The Honorary Mayor of Eastsound race concludes Sat., July 6th. Votes are accepted until 2 P.M. at the Farmer’s Market when the winner will be announced on stage and I exchange the key to the Village.
The race is still wide open, but I’ve asked two of my Children’s House friends, political experts Layna Mosley and Andrew Reynolds, to analyze the campaign so far. Read what they had to say when I asked them these critical election questions.
- MAYOR MURPHY
The candidates vary quite a bit in the constituencies they’re trying to mobilize – four and five year olds, craft beer drinkers, the real estate industry, über-green separatist environmentalists and former Mayors. How effective do you expect these different voter mobilization strategies to be?
Looking at the candidates’ political platforms, it’s striking to observe the range of parties represented – LABritarians, Cascadia Separatists, Beagalitarians and Windependents, Island Independents. But can the candidates build broad enough coalitions to bring in the votes they’ll need by July 6? Winston is targeting his appeals to the canine crowd, offering to pave the streets (including Mt. Baker road) with dog treats. Jinjer also is appealing to the folks she knows best – preschoolers at OICH.
But Winston isn’t the only dog in the race, so he may have a hard time winning over voting canines. And, like preschoolers, those canines may not be the vote buying machines. This could spell trouble for Jinjer and Winston.
Lucy may have hit on a broader strategy to appeal to voters – parking herself at the bar, performing the “prairie dog,” and playing on the sympathies of beer-addled patrons. Then again, when it comes to choosing between another pint of Old Madrona or a vote for Lucy, Lucy’s supporters might not always buy the votes she needs.
Andrew, you’ve worked on elections in a range of places, including Afghanistan, Egypt and Zimbabwe. What’s your sense of the election process here? Any red flags about free and fair elections?
I’ve seen my share of voter fraud – maybe even contributed to it sometimes – and I have to say that the Eastsound mayor’s race is something of a dogs breakfast. On one hand the egregious vote buying is transparent and used to good effect. I haven’t had a chance to study the ballot, but I believe it is confusing and easy to spoil. Why aren’t there color photos on the ballot for less-human voters or perhaps scratch and sniff? There are a lot of puppies chasing hanging chads, and it’s just not clear how the Supreme Court might rule on such malfeasance.
Layna, as someone who studies international relations, what is your sense of the candidates’ foreign policy positions?
Fargo strikes an internationalist bent with his advocacy of affordable ferry transportations. Residents of Orcas can’t fully engage with other foreign entities unless they can easily travel to off-island destinations. The same could be said for Winston – a dog owned by Martin Lund can’t help but be a fan of global unity (or, at least, One World for lovers of the Saxophone).
Meanwhile, Panda may find that it’s tough to survive in a small bio-region, and that alliances with foreign powers are key to attracting trade and investment. And this may worry some voters – given her name, does she plan to allow Chinese foreign direct investment here? And, if so, might this be at odds with her environmentalist platform? Jinjer is a bit of mystery here – she’s striking a globalist bent with a unique spelling to her name, but her nativist tendencies (“island bred, island grown…”) cause me to worry about isolationist views down the line.
During the last week, there’s been lots of attention to Supreme Court rulings on voting rights as well as marriage equality. What can we expect these candidates to do to promote equality if elected?
It all depends on whose “equality” we are talking about. These candidates are diverse in some ways – political affiliation, size of bark and body, ability to twirl like a ballerina or sit on hind legs – and yet, let’s face it, they are all dogs. While they’ve each promised, in various ways, to think about “all of their constituents,” even including cats, one has to wonder how sincere these promises are.
Fair point. But that said, all five of these candidates seem to have the interests of CH children at heart.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We’ve noticed that, while incumbent Mayor Murphy has been happy to moderate the discussions and debates among the candidates, he’s said very little about his own views on who should succeed him. And none of the current candidates has said much about Murphy’s term in office. It seems to us that Murphy might be restraining himself in hopes of being named to a cushy cabinet post. Maybe chief restaurant inspector or director of swimming operations? Or perhaps even Ambassador to Portugal?
About our campaign analysts:
Layna Mosley is Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is author of Labor Rights and Multinational Production (2011), she teaches international politics. Andrew Reynolds is the Chair of Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Designing Democracy in a Dangerous World (2011) and the forthcoming Modest Harvest: Limits and Legacies of the Arab Spring. Andy and Layna are spending this summer on Orcas, as they did last year. They also are the owners of Themba, a 10 year old chocolate lab, who’s staying in Chapel Hill — so they don’t have a dog in this fight.