Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Opinion: Negativity doesn't work.

Earlier tonight I posted another anti-Lyle flyer that was posted at Worlee's Concerned Citizens of Chatham page. JP wrote this before I wrote about that second flyer - Levois

This is my take on Worlee's posting of an attack piece against Lyle.

 Worlee said
Well it appears that a Sawyer supporter has taken a page out of the SEIU playbook and decided to throw back. Attack ad wars are on, lol.
To Worlee, this may seem like how politics are supposed to run. To me, that sounds more like grade school children justifying their bad behavior ("Well, they started it!").

The SEIU has sent at least 3 pieces which greatly exaggerate Sawyer's support of video gaming. That issue certainly is not central to his campaign. But looking at the number of casino buses that stop by on the weekends, it certainly has some fans. And even if you're against video gaming, this is just one of several issues one may agree or disagree with, and is probably not the sticking issue for people.
Unlike the piece which exaggerates Rod Sawyer's stance on video gambling that is clearly from the SEIU, the anti-Lyle piece has no name attached.

According to the IL Board of Elections website on disclosure requirements :
The Illinois Campaign Disclosure Act applies to candidates, individuals, groups of persons or any organizations, political or otherwise, who: (1) have accepted contributions or made expenditures or independent expenditures in excess of $3,000 within a 12-month period in support of or in opposition to a candidate or candidates for public office, or any question of public policy to be submitted to voters; (2) have received or made expenditures in excess of $3,000 within a 12-month period for electioneering communication – defined essentially as any broadcast, cable or satellite communication or advertising that makes an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate, political party, or question of public policy made within the 60 days before a general or consolidated election or 30 days before a primary election (this does not apply to communications exclusively between a labor union or a Section 501(c)(3) or Section 501(c)(6) organization and its members); or (3) have made independent expenditures in excess of $3,000 within a 12-month period.

Independent expenditures are defined essentially as any payment or expenditure made for electioneering communications or expressly advocating for or against a candidate, provided the
spending is not made in coordination with a candidate or their committee.
While it certainly meets the requirement of being against the candidate -- is there any idea how many of these were made? Do they meet the $3000 requirement for disclosure? Combined with similar anonymous publications, does it meet the requirement?
Even if legally they aren't require to disclose who they are, morally, they should have the character to identify themselves

This type of attack ad didn't work in the 46th ward (Uptown/North Side).

Just like the anti-Lyle ads, these were anonymous, so you couldn't criticize a specific person or group.

There is also a website, Uptown Update, which also anonymously attacks one candidate (Molly Phelan), while tacitly giving support for another (James Cappleman).  (UU had a blog predecessor,, that functioned like this bookmark, with harsh videos. It was promptly deleted when James Cappleman lost his race.)

The candidates who benefited from the anonymous attacks denied knowing who was behind them (which was probably the case, "plausible deniability" to protect the candidate).

However, whether the source of the negativity is clearly known, each candidate has the power to denounce them and have them stopped.

The loser should understand that such negativity will have pushed aside swing voters that could have helped them, and sabotage any future runs. The winner, meanwhile, should understand that the negativity will stick in people's mind, and make it that much harder to win the next time.

We're all still be neighbors after this (with the case of Sawyer and Lyle, literally just a few blocks away), so it would be wise to not demonize each other.


  1. Politics is not for the faint of heart. It is a bare knuckle brawl. Bottom line is don't not bring a knife to a gun fight.

  2. No...but you can be respectful and civil..and even inspirational.

    That's how Barack Obama won over enough people who would've otherwise voted for McCain.

  3. Blah Blah Blah, THIS ISN'T THE 46TH WARD.

  4. No, Worlee, it isn't the 46th.But i have lived in both wards, while you've been mainly in the 6th, so i can tell me, the spirit of negativity has a hold in both wards.

    You still haven't let us know who printed the anti-Lyle flyers. We know SEIU is to blame for their attack ads filled with exaggerations.


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