Tonight, at around 1045pm, my father conceded a Mayoral race to the incumbent Ed Palowski. I could write at length about the problems with this race, and about the admiration I have for my father for fighting as hard as he did (and accomplishing as much as he did), but I'll narrow it down to a few bullet points because there's a wider point I would like to talk about.
- 60-40%. That is just about the percentage my father held for most of the night as various precincts reported. It varied on either side of the numbers a few times, but averaged in around that (EDIT: Final is looking like 61-39%) 2/5ths of Allentown residents believed that the incumbent mayor (who was projected to win by at least 80-85% of the vote) is not doing a good job and that it's time for a change. This is the message my father sought to bring to the forefront during his campaign.
- 11.7%. My father raised $13,140 to the mayor's $112,135 (mostly outside money) in this race. (Source: Lehigh Valley Live) That's 11.7% of the mayor's total fundraising, and still he took 2/5ths of the vote. This is before final budgets have been published, I will update these numbers once everything comes out. Also it was pointed out to me that the last time Pawlowski ran, he raised almost a quarter of a million dollars, and he wasn't running for Governor. This time, while raising money for a Gubernatorial bid as well, he raised less than half of that? There's some money left over from four years ago that's going to come out in final budgets is my guess.
- The mayor ran an aggressive "Get Out The Vote" campaign throughout the day, driving voters to polls and knocking on doors, paying reportedly $100/day to do so. Something my father simply can not compete with.
However there's one thing that I will remember about today more than anything, and that is the power of the party line. You see, something I never knew, is that in some states, you don't have to read the ballot at the top, one of the first things you are asked is "would you like to vote for a specific party?" Press the democrat button and voila, your vote is tallied, you didn't even have to see the candidates. The same goes for Republican. Now whether or not you agree with a two party system, this already put my father, running as an independent, at a severe disadvantage, because any party-line vote excluded him without his name even being seen by the voter. This meant at every polling station we were imploring people to not vote party lines, and to read the ballot. Even if they voted party lines in the end, they needed to take the time to recognize each race and who was running. According to the mayor's wife (who was at my polling place all day, and, by the way, is an extremely nice lady who had wonderful conversation with me for the 13 hours that we polled together, and I wish her and her family all the best in the world) a large amount of voters take this option and vote their party line.
Now I grew up in a state where I don't remember this being an option, ever, sure you could vote all in one party, but you still had to fill it in as such yourself, and when I voted in New York State, it seemed to be much the same. The reason that this is a problem, is it does not support the American people it supports the American political machine, locking in the two party system even more concretely, and not allowing people to make up their own minds, issue by issue, candidate by candidate. It locks out third party options and essentially nullifies their races. However there's an even bigger issue, and that issue came to play in Allentown on November 5th.