I live in a city of with less than a quarter million people. (The greater metropolitan area is larger, of course – there are well over half a million people in the surrounding area.) Since we moved here a year and change ago, its hard to avoid noticing that in this city, politics is a tough sport. The mayor apparently has a pretty strong machine going, and that’s generated a lot of opposition – there was even a recall election last year though the mayor survived.
There were elections for the city council over a month ago. At the time of the election, there were lawn signs for the various candidates all over the place. Within days of the election, the lawn signs for the losing candidates disappeared. However, the lawn signs for the winning candidates are still up… and as I noted above, its been well over a month since the last election.
I don’t remember seeing this phenomenon at play in other places I’ve lived (assorted cities and towns in Brazil, California, and Arkansas). I remember something a bit different, in fact, when it comes to presidential elections – sure, you still the occasional Obama bumper sticker, but you also still see McCain Palin stickers too. In fact, every so often I come upon a car with a Kerry or a Bush/Cheney 04 sticker. But stickers can be a pain in the butt to get off a car, whereas lawn signs require no effort at all to remove.
So what gives? Is the town small enough that this constitutes signaling to the winning candidates (“you got a supporter in this home, don’t forget us!”). Is this a way of denoting membership in a favored group – supporters of a winning candidate?