It was called “A Magnificent Catastrophe” by Pulitzer Prize winning author Edward Larson, a leading scholar of the first presidential campaign. “They could write like angels and scheme like demons,” Larson wrote, tracing the political careers of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to America’s forth election but its first thoroughly modern campaign.
These men ran virtually unopposed for the first three U.S. presidential elections; a day and time when only white men that owned property could vote. Amendment 15, 19, and 26, to the U.S. Constitution would extend the vote to all citizens over 18, and the candidates themselves became rather colorful, too. Today, there are 144 women serving in the U.S. Congress and 124 lawmakers identify as Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, African and Native American.
Lake Park’s Candidate Forum and Official Mayoral Debate unfolded last week in the spirit of American politics. Since 1994, mayoral candidates and councilmen were generally just names on a ballot, but this year are coming forward to stump, take questions and campaign. The League of Women Voters moderated Thursday night’s debate as council candidates John, Mark, Joe, Steve and Wayne all took center stage. As for mayor, even the incumbent, David, is still in the fight as 8 candidates bring education, military, civic and professional experience to the political fray and march toward election day.
In the last election, there were over 2000 registered voters in Lake Park but only 318 actually made it to the ballot box, according to statistics provided by Lake Park’s Council. “Because your vote matters,” James Record says, “Sharon and I will try to knock on each and every door between now and November 2nd just to say hello or answer any question you may have about voting or registering to vote at Lake Park.” In addition to canvasing door to door in the spirit of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt’s whistle-stop tours, they'll host an Open House on Saturday, October 16th @ 12:00 - 3:00 in the afternoon.
In his Farewell Address George Washington said, “Partisanship is the country’s worst enemy.” The engine of American politics may be driven by a 2-party system, but, just like our Founding Father, neither Lake Park nor its candidates represent any one political party. Like the very diverse U.S. Congress, they seem to represent the united colors of an idyllic community, in a small corner of the world; a shining city on a hill.