Election Blog: About Those Late Mailers - NBC Bay Area

Election Blog: About Those Late Mailers

A preview of one of the upcoming races in the June 3 election



    Battle of the Bays: The Backstory You Need

    They came right on time. Just like the precision of the swallows at Mission Capistrano and the dawning of each New Year on Jan. 1, last-minute campaign mailers arrived in our mailboxes the last week of the election season.

    You’ve seen them, some sent by the candidates, others sent by groups or organizations advocating for or opposing issues or candidates.

    Either way, at the end of this past week, you have the remnants of a few dead trees sitting on your counter.

    These often hyperbolic creations attempt to recreate history right before your very eyes, usually in a strident negative tone. They invent new “truths” and dispel conventional wisdom, hoping that you will be gullible enough to swallow the message hook, line and sinker.

    But do they do any good? One wonders.

    There are two major problems with these last-minute political bombs.

    First, they are so over the top that anyone with half a brain would recognize messages that are distorted at best, outright fabricated at worst.

    They seem to be written by out-of-work fiction writers who taken up political PR, and poorly at that.

    Second, their last-minute arrivals impact very few voters, given today’s absentee voting environment where the bulk of the electorate makes its decision long-before the late mailer onslaught.

    For these folks, mailers are truly junk mail serving no purpose other than cluttering their mailboxes.

    So for those of you who are perversely inclined, enjoy the fantasy. For those who are offended, know that Wednesday it all be distant history.

    And for the bulk of you who have already voted and have no connection to these hit pieces, you haven’t missed a thing.

    Dr. Larry Gerston is a political science professor at San Jose State University. He also serves as a political analyst for NBC Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @lgerston.

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