EYE ON ILLINOIS: With campaign materials, always read the fine print

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If campaign fliers are any indication, the reports of the postal service’s death are greatly exaggerated.

Kidding aside, of course, because a lot of people get important things in the mail such as checks and medication, but the campaign literature is arriving in droves for what should be a closely contested House district —�including two on Saturday.

Anecdotal evidence based on one columnist’s mailbox shows the Democratic Party of Illinois is already spending heavily on retaining seats recently gained in traditionally Republican districts, but based on the last few cycles it’s safe to assume substantial investment in most of the 64 contested House races.

Today marks 10 weeks until the election, so in addition to candidate-specific advertising Illinoisans also should expect to encounter materials concerning the graduated income tax amendment. It’s not just the mailbox, of course, as political ads will be appearing on TV and radio broadcasts, in newspapers and just about anywhere voters spend time on line, including the interstitial spots users are forced to watch between turns on Words With Friends.

The House race ads seen so far follow a predictable trend: the Democratic incumbent promises they are “fighting against politics as usual” with no reference to the poster boy for politics as usual, House Speaker Michael Madigan, closing in on his 50th year in Springfield. The alternative presented to voters is of a Republican candidate who “loves extreme Trump-style politics.”

If a GOP mailer has arrived it’s been recycled and forgotten —�or I just didn’t check the mail that day — but presumably the next one will be the inverse of the Democratic strategy: the candidate vows to fight for my personal liberties, to crusade for lower taxes and asserts the state cannot bear another two years with Madigan holding a gavel.

I’m not passing value judgments on those positions, at least at this juncture. What I will do is give voters a bit of advice on the most useful thing to do with such mail: read the fine print. Not all of it, of course. The fine print on the incumbent’s side is a reminder some of the photographs were snapped pre-pandemic. No, what’s more interesting are the sources the party on the return address label is using to parse its statement about the opponent.

In this case, the information comes from the Illinois State Board of Elections and campaign filing disclosures, but also the candidate’s Facebook page, specifically posts from early March. Viewing source material and comparing to spin is illustrative, as is seeing how a campaign interacts with supporters.

In campaign season, research is vital. Actions beat pledges, while honesty is a virtue regardless of party affiliation. Check your mail —�and do your homework.

• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media Illinois. Follow him on Twitter at @sth749. He can be reached at sholland@shawmedia.com.

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via | Daily Chronicle

August 24, 2020 at 03:51PM

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