So where do we stand locally and in the Commonwealth?
Beware of those who tell you with certainty they have a clear read on this or any other election.
What we do know, however, is despite all the information thrown at us in election season, very little of it stays with us as we vote. That is by design. Everything about elections, the advertisements, the debates, and the candidate interviews, are made so they are quick and easy for the audience to consume. However, this does not always lead to clarity.
The commercials have one goal-to make you think a candidate is either good or bad. It’s really that simple. This year, we literally had an ad that said a candidate killed puppies.
Candidate interviews are also not conducive to making an informed decision. Typically, there is little context given to major policy considerations. When was the last time you saw, say, a candidate for the United States Senate give a ten-minute explanation of their plan for Social Security, replete with charts and graphs?
Debates are particularly useless, as candidates know what to expect (or at least they should) and have answers pre-arranged to fit the minimal amount of time it takes for them to utter something you could find on their website verbatim.
Instead we are given binary “answers,” or worse, no answer at all.
Moderator: “Candidate A, should we have more of item A?”
Candidate A: “Yes!”
Moderator: “Candidate B, should we have more of item A?”
Candidate B: “With exceptions.”
Moderator: “Well, we’ll have to leave that there.”
The only time a debate sways voters is when something unexpected (usually unexpectedly bad for one poor soul) occurs. We can all recite the litany of shocking debate moments (You’re no JFK, anyone?) but can we recall what was said about inter-generational poverty? Probably not, because the question most likely wasn’t asked.
Our system of choosing our leaders is bad. I’m not referring to our democratic norms, which must be maintained at all costs, certainly now. I’m talking about how we consume information. We should ask more of ourselves before we go to the polls. Preparation and knowledge of key issues is crucial, and to that end, Hall Monitor will do our part.
Tomorrow on our program, we will discuss the key issues with knowledgeable guests, and we will do our best to provide you with what you need to know before heading to the polls.
Before that, though, make sure you know what is on the ballot!
To find your polling place and sample ballot, go to: https://atlas.phila.gov/voting
For any other voting related information, go to: https://vote.phila.gov/