|Maybe I am reading too much into this. Maybe I am seeing things that aren’t there.
But have you noticed the absence of the Elephant on Republican political campaigns?
Looking primarily at candidate websites, the elephant is not there. Of the four Federal positions currently open for election, I know of 8 different candidates. One of those eight (Merrill Cook) doesn’t seem to have a 2010 campaign site yet. So, looking at the seven Federal Candidates sites, only 2 have an elephant on them.
The two candidates who are displaying an elephant are Representative Jason Chaffetz and Senatorial Candidate Cherilyn Eagar. I do have to give Representative Rob Bishop some credit, he does list himself as a Republican. However, I am hesitant to count that, because a look at his calendar shows that his campaign website probably hasn’t been updated since the 2008 campaign.
Did I miss something? In Utah, I am used to Democrats hiding their party affiliation by not displaying the donkey. I have often found it rather quaint. But this seems like this is the first year in a long time that the elephant has gone extinct in Utah.
As I have reviewed the varying sites, each of the candidates do mention that they are Republicans. Some candidates (i.e., Bob Bennett) don’t mention the Republican Party on the front Page. But most of them (like Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater) at least let us know that they are Republican without having to click through to another page. However, it does require some reading in order to find it. This still doesn’t hold the same wait as a graphic of an elephant.
If I haven’t proven myself totally crazy yet, let’s take a closer look at Senator Bennett’s Campaign Site. I found something rather interesting on there. The “headline” graphic cycles through a few images, that encourage you to learn more or to sign up and help Senator Bennett. One of these images was interesting to me.
Am I seeing a donkey where there isn’t one?
I know that it is supposed to be a picture of a man wearing a tie who is ripping his shirt open with a map of Salt Lake County and Utah County. I suppose it is to show the willingness of people to vote for Bennett. However. If you look on the right hand side, you see that the tie looks kind of like the ear of a donkey, and the arm and elbow look like a donkey’s snout.
How fitting. Don’t you think. But I am getting off topic.
I am not calling for the resurgence of the elephant with this post. I don’t know much about running a campaign. But I find it interesting that when these candidates are seeking the Republican nomination very few of them are showing their party pride.
The real purpose of this post is to explore the reason for the absence of the elephant. I can come up with four possibilities.
The first is a simple oversight. However, with as much thought that goes into any campaign, I can’t believe that the presence of the party mascot would not come up somewhere in a planning meeting, so I doubt that it was just over looked. Especially when more that 70% of the campaign sites don’t have one.
A second reason might be that it is not considered appropriate to use the elephant until you have the official nomination from the party. I haven’t ever heard of this, but it could be a possibility. If you know about the ethics regarding this I would appreciate your incite. However, I currently doubt it is an ethics thing because Senator Bennett doesn’t have an elephant either. But there could be other reasons for that too.
One of the better reasons that I can come up with is what I will call the Scott Brown effect. Scott Brown campaign was very successful. Many current candidates believe that they are trying to catch the Scott Brown wave, and with a lot of additional work, they hope to ride that wave into the election. A look at Brown’s campaign website also shows that there is no elephant.
If this is the reason for the forgotten elephant, then I think that they are sorely mistaken on how to run a Utah campaign. It seems to me that Brown didn’t include the elephant because he is in a blue state. In a blue state, a Republican would want to run a campaign like the Democrats do here in Utah. Such a candidate would want to make his party affiliation as low key as possilbe.
So, that leaves me with the final reason. And perhaps the most likely reason. I believe that the elephant is gone because the Republican Party has failed those who elected them. It is getting to the point that we don’t have a donkey or an elephant any more. We now have a donkephant (or should we say and elephonkey). There isn’t really such a think as a red or a blue party any more. It is just a fuzzy shade of purple.
And these candidates are trying to send the clear message that they aren’t the Republican Party that has betrayed you. They are a new kind of candidate. The kind that will keep the promises made during the campaign.
Again, I am not calling for the elephant to be back on any website or campaign material. I do not wish to condemn those candidates who have placed an republican logo on their campaign literature. I am just simply interested in the reasons behind the forgotten elephant. And I believe it is to send a clear message of a new kind of candidate.