I spent a relatively politics-free weekend (nice for a change), but in the back of my mind, I was thinking with a sense of morbid curiosity about what we're about to experience starting in about two weeks, given that the Illinois primary is so ridiculously early (Feb. 2nd).
After the first of the year, we're going to have little over 30 days for dozens and dozens of candidates all vying for public office to make themselves and their positions known to voters. Through radio, TV, direct mail, social networking, and just about every other medium you can think of (old-fashioned billboards, anyone?), we are all going to be inundated with the smiling faces of these clean-cut, American-as-apple-pie candidates trying to worm their way into your hearts and living rooms to get you to come out and "VOTE!" Of course, some of those pictures may be of scowling candidates and nasty messages if the ads are negative, which many of them will be. Just look at the stuff being put out by Alexi Giannouias and David Hoffman as they go toe-to-toe for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate.
Of course, many candidates are not waiting for the beginning of the new year to push their message (I've already been carpet-bombed by the Bob Dold campaign with one-page mailers in my mailbox), but conventional wisdom holds that average voters are simply not going to be engaged until after we get past New Year's Day.
The conundrum- save everything you have for when the voters will start paying attention (but risked being drowned out by the torrent of mailings and evening news ads) or start early and spend a significant amount of your war chest now, when the voters might not be focused, but will be less inundated. ???