Friday, November 04, 2005

Party, Party, Whose Got My Political Party

Unless you've been following local politics for a bit there doesn't seem to be a quick at-a-glance way to tell the party affiliation of soon-to-be former Mayor Richard Goyette or his opponent, attorney Michael Bissonnett belongs to.

Bissonnette's website doesn't mention political party affiliation.

And Goyette's is gone. The only way I could double check his status was to look at this three-day old piece in the Republican, and read it all the way to the end.

None of the posters that litter the lawns of Chicopee mention any party or have the Republican Elephant or Democratic Mule (some would say jack-ass, but I won't say it)...

Apparently, being soundbyte-friendly isn't necessary in Chicopee.

Then again, maybe claiming to be Democrat or Republican isn't all that necessary either. Can't tell what parties Charlie Ryan and Tom Ashe, mayoral candidates for Springfield, belong to....

Doesn't seem to be much of a priority in New York City. You can't tell the party of mayoral candidate Mike Bloomberg from his website...but you can tell who endorses him. He looks like a Democrat--but isn't he a Republican? I can't tell...

So, does political party affiliation matter any more when it comes to local elections?

Or is it that candidates simply not want to alienate voters that might be put off by the label of "Demorcrat" or "Republican"? Perhaps there is the assumption that people will indeed be like "yellow dog Democrats" and just vote along party lines. I figured that those days were over. I thought we were past those days and into the times when voting with one's conscience would be more important than voting the party line.

If we are indeed voting our consciences, then saying what party a candidate represents should be considered, at least, an FYI point. After all, isn't this a two-party system and don't we have a right to know a candidate's party affiliation well before we get to the polls?

Then again--maybe on the local level anyway--we don't have a two-party political system...we just get two candidates. If we're lucky.

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Dawno said...

I wonder if it's the relative political homogeneity of a town that causes candidates to forego open acknowledgement of their political affiliation. I mean, do people cluster together in places where they find like thinkers and leave those places if they think differently? You wouldn't want to take a label and then have to explain why you were an exception to the label - it would be better just to run on the issues. *shrug* It's late for me to be trying to think.

Tish Grier said...

Good point, Dawno. There are times when I forget how homogenous Chicopee is--then I go to the grocery store and notice that the majority of people are whiter than white....I'm used to a real melting pot, and within a melting pot there's a need to make it very clear what party you belong to.

Although, I think that the Mike Bloomberg thing is a demonstration that issues are more important than political party--still, he cashes in on how he's swayed people to shift from their old party, Democrats, to vote for him

I'm wondering if, in big cities, it has to do with the 'celebrety factor'--Bloomberg's site stresses his endorsements, thus cashing in on a certain amount of celebrety. In a small city like Chicopee, I'm wondering if it has to do with the same celebrety factor, only skewed differently--as in "oh, I know this guy, he did XX for my brother-in-law, he's ok in my book so I'll vote for him."

There was another story in the Republican that did a survey at one of the high schools and the mock vote skewed 52-1 in favor of Goyette. Is it party or celebrety or something else that would cause this?

Dawno said...

You're probably right about Bloomberg. I was more focused on the smaller town. With the High School poll would it have been conducted soon after Goyette made a visit to the campus? Then I'd go for the celebrity angle.

Tish Grier said...

The poll was actually conducted when Goyette was still a viable candidate. However, after the scandal broke, and they surveyed the group again for their opinions, several said they would still vote for Goyette, while others said they were disgusted and wouldn't vote at all.

that's what's kind of sad about the whole thing. Reminds me of how I felt after Reagan turned out to be such a war-monger.