My thoughts on the oncoming elections….

By Don Harris….
Who’s right?  Who’s wrong?  WHO DECIDES?

Can you be bought?  Are you willing to sell your vote?  The recent frenzy regarding the recall of Mayor Carlos Alvarez prompted me to question who runs the show in Miami-Dade County, and, for that matter, almost anywhere in this country.  The simple truth is, if Norman Braman didn’t have the financial resources to fund a recall, there probably wouldn’t be one.  Is that good or bad?  Maybe Mr. Braman is the hero here.  Or, maybe he’s just a squeaky wheel who wanted things his way and had the money to make it so.  Do you have an opinion regarding Mayor Alvarez?  I have a more fundamental concern: who is going to determine Mayor Alvarez’s fate?

In my profession we have what is called a “controlled study”.  That’s where a drug or a surgical technique is tested, and its effect is compared to a group that wasn’t tested.  I’d love to know how the opinions of those who vote in this recall compare to the opinions of those who don’t vote.  I wonder if the results of the voting are going to accurately reflect the wishes of the overall population.  I know only one thing for sure, and it may seem obvious, but the truth is a bit disturbing for me: the results will only reflect the opinions of those who voted.

The problem as I see it is, votes can be bought.  It may not be as direct as paying someone to vote a certain way, but it’s about marketing.  Marketing is effective- and it can be expensive.  It’s been said that Microsoft is bigger than Apple, not because of the success of the product, but because Bill Gates marketed better than Steve Jobs.  Clearly, much money has gone into marketing the accusations of Mayor Alvarez.  Additionally, money has gone into “stoking the fire”; people’s emotions have been stirred due to marketing.  Emotional people take action.  Emotional people vote.  The vote, therefore, is being influenced by money, maybe even more than by truth.
Again, will the vote accurately reflect the opinion of Miami-Dade County?  Is there a bias?  This editorial will not result in a fair outcome.  If it has any effect at all, it will be only on those individuals who read this newspaper… and this editorial.  Biased.  Is an unbiased election possible?  Only if EVERYONE votes.  Even then, the outcome will depend on marketing maybe even more than facts.  At least if everyone voted the county will have spoken.  Mayor Alvarez himself said, “I’d hate to lose this to the opinion of only 8% of the population”.  I’d hate to see him win or lose to the opinion of only a fraction of the population.

Never will EVERYONE vote.  Many have legitimate reasons for not voting.  Do you?

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