Can you spot the difference between these guys? If not, you're not alone! From a communications and messaging perspective the thing that’s struck me most forcefully as I’ve trotted out to debates is how unfocused, despite all the money that’s getting poured into the Supervisors and the Sheriff’s race, the messages of many of the candidates are.
The U.S. election process is often represented to the public as a parade of pre-canned pre-packaged candidates. But the people who choose to run at a local level tend to be headstrong and either unclear of the value of message discipline or resistant to it. After a recent Sheriff’s debate, I was hard-pressed to distinguish the candidates based on their messages.
While that lack of message discipline may reveal a “more authentic” candidate to the public, I’m not sure it’s a net plus. It also means that what really matters to the candidates often just isn't emerging clearly. And that's just bad communication.
As part of my producing work at KPFK radio, I produce a pre-election show before every major local election. Here are the links to the June 3 primary podcasts in which we discuss the state races in the first half hour and the local races in the second. It's a great quick rundown of who's who and why it matters. Haven't voted yet? Check these out.