Some of you may know that I am involved in local politics, currently serving as my town’s mayor. I recently ran for re-election to our city council and won. While I won by more than 2/3 of the vote, the campaign season was not easy for my family or myself. It was hard to remain quiet while slander and lies were being thrown from the opposing side. However, I stayed above the fray, and I’m proud to have done so. This all lead to my hesitation to write this post. As we enter a much larger election cycle, I feel this post is now timely and appropriate. Additionally, many may not understand campaign etiquette, so it needs to be said.
During a campaign, etiquette dictates that only facts are used – not hearsay, assumptions or anything else not based on facts. Additionally, the campaign should stick to issues at hand. There are enough true issues without bringing up a candidate’s family or personal appearance. To be quite honest, it you have to rely on slander or bullying to win, you are part of the demise of the American government.
Politics are only effective when people vote. So, please do so! When you are at the polls, etiquette dictates that you are quiet and respectful of other voters, not rushing them or waiting too closely to the person casting their ballot. As a candidate, there are laws legally enforcing your proximity to the polling place. However, out of courtesy for the voters, proper etiquette would dictate you not post camp right at the border, either.
If you are running for a position, no matter your choice of campaigning, you should never badger your potential constituents. Yes, absolutely get your name out there. But try to get to know the people because you genuinely care – not because they are a means to an end. Likewise, understand that your credibility will be shot in a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Do you want people to vote? VOTE! And do so in times you’re not up for election.
Finally, regarding the results from the election day, it is up to the losing candidate(s) to reach out to the winning candidate(s). I’m making this plural in the event of a potential run-off election. It is NOT the responsibility of the winning candidate(s) to reach out to the losing candidate(s). In fact, it is considered pompous of the winning candidate(s) to do so. It will come across as “rubbing it in.”
So, now that election etiquette is out there on a small level, I hope to see it utilized more frequently in both national and local elections. At the end of the day, our integrity is what we must live with.
As always, thank you for reading! Thank you to the three readers who specifically asked me to write on this subject. I agree it is needed.