They’re sweeping up the confetti and balloons in Charlotte and Tampa. With the national political conventions done, it’s on the campaign for the general election in November.
What that means is that over the next two months, the rhetoric is going to be ratcheted up, and things are likely to become more and more rancorous as Nov. 6 approaches.
Here in Alaska, we’ve always prided ourselves on doing things a little different than they do it elsewhere. We got a small taste of how partisan presidential politics work in the Lower 48 when our former governor was picked as a vice presidential running mate, and it wasn’t pretty. A “truth squad” set up camp with the mission of smearing any opposition — truth having little to do with it at all.
Certainly, our state has become a little more partisan over the past few election cycles, but Alaskans, for the most part, remain politically independent. The majority of Alaska voters remain unaffiliated with any political party. We expect our elected officials to represent Alaska’s interests — working across party lines where it benefits our state. Indeed, all three members of our congressional delegation emphasize their ability to work with colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
And that’s not to say we don’t have our disagreements. But even last year, when our Legislature found itself stymied on several controversial topics, the arguments were over policy and political philosophy, and, for the most part, not personal.
Perhaps we’re painting too rosy a picture of Alaska politics, but our point is this: When it comes to participating in the democratic process, there is plenty of room for reasonable people to engage in informed debate, without resorting to name-calling, stretching the truth or other nastiness. While people may behave that way elsewhere, as big as our state is, Alaska is just too small a place for it.