The final results are in from last week's Utah primary elections. The winner was Apathy, followed by It's A Nuisance running a close second. Third out of the five candidates was Don't Bother Me, with What Good Does It Do? taking fourth place. Trailing a distant fifth in the race was Let's Get Involved.
All the candidates campaigned hard. Apathy ran his campaign with the slogan "Everything's running just swell -- always has, always will," and voters obviously liked his message. It's A Nuisance passed out free door mats throughout the county bearing the motto: "What are you bugging me for?" Onlookers report seeing these doormats at the front doors of many local residents. Don't Bother Me ran a vigorous campaign, giving out free movie tickets for Aug. 13 and directions to the best picnic sites, which were sure to be filled on that date. His voter message to register the car, hike Timp, or paint the garage that day, instead of vote, resonated well with residents.
What Good Does It Do? didn't fare well in the vote. Voting analysts say his negative manner and black cloud campaign style left a good many voters wishing he'd have vacated the primaries. According to man-on-the-street interviews, voters far preferred the emotionally uninvolved messages of the three front-running candidates. Analysts speculate that voters prefer that their political non-involvement be guilt free. They suggest that What Good Does It Do? makes everyone uncomfortable with his campaign slogan: "Nobody ever cares, especially about the primaries." In reality, feedback from citizen groups suggests we should all just ignore voting day and let those who have nothing else to do be our collective voice.
Record-setting low votes were recorded for Let's Get Involved. His campaign message "We can make a difference!" resonated poorly with the average voter. Despite his limited but highly dedicated core constituents who waved signs, danced at intersections, talked and walked, held home meetings and studied the issues, his campaign lacked widespread support. The campaign messages of Apathy, It's a Nuisance and Don't Bother Me seemed to resonate much better with the voters.
This matter of the campaign for Let's Get Involved deserves further analysis. He has run for office before -- actually, he has run at every local election in memory. While his support ebbs and flows, he never draws the numbers needed to put him into office. This year, Let's Get Involved added a new wrinkle to his campaign rhetoric. While in the past he has focused on improving local outcomes for the city and county, this year the phrase "The U.S. Constitution is in trouble and we need to save it" surfaced over and over among his support base. He and his staff played hard on the idea that we have a national charter and it's "going down the drain," as they put it. Frequent ads emphasized their message: "If we don't act soon, it will be too late." Home meetings took on a revivalist atmosphere as locals drummed the need for action throughout the months building up to last week's vote. Let's Get Involved expressed disappointment that his new campaign direction failed to sway voters in the Apathy camp, in particular, or substantially expand the numbers in his active voter pool.
Asked about the future, Apathy said he is confident his message will continue to dominate the election process. The campaign staff for It's A Nuisance did not return our call. Don't Bother Me asked to be taken off our calling list, and What Good Does It Do? sent a lengthy email message about the uselessness of the entire election cycle. Despite his repeatedly poor showing in the voting booth, Let's Get Involved says he plans to start working on the next election right away. You have to give the guy credit -- he never gives up!
• Pamela Romney Openshaw is a Utah Valley speaker and author of "Promises of the Constitution" and "Lessons of the Constitution for Family and Home School Study." She writes the weekly column "Get it Right" for the Daily Herald and for heraldextra.com. To reach Pamela, you can contact her through her website, PromisesoftheConstitution.com or by email at email@example.com.