(Mid-term) Election Day

Dutch Political Parties [Day 158/365]
I’ve got Arcadia’s song Election Day stuck in my head today. I may not be in the US, but I’m more than aware of the mid-term elections taking place there today. I have no idea how things will go this time; for every person ranting about the Democrats, there seems to be an equal number of people opposed to the Republicans/Tea Party candidates. I’m curious what the voter turnout will end up being, since a lot of people on both sides seem pretty motivated, and a lot of people have been taking advantage of the option to do early voting.

One thing I definitely don’t miss about elections in the US is the deluge of political commercials. They so rarely say what the candidates goals and plans are; they’re just an excuse to attack the opponent. From what I understand, political commercials are technically an option here in the Netherlands, but I’m not sure how much they’re used. Regardless, if/when they’re created, they’re done by the party, rather than individuals, I think. They’re also not aired constantly. In fact, I’ve never actually seen one. That could be because they’re so rare or because I don’t watch a lot of Dutch television channels. Or a bit of both!

As I’ve mentioned before, the campaign season here is fairly short — although the time it takes to finally agree on a government coalition can be quite long — and it’s generally somewhat less obnoxious than US campaigns. It’s certainly not perfect, and we get our fair share of awful candidates, but at least it’s not quite as in-your-face and irritating as I remember things getting in the US before I moved. I don’t miss the constant commercials, the huge campaign signs in every yard, and the campaign phone calls, both robotic and real. I still get quite a few political e-mails on a daily basis as the elections draw near. That’s more than enough for me! There’s a fine line between motivation and irritation, even for a politically concerned person like myself.

But don’t let the ugliness stop you from voting. Do your duty! Go vote! (Preferably Democratic. 😉 )

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5 thoughts on “(Mid-term) Election Day

  1. We don’t really have those political commercials here. Not needed since we have “Zendtijd voor Politieke Partijen” (Broadcast time for political parties) since 1958. Subsidised airtime for the parties to highlight their political views. Usually 10 minutes long and aired just before the 6 o’clock news. The money they get is not very much so the programs are usually “not very well made” to say it very polite. It gives us all time to take a pee just before the news starts…
    http://geschiedenis.vpro.nl/artikelen/41928214/

    • Thanks for the clarification. I had read that they weren’t really relied upon, since there are also the debates organized by different channels, but saw that a couple of parties started to consider them around 1998. I couldn’t find any more information about them, though, so I suspected they hadn’t really caught on. Of course, in the US, we don’t have the same public television channels as there are here. Sadly, the more money available doesn’t always mean you get a good commercial. 😉 Thanks for the link. I enjoy learning more about the political process here.

  2. We also have the Reclame Code Commissie, roughly translated to Advertising Code Commission. They keep an eye on the fairness and honesty of advertising, i.e. no false information, unfair and unclear pricing, empty promises made about the performance of something etc.

    It also means that if a consumer got duped by an ad, they can lodge a complaint with them. The RCC will then investigate whether or not the ad complied with the rules.

    If they find any advertising to go against the rules, an injunction will be placed and the ad will be yanked from our screens/print. At least until the ad has been changed accordingly.

    This also means our ads can only imply a competitor when a comparison is made, but never by name or other recognisable lay-out (signature colour or logo). So for instance when you see our laundry detergent ads, if and when a competitor is mentioned, it’s usually a grey box marked X or whatnot.

    If all of a sudden Dutch politicians would go the US-way of namecalling, blaming and pointing fingers at their opponents, while not even our regular ads do that. Yeah, that would be highly frowned upon. Not to mention the press will grill them for it.

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