During the last week I had the privilege of sitting in with our Editorial Board as they interviewed candidates for contested seats for the New York State Assembly and U.S. Congress. During their campaigns candidates each travel thousands of miles, attend countless functions, shake far too many hands, kiss who knows how many babies and graciously perform many tasks to prove their sincerity to the folks who will decide their fate. Some have been rebuffed by constituents before but continue their quest to win the seat they seek.
Every one of the candidates we sat down with was articulate, passionate and optimistic about the opportunity ahead of them to serve the people of their district. Each made a compelling argument for their candidacy. Each question presented was quickly answered, leaving me with just one lingering thought.
What happens to these good people who want so badly to achieve the office and then all too often come up short in the eyes of the electorate once they reach their goal? No doubt most folks vote along party lines so each candidate will always have opposition who find fault with their every action. But frequently once in office the opportunity to distinguish themselves from their fellow representatives seems to fall short of the promises made.
It’s a question I may never fully understand and perhaps it is just a part of the function of our democracy that each representative at the end of the day gets carved up by the two party system and all too often finds the deck stacked against them as they meld into government bureaucracy.
At any rate this will be my last column before you go to the polls if you haven’t already voted for the candidates of your choice. As we explained to each of the candidates with whom we recently met, our role is not to endorse nor try to sway voters. Instead our focus is to provide information that allows them to make the choice they believe to be in the best interest of their country, state, county and town. Respecting the power of their individual vote, we believe it’s an abuse of the medium we control to attempt to tip the scales solely based on our beliefs, something I do believe has affected many major news outlets.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.