Probably the two most important questions candidates for election to public office should answer are “Why should I vote?” and “Why should I vote for you?”. It’s the second question that is most often answered. The first and probably most important is seldom addressed.
“Why should I vote for you?” is answered when candidates describe their background including education, experience, activities and relevant expertise that qualifies her/him for the position sought. That’s usually followed by a long list of campaign promises about changes and issues the candidate proposes to address if elected. In reality it’s all about the candidate and what he or she seeks is to convince voters his/her real interest is in serving the public. Too often the actual goal of the candidate is to simply get elected and once that’s accomplished, then to hold onto the job for a very long time.
“Why should I vote?” meaning “What’s in it for me if I bother to vote?” are too often ignored by candidates seeking votes. It’s the one that really depicts voter interests. Voters are most interested in their homes, jobs and neighborhoods. Crime and particularly petty theft issues are concerns. Street surfaces in need of paving are important. Increased local taxes that aren’t spent on neighborhoods are resented. Family, children and quality of life are all pressing matters. Better representation and equal opportunities to meet with local officials who are willing to listen and address concerns need attention. Small business owners are tired of fighting city hall red tape. And giving taxpayer money away to developers and businesses who seem to already possess wealth does not seem fair. It’s these and similar issues that concern the voter.
Palm Springs voters keep electing charismatic candidates who possess both experience and talent. These smart, friendly and interesting individuals take office and then seem to forget the voters who elected them. Their sold a message in reply to “Why should I vote for you?” that served them well. Whether we’re proud or unhappy with the performance of those in office, ours were the votes that put them there. If there’s a problem and/or need for change then perhaps the fault lies with voters. We fail to ask the question “Why should I vote?” and wait for a satisfactory answer before listening to the less important question of which candidate deserves the vote.
If you’ve made up your mind which candidate will receive your vote did she or he answer the “Why should I vote?” question to your satisfaction? If you’ve not yet made up your mind which candidate deserves your vote, have you asked the “Why should I vote?” question of any or all the candidates? When it comes to voting in local elections, do you really care who gets elected?
Why should I vote?