Editorial – On winning and losing elections

Jeff Burgar

“It’s nothing but a popularity contest,” say many.
“She won because she got the ‘sympathy’ vote.”
“People are just tired of the old guard.”
“People were looking for some new blood.”
“She ran on her mom’s name.”
“He ticked off too many people when he was in business.”
“She ticked off too many people when she was in her government job.”
“She hasn’t got a pot to pee in.”
“He’s too honest. Every time I asked him for a favour when he was in office, he wouldn’t do anything for me.”
“He’s a crook. Every time I asked him for a favour when he was in office, he wanted two favours back.”
“She wants to give all the staff a raise, because she just wants votes.”
“She wants to keep taxes down. That means she is going to cut staff and salaries.”
“He is on Facebook all the time telling lies and making up stories.”
“She never says anything about what council is doing. No radio or newspaper interviews. No Facebook posts. Nothing.”
“He told me my cousin can get a really good job and he will put in a good word for him.”
“He told me he would get me some good contracts.”
The above should give you an idea. You likely have a few, perhaps many more, reasons why or why not any given candidate should get elected. To make life even more difficult, the reasons change. A candidate who gets a huge number of votes in one election might find herself at the bottom of the pile in the next election. Newcomers to a community often find themselves very popular in one election. “New blood with no baggage.” In the next election, the next batch of newcomers might find themselves losing.
“No experience in the community.”
The reasons just keep on coming.
In some imaginary world, polls, man on the street interviews and researchers would all assemble exactly the love and hate wants of what voters want. Candidates would head out and work hard to make good on it all.
Perhaps it would work. But if Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump couldn’t make such a mess of who was going to win, how can we?
Look at our last federal election. ‘Experts’ in the Trudeau backroom almost guaranteed a majority government. It didn’t happen.
It seems it should boil down to like any job or business. Work hard. Pay attention to everything. Work honestly with work integrity. And never, ever take your employer, the voter, for granted.
Many incumbents found this out this past election. Many were wiped out. Decidedly. For many who won, the total number of votes against them is more than the votes they themselves got. More wanted the incumbent out than in.
For those elected by acclamation, good work. It maybe proves you are working for those voters and they know it. Newly elected, no matter what your vote margins, always, always keep voters, taxpayers and of course, your community in mind.

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