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The political landscape


In a FaceBook exchange two days ago, someone suggested that I should run for public office. Imagine! American voters would have an easier time casting their ballot for a Muslin than a card-carrying atheist. Some of the discussion last night (Friday) in Duluth drifted toward the topic of politics, and I had to admit the placement of Agincourt in northwest Iowa made sense in many ways except politics: That entire quadrant of Iowa is squarely in the Fourth Congressional District, the domain of Representative Steven King. The very best I could hope for Agincourt was that it might be a speck of purple in a sea of red.

In these last few weeks of the 2014 campaign Agincourt is littered with campaign literature and yard signs—heavy on the red, white and blue, with green and orange reserved for third-party candidates or local “no party” contests. The drive from Duluth to Fargo Saturday afternoon made the point.

Image: Campaign signs in Virginia

Not having been to Agincourt this election season, I can only comment on the political landscape—especially windblown campaign literature and yard signs. We’ve got one in our yard.

Driving around town I’ve been inclined to draw some conclusions about the distribution of yard signs: their greater presence in some neighborhoods; their appearance in front of certain businesses. Neighborhoods with a high percentage of absentee landlords, for example, have a preponderance of one political party, and I’m guessing the candidates were chosen by the landlord, not the tenant. We ate in South Fargo last night—and had to run the gauntlet of the dreaded South 25th Street construction project, which is waaaay behind schedule with no reason put forth and no penalties imposed—and noted, once again, a preponderance of one party. You’d think the street paving would be complete, given the clout represented by the signage in their yards. What it told me, however, was much simpler: 1) this is a neighborhood way outside my resources, and 2) the folks wouldn’t want us as their neighbors anyway.

I suppose it’s an even bet when a business makes public its party of choice. It may attract clientele or it may just as readily repel them. There are a couple of service providers on 25th Street that I’d have no reason to patronize anyway, but if I did they’d be at the bottom of the list.

All these signs will have to come down the night before Election Day. But did you know there’s still a Rick Berg sign up from two years ago?

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