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"If you have an election last​ing more than..."


November 20, 2022

Ketchikan, Alaska - Welp, we - and the country and state - survived another election.


There were enough disappointing results to satisfy everyone and keep the pundits punditing for another two years.

By then, it will be time to have a presidential election and .... well, I don't even want to think about that.

So, what did I personally learn during this election season?

I am so glad you asked.

1. My landline still works. Just about every day of the last month of the election cycle, between noon and 1 pm, it rang. I was home for lunch most days. I watched it ring. It was from someplace like Dayton, Ohio or Pierre, South Dakota. Wherever the call centers were located. They never left a message. Of course, the phone rang other times during the day from such equally weird locations. But it was never anyone I wanted to talk to. So, I just screened and didn't answer. But it rang. Must have driven the cats crazy all day long.

2. The USPS was alive and well for at least five weeks. My gosh, we got a lot of political fliers. Mostly from outside organizations trying to influence the US Senate and US Representative races. Although there were a few for the local state representative race. None nearly as entertaining as one in a previous year which showed the incumbent state representative on a horse. (The candidate is "out of touch" because we don't ride horses in "these here parts" get it?) It was the sheer volume this year that stood out. Some days we would get five or six different fliers. Wow. Of course, we threw them all out immediately. It's so hard to imagine the thought process behind "if we show an ugly black and photo of our opponent making a bad expression that will put us over the top." Really?

3. I still like parliamentary elections better. While we have specific limits on elected official terms and we know when the elections are coming, in other places around the globe, governments just up and say "hey, election in six weeks! Ready, set, go." It's a little more chaotic (and elections are always timed hoping to favor the government in office) but at least you are NOT getting bombarded for years at a time. A few countries even ban commercials and electioneering the last week before the vote. Of course, that is not how we do it here. Since we know that the next election will occur on a certain date, we start campaigning as soon as possible for it. And if I didn't know better, it would seem like the new cycle started before the votes were counted for this one (see below).

4. Even with "ranked" choice, we are still oft left to hold our noses in the voting booth. Granted "ranked" choice was not necessarily designed to encourage a better class of candidate. But it was hoped that at least it would limit the stench (get it, rank? As in "rank smelling?") that rises up from the primaries of the two main parties where the only survivors have tended to be people totally unacceptable to the vast majority of the rest of us.

5. 'Up North' Still doesn't have a clue. My favorite last-minute phone call was one on election day from one from the Congressional campaigns from up north (I answered because it was a 907 number) reminding me to vote at "my polling station" at "North Tangoss, Number 1." It isn't and I didn't.

6. 'Back East' doesn't either - One of the national talking heads kept saying "Dun-la-evy" and "Petlola" on the air.

7. Pollsters Still Love Me - Somebody with a lot of money was really concerned about the outcome of the Alaskan races. Several times a week, we got "polled" (which was indeed as painful as it sounds). I patiently answered them at first, but I lost interest with a couple of weeks to go. I wasn't going to change my mind at that point (it had been made up months before). That's the big scam about most of the polls, they don't usually care what you think, they are just taking the opportunity to sow indecision in the mind of a potential voter. You get leading questions like "You said you planned to vote for candidate Biffmuch. Would you still vote for candidate Biffmuch if you knew that he/she liked to cannibalize cute puppies? Well, of course not. But they should have spent their money checking back with the "undecideds" rather than me. Traditionally, no one polled Alaskans but since 2018, it seems that the national margins are so close that we - or our opinions at least - seem to matter. That gives me a really warm feeling. Either that or it's the political fliers in the woodstove.

Now, of course, we will be left alone, at least politically, until the next election cycle starts.

Which was yesterday.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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