy about governance. All hard problems are multifaceted and might even have several solutions. Even if the solution is easy, getting agreement on it will be hard. At the local level, most voters don’t know the problems much less the solutions. This is why we so often get poor officials.
Don’t reward the slick and sleazy
It used to be pretty easy to spot them, but now most politicians above the local level adopt a reasonable attitude and let their surrogates get into the muck. Hold those politicians accountable. If they don’t stop or at least disavow the mudslinging, then they haven’t earned your respect. Withhold it along with your vote.
Remember that the ultimate cause of bad politicians is bad voting,
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