The survey I didn't answer
A PhD candidate in Political Science whose dissertation is on political consultants/managers, specifically "comparing what political science theory says you're supposed to do to win a campaign with what political consultants actually do in the field" asked me to do a survey, and of course I said, "sure, glad to! " But when I sat down to do the online survey-monkey survey, I found several questions that I could not answer. Since the survey-monkey would not let me continue until I answered the unanswerable, I had to abort the survey. So I wrote them this email instead:
After looking at your survey, I find that it doesn't apply very well to my campaign. First of all, I am a Green Party candidate. There were more than 2 candidates in the race, as is common when Green Party candidates run, so your questions about "your opponent" are hard to answer - there were 5 candidates in the race, which one are you referring to? It is somewhat disheartening that even PdD candidates in Political Science assume and therefore implicitly support the two party system, which we Greens feel is detrimental to true democracy and to the good of the nation.
Negative campaigning in yesterday's election in Iowa was bad, perhaps as bad as it has ever been. The abuse of robo-calls was particularly frustrating for the common citizen. Furthermore, throughout the campaign the candidates from the two big parties tended to avoid meeting constituents and avoid talking about issues, preferring to sling mud at each other. Rather than focusing on the question of whether slinging mud is a winning strategy, and thus encouraging this shameful and detrimental practice, why not spend your research time looking for effective means to encourage the candidates to be honest, respectful, and to address the issues? Election reforms such as Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) could have a substantial impact. Reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine requiring equal press time for all candidates would be a great step. True debates which include all the candidates on the ballot should be a requirement.
With the polar icecaps melting and the unsustainable havesting of just about every resource, I fear we are well on the path to turning the entire planet into the next Easter Island. While these problems are man-made and we have the potential to find solutions before it is too late, the situation gets more dire day by day. We might look to government to protect us from our own worst nature. Unfortunately the system is not functioning properly and tends to make the problems worse instead of better. If you can think of a solution to this dilemma, it would be time well spent indeed.
Please accept my apologies for not completing your survey, and I wish you the best of luck in your career.