I haven’t blogged about the Miami-Dade Mayor election because it’s mostly depressing. Snap elections don’t, I think, tend to serve the public very well for a host of reasons, and this one fits the mold.
When an unexpected election occurs on a short timetable, only candidates with ready access to funding and/or very substantial name recognition have a realistic shot of election.
When there are no primaries, there tend to be too many candidates for a first-past-the-post election (I’d prefer STV or “instant-runoff” voting). And the sort of debate that might educate voters as to the candidate’s stands, and their mettle, becomes basically impossible. Instead we either get cattle calls in which candidates have too little time to do much more than mouth slogans. The only good news is that it seems certain no candidate will get 50% and then we will get a runoff, at which time we might have some decent candidate events and maybe even debates with followup questions and a greater illusion of substance.
Meanwhile, into this world of hurried and diffuse campaigning comes, of course, advertising. We’ve gotten a handful of mailers, one of them a very unfair attack on Carlos Giminez (see the — much more fair — turn-the-tables parody of the attack ad at Eye on Miami entitled Did Any of You Get This Campaign Flyer in the Mail?).
And the phone rings up to three times a day for robo-calls. Most in a woman’s voice. Sometimes it’s a candidate’s spouse; sometimes it’s just a plummy voice. Until today it’s all been positive campaigning. But today one of the anonymous plummy voices called up and beat up on Hialeah Mayor Julio
Rubaina Robaina. Now, it happens that there is a lot to beat up on, as I don’t trust the guy at all (note: do not confuse Mayoral candidate Julio Rubaina Robaina with a totally different ex-Mayor of South Miami also named Julio Robaina who is running for the District 7 seat). [Note to self: Mayoral candidate has a "u"; District 7 candidate has an "o" O's for everyone: Robaina. Robaina. Robaina ]
I really didn’t like this ad. It equated Hialeah with all things bad, and while that’s practically true of that community’s political leaders, it still seemed presented like an ugly appeal to snobbery — do we want to be like those folks? One particularly sleazy thing about the ad was that when the plummy voice finished beating up on Hialeah, there was a very long pause, maybe ten seconds or more — during which I imagine just about everyone would hang up — before complying with the election law and stating who paid for the ad. And of course it’s some group no one ever heard of, which I think sounded like the “campaign for responsible government” but I may have that wrong.
Because I blogged so intensively about the Coral Gables election recently — more a case of filling a void than a future direction for this blog — a surprising number people have emailed me to ask how I plan to vote in this one. I’ll tell you Real Soon Now™. But despite the fact that I think he got attacked a bit unfairly in this robocall, it won’t be for the Juilo
Rubaina Robaina running for Mayor.
Update (5/22): It’s the “Campaign for Honest Government” and there’s a 15 second delay between the end of the talking and the required disclosure. They called again yesterday and today, so I’ve had plenty of chance to time it.