Comment 48589

By mystoneycreek (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2010 at 11:25:25

It's just a sad reality of politics that an incumbent is always going to have the advantage - even based on name recognition alone. There are always going to be voters that are not engaged in the community and check of the box of the incumbebt thinking "he got voted in last time so he must be doing a good job". Are they accountable too?

I'll certainly be addressing this on my own blog because there are at least two salient issues that deserve being addressed. But for now, this:

-I find it hilarious this notion of 'advantage' on the parts of incumbents. Such a demonizing group we've become, so quick to create an 'Us vs Them' mentality. Can you imagine this in the private sector? Where the 'incumbent' in a position is regarded as having an 'unfair advantage'? To me, if we were more satisfied with how Councillors performed/behaved, we'd be far less likely to see things this way. Which leads me to...

-I am constantly harping on about 'unqualified opinions'. This is germane to this discussion for two reasons: Firstly, that the last municipal election saw a turnout rate of 37%. And secondly, that it's been said that 60% of the votes cast were made on the basis of 'name recognition' alone. That's what I'd call a mass example of 'unqualified opinions'.

I'm also harping on about the concept of increasing the 'relationship of engagement' between residents and their Councillors. (Not the other way around, which is an entirely different discussion.) The editorials I've written are labelled 'Civic Engagement', and once again I have to point out that this passion of mine in this area was very much inspired by Editor Ryan several months back.

So to answer your question; "Yes, voters are 'accountable'. Not that many would agree to this view. But that's the default behaviour we're going to have to migrate to if we reasonably expect any sea change in the kind of local governance we get. Because to me, simply voting in a new crop, assuming because they're 'fresh blood' they're somehow endemically more apt to perform better than 'seasoned vets' is a particularly scary mindset.

If we want change, it has to come from us. Not the politicians.

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