Too many of today’s elections center on personalities, money and hot buttons — with voters choosing the candidate they find more approachable, the one with the most advertising or the one who isn’t on the wrong side of whatever controversy flares up during the campaign season.
Too often, the discussion fails to address what matters. In the recent Albuquerque mayoral race, for example, incumbent Richard Berry cruised to a crushing win despite the reality that the Duke City is lagging the nation in job creation and has allowed an out-of-control police force to operate. But Berry is someone voters like, and his opponents, Pete Dinelli and Paul Heh, didn’t have enough money to break through that pleasant image. Substantive issues never made it to the table for discussion. Given Berry’s favorables, only the perfect underdog running the perfect campaign could have pulled an upset. The race had neither.
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