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Subject: White guy pretends to be black, wins election rss

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We don't seem to have had a thread about this yet, so I figured I'd start one. When I first saw this story, I thought it was a hoax. Doesn't seem to be, though.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/10/dave-wilson-houston...

Quote:
Wilson, a gleeful political troublemaker, printed direct mail pieces strongly implying that he's black. His fliers were decorated with photographs of smiling African-American faces -- which he readily admits he just lifted off websites -- and captioned with the words "Please vote for our friend and neighbor Dave Wilson."
One of his mailers said he was "Endorsed by Ron Wilson," which longtime Houston voters might easily interpret as a statement of support from a former state representative of the same name who's also African-American. Fine print beneath the headline says "Ron Wilson and Dave Wilson are cousins," a reference to one of Wilson's relatives living in Iowa.


This story is troubling on many levels. It's troubling that this guy thought it was okay to trick the voters to get elected. It's troubling that the voters apparently didn't do enough research to realize the error. It remains to be seen how his opponent will react, but I suspect that reaction will be troubling, too.

Personally, I'm fine with the flyers showing black faces and draw the line before the "endorsed by Ron Wilson" one, and some cynical part of me is saying the voters deserved it for not doing the research, while another part is pointing out that it's just a community college board position and not a big deal, but the issue is really larger than any of that. The question is how much politicians are expected to give the voters during the election and how much the voters are expected to find out for themselves. Of course, if a person lies before their election (and I do consider this to be a lie- a mistruth told to someone, in this case the voters, who is owed the truth), how can we know they won't after being put in office?

Still, as despicable as this guy's tactic was, it's still troubling that he felt this was the only way to win, and more troubling still that the voters were fooled. It's not as though this guy was unknown, after all- he'd apparently made a name for himself trying to oust a mayor a few years ago. The state of the voters does not excuse his actions, but his actions do not put those who voted for him off the hook. Of course, we can't be sure that he won entirely because of this advertising campaign. It seems there were legitimate complaints about the incombant's performance, and who knows why individuals voted the way they did. I have yet to see a followup indicating if the public was pleased or unhappy with the result, so I suppose I'm probably assuming more than I ought to.

In any case, I think the take-away here is that ultimately, a lot of problems in the American election system are problems of character. This guy wanted to be elected more than he wanted to tell the truth- that's a character flaw. The voters may have been more interested in the easy vote, or the good-looking one, than about researching the candidates. That, too, is a character issue. It was truly remarked once, I think, that people always end up with the kind of government they deserve. Reforms might prevent a candidate from trying this same trick again, but reforms seem unlikely to solve the issues with the voters, or prevent new tricks of this sort from being thought up. Policies don't fix character, and fixing it is exactly what we need to do to stop this from happening again and again.
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Leo Zappa
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...and here I thought this was going to be a story looking back on Bill Clinton's election...

BTW - I voted for Bill twice, so there!
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Dave G
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Non-story. Voters don't know shit about candidates when they vote, we didn't need this to prove it. People are idiots, it's not news.
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Scott Russell
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I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.
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Dave Weiss
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I see a lot of blame in this story (not really your post, but from other places that I've seen the story) pointed towards the politician.

What he did was low down and despicaple, no doubt about it. But can you really blame him? I think what he did is really eye opening when it comes to the state of affairs in this country.

He did everything he could to hide his race. He sent out campaign fliers wit african-americans on the cover, and the mention of Ron Wilson was clearly explained on the flier that it was his relative.

Is it really wrong that he put african-americans on his campaign stuff? If we don't have enough of various races, sub-cultures, etc on a TV show, half the country freaks out. If we actually have a few of them on tv, the other half freaks out. He put these people on his campaign stuff, but should that really indicate what race he is?

More importantly, should it matter what race he is? I spend hours researching campaigns, politicians, political advertisements. I do NOT make my choices based on party line, race, sexual orientation. I make my choice based on the platform that the candidates are supporting.

This is racism in action. A group of voters made an assumption about race based on a flier they received in the mail that had a couple people on the cover. They voted for a person of their same race without any idea of what their stance was. When informed that they voted for a white person, they were surprised and offended.

He didn't have to try all that hard to pull this off. And while this is a particularly interesting incident (due to race), it's far from the first time a politician lied or mislead people during a political campaign.

That's ultimately the issue. Everyone just buys into the talking political heads. No one thinks for themselves. It makes it incredibly easy for politicians to trick voters. And that leads to what we have today.
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Shawn Fox
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qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


That is why Chris Christie is going to be our next president. He looks just like the average American.
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Jason Hinchliffe
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Non-story. Voters don't know shit about candidates when they vote, we didn't need this to prove it. People are idiots, it's not news.


We didn't need this to prove it, but if the story gets some traction, it may at least influence a few people to do even a modicum of homework before casting a vote. Funny how they vapidly rally around things like "You're the same race as me", "You're the same religion", "You're the same gender". What do you actually stand for? Meh, who gives a fuck. shake
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Ken
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Yes, it's troubling on many levels for the reason you cite.

But, at the same time, did you see the position he was running for? I suspect that if you're running for a seat on the Houston Community College Board of Trustees, any significant spending on fliers/mailers will have a dramatically larger impact than it would in an election for a state or federal office. I also expect that the number of people casting votes for the position who had done deep research on either candidate would be very, very small.

I mean, there's definitely problems exposed here, but we are often asked to elect people to positions where we either aren't particularly well-qualified to make an informed judgment or the time required to do research is more than we can invest. I honestly couldn't tell you who would make a good judge, for example, but every time I get handed a ballot, I'm asked to vote for some number of them at just about every level of the court system. And the information available on each is very small due to relatively light media coverage (these aren't often "hot" races) and diminishing local news coverage (my local paper really isn't that good for local news to the extent that I've stopped paying for it).

I loathe the tactics used and hope the recount changes the result. But I'm not quite sure you're being fair to the voters, here. Particularly when refuting the contents of the mailer would have been trivial for his opponent, who apparently didn't do that (e.g. send out a mailer with the guy's picture and "Ron Wilson from Iowa shouldn't matter in our election" printed on it).

It would also be interesting to see if this constituted election fraud in some way...
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Boaty McBoatface
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I think his claiming endorsements he dd not have (vote for our neighbor) as the worst part of this. I think it says much for his appeal that he avoided putting his own picture in any material. Mr Wilson defended his tactics. “Every time a politician talks, he’s out there deceiving voters,” (that speaks volumes).


However there does seem to have been a degree of dissatisfaction with the last incompetent, and this may have not hinged on the dishonesty.
 
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clockwerk76 wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Non-story. Voters don't know shit about candidates when they vote, we didn't need this to prove it. People are idiots, it's not news.


We didn't need this to prove it, but if the story gets some traction, it may at least influence a few people to do even a modicum of homework before casting a vote. Funny how they vapidly rally around things like "You're the same race as me", "You're the same religion", "You're the same gender". What do you actually stand for? Meh, who gives a fuck. shake

Yes, I remember when Lieberman was the VP candidate and lots of people claimed that we had to vote for him because he was Jewish. I simply responded that I'd love a Jewish president or vice-president, if that person as the best candidate for the job. I got strange looks as if I were speaking ancient Greek at them.
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qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


Never did that, I have yet to find a candidate this good looking.
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Junior McSpiffy
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Thought this was gonna be about the first wigger congressman. Kinda disappointed by the way this turned out.
 
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Ken
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kmanweiss wrote:
This is racism in action.


Ummm, what? That's one hell of a stretch and generalization all rolled in to one.

The fact that this guy sent out fliers may have been the most important factor for the election because it put his name on people's radar in a race where campaign spending is low to non-existant.

Quote:
When informed that they voted for a white person, they were surprised and offended.


Do you have some other source that says this? Because the story in the OP doesn't contain this anywhere. I suspect people would have been surprised and offended at the deception whether or not they were black.

I hate to dampen a good "reverse racism" rant, but I think you're looking for a reason to rant and this just happened to fit the bill.
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Ken
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Geosphere wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


Never did that, I have yet to find a candidate this good looking.


And people as ugly as me don't run for office.
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perfalbion wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


Never did that, I have yet to find a candidate this good looking.


And people as ugly as me don't run for office.


At least not candidates who are ugly on the outside...
 
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GameCrossing wrote:
perfalbion wrote:
Geosphere wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


Never did that, I have yet to find a candidate this good looking.


And people as ugly as me don't run for office.


At least not candidates who are ugly on the outside...

You didn't know that perfalbion inspired "The Portrait of Dorian Gray"?! sauron
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jeremy cobert
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I love this guy ! Smart and resourceful are two things you seldom find in a politician.

If anyone is mad that he is not African American, then are they racist ?
 
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jeremycobert wrote:

If anyone is mad that he is not African American, then are they racist ?


Yes. Any time someone is mad about being deceived, they are racist.
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Wait, is this really true? Isn't this some weird oversimplification of events? I mean, really?
 
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Quote:
Of course, if a person lies before their election (and I do consider this to be a lie- a mistruth told to someone, in this case the voters, who is owed the truth), how can we know they won't after being put in office?


What leads you to believe that any politician will be honest once in office?

Also: The Distinguished Gentleman
 
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
jeremycobert wrote:

If anyone is mad that he is not African American, then are they racist ?


Yes. Any time someone is mad about being deceived, they are racist.


The Tea Party is all about lying and deception. Why would it surprise anyone that Jeremy would support this type of behavior?
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jeremy cobert
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Yes. Any time someone is mad about being deceived, they are racist.


Only in the altered reality that the democrats live in.

So these people were deceived ? The flyer is for black communities and does not say the candidate is black.It's almost racist to imply that black folks could not figure this out.

Stay classy my race baiting friends, stay classy !

 
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jeremycobert wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Yes. Any time someone is mad about being deceived, they are racist.


Only in the altered reality that the democrats live in.

So these people were deceived ? The flyer is for black communities and does not say the candidate is black.It's almost racist to imply that black folks could not figure this out.

Stay classy my race baiting friends, stay classy !



People feel deceived, which is the point of the story. I think Ken has the right of it--the real reason any of this worked is that it's one of those meaningless races where people just check a box on a guess. I personally never vote for the judges and what not on the ballot that I haven't had time to personally research, but a lot of people vote those races based on name recognition, party lines, or even just because they like the name "Bill" better than "Ted."
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Well, don't feel too bad, we have a Black president that was pretending not to be Bush.

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Geosphere wrote:
qzhdad wrote:
I think it shows the idiocy of choosing candidates because they look like you.


Never did that, I have yet to find a candidate this good looking.


Did they throw in a few extras with that reconstruction?
 
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