Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Illinois primary; the view from Old Town/Lincoln Park

The Illinois primary is today and so I made my small contribution to the selection of a Republican candidate.  In terms of enthusiasm I can say that voting today was in no way the same as my first vote, which was for Ronnie in the ’80 presidential election.  The polling place for me is the adjacent building—the perks of living downtown—or about the outer limit of my civic spirit for this race.

A couple of notes:

Romney ads started to appear about two weeks ago and in all I’d guess I saw about a dozen of them.   With one exception the same ad was run, essentially attacking Santorum for being a Washington insider and drawing a contrast between Santorum voting five times to raise the debt limit, while Mitt was saving the Olympics.  If the other candidates ran any ads here I didn’t see them, so obvious advantage to Romney.  But if you found the Romney ads the least bit persuasive I’d suggest you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Just to elaborate a bit on the above, I discovered in 2010 that the targeting of ads in this market (Chicago) is incredibly precise.  In that election cycle I saw only ads for the reps running in my particular district even though Chicago is comprised of numerous congressional districts.  So no Santorum ads here doesn’t mean that he didn’t run any in other areas of the state.  Why he didn’t run them in Chicago is perhaps due to…

…his not really being on the ballot.   For reasons that escape me, the ballot here had a first section with the candidates, then a section of delegates tied to the respective candidates, then another section of alternate candidates ties to the candidates.  Inevitably the first, direct votes for the candidates, will get the bulk of the coverage, but it’s the selection of delegates in second section that matters (you were allowed to vote for “up to three” from the list).  And in my district, Santorum hadn’t filed so that other than the popular vote, he wasn’t on the ballot.  For what it’s worth, I had no idea how this worked when I voted which could be taken as a) an indication of a bad voting process, certainly a failure in voter education, and  or b) another sign that my interest in politics has never run very strongly into the practical side of things.

Finally there were numerous local races but this being Chicago, and the ballot I was working from was Republican the predominance of "no candidate" made short work of that part of the ballot.  Fortunately the city is so well run and represented by the Democrats here that there is no need to have Republicans running.

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