Campaign Season Starts - Anonymous Negative Campaigns Underway

Traveling through Johns Creek, it’s impossible to deny that the campaigns for City Council Posts 2, 4, and 6 are underway. Candidates and volunteers are busy staking their spots with campaign signs alongside our roads and intersections as they work to make residents aware of their desire to be elected to represent our community for the next four years. If you somehow managed to miss the road and yard signs, you’re sure to find campaign flyers in your daily mail, laying out each person’s major points of emphasis. Candidate forums and debates have already started as well.

In all of these efforts, the signs and flyers are quite clearly understood to be the efforts of the election committees and volunteers for each candidate. At some point, we will undoubtedly be met with some negative campaigning, but the source is normally identified.

In parallel, other anonymous negative efforts have been moving forward. Social media has become a critical component in each candidate’s political campaign. The sites for several of the current candidates have seen many negative comments posted under the pseudonyms that have long served as trolls on Johns Creek related social media posts. The posts have attacked several candidates with crude references and edited photos, none of which address any relevant issues for the City Council election.

The current campaign season has also seen the use of push polling. Push polling is an interactive marketing technique, most commonly employed during political campaigning, in which an individual or organization attempts to manipulate or alter prospective voters' views/beliefs under the guise of conducting an opinion poll. These push polling attempts are likewise being conducted anonymously.

An anonymous campaign is unfair to all candidates. First, it’s unfair to the person targeted, as they are unable to directly address that party by whom that candidate was targeted. It’s unfair to every other candidate in that race as they are then placed under suspicion of participation or complicit support of the negative campaign.

If a person or group has a problem with any candidate, it should not be launched anonymously. That person or group should have the courage of conviction in their position that they can do so openly. Anything less is cowardly, and unfair to the candidates who have made the often difficult decision to offer themselves to public service.

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