Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Do not bend, fold or manipulate

| May 6, 2020 1:00 AM

To argue that we mortals are an easily manipulated lot is no mean task. Look at the astonishingly superficial, self-indulgent and brain-numbing world we’ve constructed with social media and the debate is done.

But there are tangible signs of our willingness to make weighty decisions on scant evidence here, there and everywhere this spring.

Campaign yard signs, to be more specific.

A 2016 study showed that campaign yard signs have a kinda/sorta impact on voters.

“We didn’t find any evidence of increased turnout,” researcher Jonathan Krasno told The Chicago Tribune in 2018. “We did see some evidence of increased vote share. That is, a candidate with a lot of signs did better where they had signs than where they didn’t have signs. The effects weren’t huge, but they were there.”

The Tribune article was pegged on the news angle that candidates were reporting missing or vandalized yard signs — and police were force-fed a diet of further paperwork because of complaints that campaign signs were being placed where they didn’t belong.

“This kind of stuff happens any time there’s an election or a voter anything,” a police sergeant told The Trib.

The officer was speaking for the entire nation. Show us a community with campaign yard signs and we’ll show you complaints about their disappearance and defacement.

And why not? When you put big postcard targets right out there in plain view, essentially unguarded, what would you expect? That everyone under the cover of darkness would respect your investment and your First Amendment rights?

Buyer beware. That little bit of name recognition you’re hoping to win via appealing colors and keywords comes at a fairly stiff price, headaches just part of the bill. Maybe it’s a political elbow to the ribs from the cosmic all; then again, maybe it’s just a sign of the times.