Just a friendly reminder — The last week before election day is the absolute favorite time for campaign consultants to engage in one of their trademark behaviors: the last-minute “hit” piece. It’s a favorite time because the consultants know that it’s almost impossible to do anything effective, so late in the game, to counter a nasty piece of literature, whether it’s true or not. Of course, there’s already been lots of mud thrown around this campaign season. Again, consultants do what they know works, and throwing mud has, unfortunately, been shown time and time again to be very effective in knocking down another candidate’s vote count. The other thing smears do (and this is why they tend to be favored by Republicans) is drive down voter participation. People get so fed up with all the nastiness, and put in such a quandary trying to figure out what to believe, that they decide not to vote at all. Since registered Republicans are known for voting come Hell or high water, lower turn-out generally helps Republican candidates. However, some Democrats, and their consultants, still figure it’s worth tossing the mud anyhow, because if they’re going to be covered in mud, they want their opponent to be equally dirtied.
My advice? During the last week of the campaign, toss ALL the campaign mail directly into the recycling bin, and switch channels as soon as an election ad comes on the TV or radio. If you want to know about a candidate or measure, go to a reliably neutral source like the League of Women Voters’ smart voter website: http://www.smartvoter.org/