Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Friday, November 4, 2016

We deserve better

Trash Talk: The Uncivil Civil Society

Do we really want polarizing trash-talkers for a Mayor and City Councilor?  Just say "No" to Kent Studebaker, Jon Gustafson and Theresa Kohlhoff.  With piles of money and a desperation to win, these three have engaged in some dirty tricks, mud-slinging, and polarizing rhetoric.  We don't need to go back to governance driven by outside influences, intolerant of others' opinions, and an agenda that puts power and personal goals ahead of what is best for the whole city.

We have been lied to and manipulated with trickery, innuendo, falsification of opponents's positions, and character assassinations.  Read the Lake Oswego Review articles below:

Lake Oswego Review, November 2, 2016. By Anthony Macuk

Campaign letter stirs controversy in Lake Oswego's Mountain Park neighborhood

Stationery and letterhead cause confusion about who actually mailed the Studebaker endorsement

An endorsement letter from Kent Studebaker’s mayoral campaign caused confusion and anger among recipients in Lake Oswego’s Mountain Park neighborhood last week and prompted harsh words from the incumbent mayor’s challengers. 
The letter, which was written and signed by Mountain Park resident Matt Palmer, was produced entirely by the Studebaker campaign. But it featured a version of the Mountain Park Homeowners Association logo on the envelope and atop the letter itself, prompting some to interpret it as a direct endorsement from the HOA. 
It was not. 
“No one at the HOA had anything to do with it,” association President Dwight Sangrey told The Review on Monday, “or knew anything about it.”

Lake Oswego Review, November 2, 2016. By Anthony Macuk

Lake Oswego campaigns take a decidedly negative turn

Harsh words, grainy photos and even an image of a grimacing Donald Trump gives local races a nastier feel

Throughout this year’s political campaigning, nearly every Lake Oswego candidate has made a point of contrasting the civility and respect of the local election with the cutthroat negativity and deep partisan rancor that has defined the 2016 presidential race.

There have been some exceptions, but that commitment to positivity has generally endured through most of the election season.

Not any more. 

Local races have taken on an increasingly bitter tone in the last week, with mayoral candidates Jon Gustafson and Kent Studebaker embarking on a final blitz of advertising and campaign mailers that openly highlight sharp political divisions between two of the three candidates in the city’s nominally nonpartisan mayoral election.
Why do candidates engage in negative advertising?  Does it even work?  I had to find out.  Here is a good site that presents several research papers on aspects of negative electioneering.  Use link below to go to the website to find links to original research and a video on how to dissect campaign advertising.  

Journalist's Resource

Negative political ads and their effect on voters: Updated collection of research

Many people have a visceral reaction to political attack ads on TV: Not much will prompt a faster change of the channel. But they are difficult to escape during election season and the 2016 presidential election season won’t be much different.

Political scientists have long been studying the effects of negative ad campaigns on voter opinion, and many analysts focused on how campaign 2012 was affected. But scholars have complicated the simplistic view that negative ads “work” as a general rule. During the 2012 campaign, the Washington Post wrote about five commonly held “myths” about campaign ads, while the New York Times analyzed the specific circumstances when ads matter and their design and effects. At a deeper level, such ads may work to both “shrink and polarize the electorate,” as the political scientists Shanto Iyengar of Stanford and Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard have long pointed out.

  • "We find that candidates can benefit from having a party or group ‘do their dirty work,’ but particularly if a group does, and that the most likely explanation for why this is the case is that many voters simply do not connect candidates to the ads sponsored by parties and groups."
  • "Our results suggest that it is never efficacious for candidates to run attack ads, but running positive ads can increase a candidate’s margin of victory"
  • "We find partisans disproportionately tune out ads aired by their party’s opponents, though this behavior is asymmetric: Republican-identifiers are more consistent screeners of partisan ads than Democrats."
  • "All told, the research literature does not bear out the idea that negative campaigning is an effective means of winning votes, even though it tends to be more memorable and stimulate knowledge about the campaign. Nor is there any reliable evidence that negative campaigning depresses voter turnout, though it does slightly lower feelings of political efficacy, trust in government and possibly overall public mood.”

Remember - it still comes down to the fact that there are people out there who are fighting for control of our town for their own purposes, and to accomplish this, they are willing to throw a lot of money into some  campaigns.  Follow the money!  

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